Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

Ethics Forum - A Great Debate!

06 November 2015

On Friday 16 October, EHS played host for the second year running to a panel-based discussion and debate session: the Ethics Forum. GCSE and A Level pupils from EHS and over 100 students from neighbouring schools took their places in the Octagon, for the much anticipated opportunity to ask pressing, even controversial questions to a panel of well-known figures. The theme of the event was 'British Values in the 21st Century'.

The panel comprised five local experts, all of whom are well-known and respected within their professional fields; they included Sasha Brooks,  DJ with Capital Radio and host of their popular Drive Time show; Jess Phillips, the newly elected Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley; Randal Brew OBE, a Conservative peer and former Lord Mayor of Birmingham, now representing the Northfield ward; the Venerable Simon Heathfield, the current Archdeacon of Aston and Jane Fielding, a Senior Partner at Wragge and Co, specialising in Commercial Law.  The event was once again chaired by Elizabeth Glinka, broadcast journalist and presenter for the BBC, best known for her appearances on Midlands Today and The Sunday Politics Show.

The EHS girls in particular were delighted to see such a wide array of female panelists from a diverse range of professions and with such different opinions about the issues raised. Elizabeth Glinka chaired the Forum with aplomb, and did very well to control the authoritative panelists during the more heated moments of the debate. Elizabeth frequently encouraged questions and comments from the audience and allowed them to challenge the views of the panelists and to take them to task when they disagreed with their opinions. It was an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into the views and mindsets of distinguished, successful people.

The two hours flew by, with the first question, "What are fundamental British Values?" setting the tone for the debate, which expanded into many other areas: the panelists also took questions on positive discrimination; the portrayal of Islam and other religions in the media; the very relevant issues of university fees; and a question about the role of Independent Schools in the 21st century. All speakers were very engaging, and in particular, their differences of opinion provided a stimulating and entertaining debate.

Thanks must go to Mr Berman's Tech Team, in particular the ‘mic girls’ who made sure all the questions could be clearly heard and managed to carry around boom microphones that seemed to be more than double their height! A special thanks must also go to Mr Smith (RS) who organised the event and worked tirelessly to make sure it all ran smoothly.

Conversation and heated debate carried on amongst students long into lunchtime and beyond. EHS even got a ‘shout-out’ on Capital Radio later in the day. An enjoyable and informative event for all who attended!

Sioned Gill, Year 12

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