The Debating Society is the premier forum for free speech and debate at Haileybury. From our public debates, through our training sessions, to the competitive success of our elite debaters, all Haileybury pupils have the opportunity to engage in the major issues of the day, in the School, the country and the world.
Each fortnight we host public debates on important matters from inside and outside Haileybury, giving as many pupils as possible the chance to speak. Before each main debate there is time for a private members' debate where any pupil can bring a matter for debate. Motions vary from the war in Afghanistan to the importance of sport.
Our training sessions allow pupils of all abilities to learn the arts of speaking and debating. There are sessions for beginners and elite squad debaters, sometimes split into senior and junior groups. There is also a popular Lower School Debating Society.
The annual House debating competitions allow debaters from all Houses to compete for the senior (Fifths, Lower Sixths, Upper Sixths) and junior (Removes and Middles) cups, debating a variety of motions, including This House believes that Barack Obama is, has been and will be a failure as President of the United States and This House believes that academic study must be the priority for all teenagers. We also run competitions for novice debaters (Maiden Speakers' Cup) and open pairs (Founders' Cup).
The Debating Society enters all the major national competitions with notable success, including Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and the International Competition for Young Debaters. Many of our debaters also take part in public speaking competitions, to considerable success. These debating competitions enable our debaters to meet young people from all over the country. Indeed, the social side to debating is rapidly expanding, with the annual Valedictory Dinner and other events besides.
The Society is run by senior pupils who act as officers, giving them the opportunity to take leadership roles and train younger debaters.