Debating Society

Who we are                       

For anyone who is interested in exploring world issues, listening to other people's perspectives, practising public speaking, and having a really good argument - Debating Society is for you!

At the moment the Debating Society is made up of senior school students, but if any younger students are interested in having a go, we'd love to hear from you.

What we do                              

The Debating Society meets once a week on Mondays to research, practise and prepare for any upcoming debates or events, whether that be in-school debating sessions, or competitions further afield.

When: Mondays, lunchtime

Where: T1.1

Upcoming events !!NEW!!

East Lothian Schools Debating Competition - Friday 28 March, 6-8pm, Ross High School.

On Friday 28 November, Ross High School will host the first ever East Lothian inter-school Debating Competition - and the task is to debate the future of Scotland! If you're interested in either being one of two speakers, or supporting the Knox team, read the section below that is relevant to you, and see the general information provided.



When and where?

Friday 28 March, 6-8pm, Ross High School, Tranent. Note that this is an evening event!

What does this involve?

You'll either be forming a team of one of two speakers, fiercely debating the issues surrounding Scottish Independence, or you'll be sitting in the audience, fiercely defending and cheering on your team! If you are chosen as a speaker, you'll receive coaching and support from me (Miss Sumerling) and the Debating Team.

How do we get to Tranent?

I and several other teachers will be able to transport you by car. However, we need to know how many of you are interested by THIS Friday (7th March). Therefore you need to follow the instruction regarding paperwork below, otherwise you risk losing your place in a car!

Do I need to pay?

No! It's free! smiley

O.K, what do I need to do now?

Read the section that is relevant for you below.


If you want to compete

I'll be holding auditions this week in order to make a fair decision. Therefore, if you want to compete, follow the steps below.

1. Sign up for an audition time - you'll find the sign-up sheet stuck on the English Base door. At the same time, collect a Parent Information letter AND Parent Consent form.

2. Return to the English Base at the time of your audition. You should be prepared to deliver a confident, persuasive talk lasting no more than 2 minutes, outlining your (justified) views as to whether or not Scotland should become independent. Then, be prepared to answer a few tricky questions exploring the complex issues surrounding the topic.

3. I'll let you know a.s.a.p as to whether you've been selected for the team, but in the meantime, ensure you hand back the paperwork by Friday 7 March. Yes, that's THIS Friday.


If you want to support

Pop up to the English Base as soon as you can and collect a Parental Letter and Permission form from me (Miss Sumerling) and have it back by Friday 7 March. Yes, that's THIS Friday. 






The Model United Nations Conference

On Friday 1 November, a group of twelve debaters, Miss Sumerling and Mr Plain travelled to Penicuik High School to take part in a Model United Nations Conference. A Model United Nations Conference intends to recreate the activity of a real UN Committee Session, so groups of students opt to take on the role of diplomats for various different countries.

We were to represent Lebanon and North Korea - two countries that we previously knew very little about!

Before the event, the delegations needed to prepare well in order to be able to represent their countries accurately and assertively - no easy task! After a few weeks of research however, and a lot of Googling, our two delegations could confidently write about various issues facing the two countries, from child labour to eugenics, and from whaling to polygamy. 

And so we went to Penicuik to face delegations from more than fifty other countries...


Diplomats meet for the first time before separating to debate the issues on the agenda.


The next challenge was to face other delegates in the morning Committee sessions, and after the initial confusion of having to ask permission to speak through the chairpersons, North Korea and Lebanon began to make a stand for themselves and defended their positions well.


Lev staunchly defending the interests of his country, Lebanon.


One diplomat getting her view across.


Diplomats vying for their chance to address the committee.


In the afternoon, we were to learn that disaster had struck: an earthquake had taken place off the coast of Fukushima, Japan and a nearby nuclear power station was threatening to emit toxic nuclear waste.

All UN delegates needed to come to an agreement on how best to deal with the dangerous situation taking hold of the world - this led to a flurry of activity as different countries discussed ideas, wrote notes and action plans, and submitted propositions to the chairpersons, most of which were promptly rejected by other countries - UN diplomats are a contrary bunch.

Meanwhile notes and other tokens of appreciation (bananas, tortillas, leeks) were passed between allies in order to form strong bonds with which to challenge other, less favoured countries. The scene was fairly chaotic but the chairs at the front of the hall managed to hold it all together by rapping hammers and issuing particularly noisy countries with threats down the microphone. China and Nigeria were particularly vocal offenders...

The UN decides how best to deal with the impending nuclear disaster.


Eventually, a decision was made by way of a vote and the Conference drew to an end.

Outside, our delegates posed for photos before making the long journey back to North Korea and Lebanon (Haddington).


Delegate faces.


The Lebanese diplomats.


The North Korean delegates.


On learning there were biscuits waiting in the minibus...