Students from Notre Dame SFC in Leeds delivered an exemplary performance at the Ethics Cup Leeds Regional final last month, and have earned themselves a place in the national finals at the University of St. Andrews on May 31.
The Ethics Cup, a project run by the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University, is “a tournament in which teams of high school students match wits with each other discussing ethical issues of public concern. It’s not a debating competition and isn’t won by proving the opposing side wrong. Rather, it’s a collaborative discussion, and the team that best displays the virtues of insightfulness, thoughtfulness and civility takes home the ultimate prize, the cup itself!”
Nine of Notre Dame’s upper and lower sixth students, all of whom are studying A-level Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies (PERS), represented the college in this tournament. The team were presented with a range of complex ethical issues to discuss such as anti-natalism, Universal Basic Income vs means-tested income, a plastic straw ban, citizenship status at birth, male non-therapeutic circumcision, and banning guns. Prior to the competition the team met several times, taking responsibility for reading up on the different case sets and educating their teammates about some of the issues. The team rehearsed through discussions within and outside of their PERS lessons, meaning they were fully primed for the event.
As part of each match, teams would present their thoughts on the chosen issue and then receive questions from the opposing team as well as a sustained grilling from judges. The judges, all professionals and academics in various fields of ethics and theology, marked each team on their performance. Dr Joanna Ledenhag from the University of Leeds remarked that one set of responses from the Notre Dame students was “absolutely exemplary” and Professor Gerald Lang, also from Leeds University, said the team’s performance was “thoughtful and promising.”
The students made it all the way to the regional final, taking part in insightful discussions with Allerton High School, Ampleforth College, and The Grammar School at Leeds. In the last leg of the tournament, despite Notre Dame’s passionate yet measured responses, Carr Manor pipped them to the post. However, the team has still earned themselves a place at the national final in May, and we wish them the very best of luck.
Mr Tunnecliff, the college’s Head of Philosophy, Ethics & Religious Studies, said, “I am so proud of the achievements of the team, not just in the competition itself but prior to the event. They displayed the virtues of commitment, love of learning, and respect. I am sure that the students will remember this day for years to come. They were fantastic; a credit to the college, their families and themselves.”
Pictured are Allyna Charles, Jewel King, Millie Walker, Chloe Seget, Nabeeha Nadeem, Joel Thompson, Aleena Sabu, and Hannah Begum. Hawraman Salih was also part of the team.