Recently, nine CRGS Sixth Form students participated in the John Stuart Mill Cup. This is a national competition which encourages students to engage in discussion with students from other schools about specific ethical issues. It resembles a debate, but without the adversarial elements; the competition is structured to reward collaborative discussion and the ability to advance debates thoughtfully on ethical issues of public concern. Like many events this academic year, the competition took place remotely rather than in person.
Within each match the team is required to give a six-minute presentation on one of eight ethical cases, which they have prepared, but without using notes. They must also respond to views and questions expressed by the other school, before finally addressing some questions raised by three judges. Given the subject matter, it is a highly stimulating experience, but is equally intense and challenging and students have to think quickly on their feet.
The Year 13 team consisted of Zahra Dungerpurwala, Hollie-Anne Hartley, Joshua Loan-Clarke, Elise Ridge and Millie Towers. They competed in the region hosted by Glasgow University and faced some tough opposition throughout the day. The ethical cases which they had to address included the right to public nudity, campus no-platforming, rehabilitation versus retribution, homophobic discrimination and freedom of speech and whether private schools should be abolished. The students worked extremely well together as a team and articulated some insightful arguments which focused on the ethically salient issues. Following a narrow defeat in the semi-final, the team went onto win the third-place match and as a consequence will participate in the finals hosted by St Andrew’s University on 16th June.
Our Year 12 team competed in the region hosted by Leeds University. This team of four students, who are all studying Religious Studies, comprised Holly Blackburn, Jessica Foster, Heidi Lord and Evie Pollard. They discussed many of the same ethical cases and presented equally thoughtful and persuasive arguments. Although they won one match and tied the other in the group stage, unfortunately the team did not proceed to the semi-final because of a point difference. That said, the Year 12 students really enjoyed the experience and despite feeling nervous, gained much confidence from the competition and public speaking.
We wish the Year 13 team every success in the finals on 16th June.