National Finals of the Joutes Oratoires

Peps Haydn Taylor (NC U6) and Annabel Hannan (NC U6) competed on Friday 26th June in the National Finals of the Joutes Oratoires, a French debating event run by the Institut Français, and one of the most demanding linguistic challenges available for schools. Having won their heat in February, with Grisha Belotserkovsky (TU U6) partnering Annabel, Marlborough came up against the other seven regional champion pairs, to debate two motions.

Against King’s Wimbledon, they proposed “Il faut interdire la vente des véhicules électriques dès 2030”. The speeches they delivered were fluent, detailed and clever. Annabel got stuck in to the arguments that the opposition dared suggest, and gave a persuasive summary. The judges praised their skill, but awarded the debate to KCS.

Against a passionate pair from Henrietta Barnett, they had the challenging task of defending eco-terrorism, and the conviction and composure of their speeches was exemplary. They did a good job of dismantling their opponents’ proposals, and clinched victory with a strong summing-up. The winning margin was narrow, and the girls from HBS indeed went on to claim 3rd place overall – so it was quite a scalp for our team to have claimed.

The quick thinking & nuanced intellectual debate would have been impressive in English, but to see and hear it in the second language of all the debaters was inspiring. Grisha, Peps & Annabel have represented the College with distinction and we thank them for all that they put into this event, which will surely inspire next year’s Upper Sixth to emulate their achievements. Chapeau!

Tom Kiggell
Languages Department

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