Gibbs’ House Wins 2023 House Debating Competition

Lancing has decades of tradition in debating excellence and this year’s House Debating Competition has been especially fierce. With every House fielding a team, Thursday nights were dramatic and informative with topics such as:

  • This House would eliminate trial by jury in all criminal cases.
  • This House would not allow countries with poor human rights records to host sporting tournaments.
  • This House would prohibit Donald Trump from running for the American presidency.
  • This House would abolish the monarchy.
  • This House would abolish GCSEs.
  • This House believes that reality television does more harm than good.

The House teams showed great skill and preparation, thinking on their feet and crafting precise and convincing arguments. It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm and organisation with which the teams approached the competition and the support from the audiences, coming en masse to support their houses and their friends. Head’s, Field’s, Handford and Gibbs' made it into the coveted Final Four spots with some close-fought victories to push into the last round. The final motion ‘This House regrets the rise of cancel culture’ featured Handford and Gibbs’ battling out on the last Wednesday of term with the Head Master and Dr Keane judging. After a very close debate showcasing excellent arguments and rebuttals, Gibbs' House claimed the prize.

Congratulations go to Toluwani A, Annika F, Cooper F and Nur L for their participation and to our audiences, judges, chairs and timekeepers for making this competition so vibrant and fun.

The House Debating Competition is one of my favourite parts of life at Lancing. Last year, in the Fifth Form, I represented Manor for the first time; we won three consecutive debates and succeeded as the champions. Having learnt how to debate at my prep school, it was so wonderful to progress from being in the audience as a Third Former to being ‘up there’ myself. This year, I represented Manor again, with a new partner. We lost our debate, which was lively and controversial in its unfolding: we took on Fields’ and argued against abolishing the monarchy. That’s one important part of debating that I’ve learnt to tolerate (or, perhaps, to cherish): you cannot change the motion that you’re given, even when your ‘real-life’ views clash with it. This year and last, I have also been able to chair (and time keep for) several debates, which is always an enjoyable experience. There is arguably nothing more satisfying than, when one likes precision, being equipped with a bell and a gavel to ensure that this most wondrous kind of argument retains structure and discipline. It’s certainly an art.

Hannah C: Lower Sixth Form, Manor House