Competitive debating and public speaking are among the ways we encourage higher order thinking skills and the development of self-confidence and self-expression. Girls learn to construct and deconstruct arguments, thinking on their feet and pitting their wits against each other and pupils from other schools. Annually, we enter all possible English Speaking Union competitions (last year reaching round three at both junior and senior levels), the law Society of Scotland debating competition (semi-finalists last year), North of Scotland Schools competitions (finalists in the debating last year, and winners of the public speaking) and Debater Trophy, a local competition for novices. Last year, for the first time, we entered the Procurator Fiscal’s Public Speaking Competition for schools, and every year we run our own St Margaret’s public speaking competition. We regularly participate in the Oxford and Cambridge Union debating days, and last session our debating president and vice-president attended the trials for the Scottish debating team. The debating president and her team run a weekly club for seniors on Fridays and for juniors on Mondays.
A popular spin-off of these activities over recent years has been our burgeoning enthusiasm for Model United Nations. We run mini conferences after school on Fridays at regular intervals and have attended day conferences at other schools. For the first time last year, we ran our very own MEG’s MUN day conference, designed and organised from beginning to end by the girls themselves. Several other local schools took part in this. Every March we participate in the international MUN Conference run by George Watson’s College. In March 2015, representing France, our team of thirteen was awarded the trophy for Best Delegation.
The week before the Watson’s conference, a team of nine also took part in the east Scotland round of the European Youth Parliament. This was another first for us, and we were delighted to win a place in the national final at Liverpool Hope University in September 2015, to fight for a place representing Britain in the international final.
Anyone can become a debater. No matter how shy and nervous at the outset, we encourage our girls to step out of their comfort zone and develop their communication and presentation skills, in a friendly and supportive environment.
Debating highlights for the Autumn term:
Tuesday 6th September 2016, 7pm - NOSS Debating - Round 1
Tuesday 20th September 2016, 6.30pm for 7pm - NOSS Public Speaking Competition - Round 1
Wednesday 5th October 2016, 7pm - NOSS Debating - Round 2
Wednesday 3rd November 2016, 7pm - NOSS Debating - Round 3
Friday 25th November 2016, 7pm - NOSS Debating - Final