Llantwit Major School

Llantwit Major School

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RSPCA Debate Report

In June, pupils from Llantwit Major School were chosen to take part in the RSPCA’s annual event – The Great Debate: Who is responsible for animal welfare?

The event itself took place at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and we participated along with five other schools in South Wales – Cardiff High School, St Richard Gwyn, Cardinal Newman High School, Lewis School and Builth Wells School. Each school argued for and against various groups and organisations being responsible for animal welfare, and each were appointed following:

  • Llantwit Major School - the people/owners
  • Cardiff High School - the police
  • St Richard Gwyn - the local authorities
  • Cardinal Newman High School - the Welsh Government
  • Lewis School - the RSPCA
  • Builth Wells School - vets

The pupils competing from each school were divided into three teams - the For Team, the Against Team and the Media Officers. As stated in their names the For Team argued for their appointed group/organisation, the Against Team argued against and the Media Officers Tweeted about the event on Twitter and took pictures of the event. The Media Officers had to end each Tweet with #RSPCAGD17.

Upon arrival, pupils had to have the contents of their bags scanned for any dangerous weapons and had to have a full body scan to make sure they weren’t concealing any weapons on their bodies or in their clothes. After this, the pupils were then escorted to a room for them to put their belongings and get a hot/cold drink before the actual debate. During this, pupils were also given name cards and ‘treat bags’ for them to keep and they also had to vote on when they believed children should be taught about animal welfare. The majority of the pupils voted for 7 – 10 year olds.

The actual debate was held in the Siambr Hywel, the old debating chamber for the Welsh Government. In the Siambr Hywel the debating teams had their opportunity to deliver a five – minute speech about why their group/organisation should or should not be responsible for animal welfare. In between the arguments, the pupils were given a series of facts about animals that they had to answer as ‘true,’ ‘false’ or ‘unsure’. One of the statements were “A blue whale’s tongue can hold up to eleven people on it.” During the debate the Media Officers for that school Tweeted about the points being made using either a computer or an electronic device of their own.

When the debating was over, the pupils were led on a tour of the Senedd. They visited two rooms – the New Debating Chamber and the Committee Room - and were given a talk on the history of the two rooms and the events that take place in them. They were allowed to take some pictures of the rooms and ask questions about them. They went to lunch after this and had to vote for who they believed should be responsible for animal welfare, however to keep it unbiased the pupils weren’t allowed to choose who they’d been arguing about. The results of this vote turned out to be quite varied, with the majority of pupils voting for the RSPCA, the police and the local authorities, instead of the usual majority vote of the people.

Shortly before some awards were given out to a couple of pupils, they had a quiz with Matt Le Saux from Capital FM Radio’s Breakfast Show and a Q&A session where one pupil from each school could ask questions about animal welfare and future proposals to protect animal welfare. After this, four pupils were chosen to receive an award for:

  • Future Politician Award
  • Future Journalist award
  • Future Campaigner Award
  • Animal Welfare Champion Award.

Maisie Edwards from Llantwit Major School received the Future Politician Award. When the awards ceremony was over the pupils who had received awards had a picture taken with Matt Le Saux, then all the other participants had the opportunity to have one taken as well.

Overall, it was a fantastic day for the pupils at Llantwit Major School and the pupils from the other schools who attended the event.

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