The Junior Debating Competition takes the form of a balloon debate: each House takes on the role of a famous person (or an object), and has to argue why they should not be thrown out of a fictional balloon which is sinking and needs to loose weight.
The House with the most points after adjudication wins, and remains in the balloon rather than plummeting to an unpleasant death.
The conventions of the debate are as follows:
- Speakers adopt the 'persona' of the person or object they are representing. Ideas and arguments should be based on this rather than on the speakers themselves. Props and costumes may be used, but these do not gain speakers any extra marks.
- Teams may be one, two or three speakers - it is advisable to have at least two.
- Each house will have a minimum of 6 minutes to speak, and must not go over the maximum of 12 minutes. Failure to adhere to these restrictions will incur time penalties - you will lose points.
- There will be Open Debate (speakers from the floor (the audience) are invited to join the debate or ask questions of the teams) after all the speeches have been made. This will last a maximum of 30 minutes.
- The best ten speakers for each house will be awarded points for their performance. Spontaneity will be rewarded more highly than long-winded, prepared statements.
- Speakers will be marked on:
- Content of speeches
- Presentation (use of language, delivery etc.) of speeches
- Performance in Open Debate
- Team co-ordination
- Speakers may ask others in their House (e.g. Debate Captains) for help in preparation of speeches, but may not ask for or receive help from House Staff. This will incur penalties.