On Monday 28th January, two LVI (Year 12) girls made St Mary’s history by getting through the second round of the English Speaking Union Mace debating competition and being selected for the Regional Semi-Finals.

Georgia and Rose made up the two-woman team, but were greatly supported by the rest of the Debating Society in terms of preparation and on the evening itself. Opposing the motion: ‘This house would prohibit businesses from taking a public position on social issues,’their arguments revolved around freedom of speech as well as the danger of a slippery slope in restricting freedom of speech. They successfully opposed the case brought by the South Wiltshire Grammar School team, defeating them in the floor vote, as well as impressing the judge who selected them to go through to the next round.

Other debates of the evening were ‘This house believes that no essential service should be provided on a for-profit basis’ which saw the other school go through to the Regional Semi-Finals, with Bishop Wordsworth successfully proposing the motion. The third motion was a controversial one on, ‘This house would boycott the works of artists who have committed morally reprehensible acts’. Students from St Mary’s asked pertinent questions in the floor debate for these two topics.

A huge congratulations to the St Mary’s Debating Society, and to Georgia and Rose in particular, for succeeding against very impressive competition. The Regional Semi-Finals will take place in March, when the team will have a new motion to argue.