On Tuesday 27th November, the College hosted the Western qualifying heat of the Joutes Oratoires (the National Independent Schools French Debating Competition).
Competitors were required to present their arguments in three minutes, and then to defend them against the counter-attacks of their opponents for a further five minutes, before addressing the judges for one final minute in an attempt to persuade them of the merits of their case. And all in French.
The College team of James Legge (U6 B1) and Ollie Quie (U6 LI) acquitted themselves very well, defeating St John’s on the subject ‘Nous sommes riches parce que les pays en voie de développement sont pauvres’. They also beat Sherborne, opposing the motion ‘La religion est une force pour le mal’. So they managed not only to score two victories out of two, but also to impress the native speakers adjudicating.
Unfortunately, their overall total was not enough to make the final. They would doubtless have savoured the motion 'On ne peut jamais justifier la violence', but it was the boys of Radley College who were the eventual winners, defeating Abingdon and winning a place in the National finals next term.
There was a remarkable quality of language on display throughout, with participants managing to debate complex issues with clarity, wit and perceptiveness. It has undoubtedly sharpened the oral skills of all those who took part, and all those in the audience were entertained, stimulated and impressed.