A packed morning of online debates on Monday, 29 March saw The Bishop’s Stortford High School for Boys and Wellington College emerge victorious to claim their places in the grand final of the Schools’ Mace competition that afternoon. The motion ‘This House regrets the romanticisation of motherhood’ drew spirited arguments from both sides (Bishop’s Stortford in proposition; Wellington in opposition) and lots of questions from the floor, especially from students who had participated in earlier rounds. Despite the barriers of screens and masks, both teams did incredibly well in engaging their online audience and critically examining the barriers mothers and parents face in society.
The judging panel included Baroness Hale of Richmond; Amanda Moorghen, Impact and Research Lead at Voice 21, our oracy partner organisation; and experienced ESU delivery staff. Judges were unanimous in selecting Wellington College (pictured) as the overall winner, remarking that the team presented a creative case and were scrupulous in their questioning of what motherhood has meant for women throughout history. Lady Hale commented on the interesting differences between legal argument and debating and asserted the absolute importance of being able to offer confident oral argumentation.
All were in awe of the resilience and energy students, teachers and parents alike have brought to the whole competition, and we would like to thank everyone who has been involved, including our coordinators, judges, volunteer and spectators, for making it such a success.