Awaiting the end

We’re hitting the month of December and the countdown begins. There’s another two weeks until I get back home but boy is it a busy two weeks. Classes, coursework, homework, activities, arrangements to make and the UKMT Intermediate Kangaroo Challenge in Friday. Saturday sees our end-of-term party, and once again Morgannwg *cue applause for the best student house*, we’ll have ours in the library.

As things begin to wind down, I’m allowing myself a little more breathing space. The day before yesterday, I attended what I had thought was a concert performed by students, only to find that it was in-fact student compositions performed by their music teachers. The performance was lovely and reminded me of something that I had not touched for a long time but still thoroughly enjoyed.

The winds are picking up and the number of hours with light is slowly shrinking. Getting up in the morning has never been so hard since it is literally pitch black when I go down for breakfast. Dinner at 5 is experienced in much the same conditions. I’m hoping that we get some snow before we leave, although that seems unlikely. We did have snow around this time last year, but it appears to have been an anomaly so this may turn out to be a snowless winter.

The countdown has started. now there’s just a final sprint to the end and hopefully a little more relaxing December to look forward to.

Most common names in the UK

Meet Oliver, Jack, Harry, Alfie and Charlie, the five most common names in England and Wales according to the UK Office for National Statistics. The top names for girls are Olivia, Sophie, Emily, Lily and Amelia.

What really surprised me was the fact that Paul had fallen out of the top 100 along with Christopher, Simon, Jonathan and Steven. That really was a little disappointing and really unexpected for me personally.

Another interesting feature were the number of alternative spellings. #1 was Oliver while Ollie came in #63. Mohammed, Muhammad and Mohammad came in #17, #31 and #67 while Finley and Finlay were #35 and #68 respectively. I was also quite surprised to find Jayden, Harley, Kian, Reuben, Luca and Jude in the top 100. They must be popular names, but not really what I had expected. On the girls side, Ava, Poppy, Faith, Lexie, Niamh, Aimee and Tilly all managed the top 100.

Full list of top 100 names in England and Wales:

WSDC 2011 – Team Wales and Team HK Draw

This is part of the WSDC 2011 series as I recount and report on the World School Debating Championship 2011 in Dundee, Scotland as a debater, blogger and Wales national team member.

Given the announcement of the draw for WSDC 2011, here’s the head-to-head match-ups for Team Wales and Team Hong Kong, the only two teams I have/will ever represent at a WSDC tournament.

Results Bristol Schools Debating Competition 2011 [UPDATED]

The Bristol Schools Debating Competition 2011 was held on Saturday 12 February 2011 at the Language Department at Bristol University, Bristol, UK. For my personal recount, see this post.
Currently, no official tab has been released, but here are the results I copied down. All errors are my fault only.
[UPDATE] Ben Walker, Convenor, has released the tab in an email saying:

Dear Debaters,
Please find attached the tab from the Bristol Schools competition on Saturday.
Many thanks to everyone who took part, as well as to Sheraz Qureshi for CAing.
We had a lot of fun, and we hope you did too!
Best wishes,


R1: THW require all schools to admit a mix of student representative of the socioeconomic make-up of the country as a whole
R2: THBT developing countries should nationalize their resources
R3: THW ban pornography
R4: THBT religion has, on balance, caused more harm than good
GF: THBT violent protest is legitimate in western liberal democracies

Grand Final

Note: The one day tournament featured a direct break into the Grand Finals.

  1. Cheney A – 11 team points – 612 total speaker points
    • Emily Fernandes – 306
    • Elizabeth Romanis – 306
  2. City of London Girls B – 11 – 601
    • Siofra Dromgoole – 301
    • Mercy Hadfield – 300
  3. St Paul’s A – 10 – 600
    • Freddy Powell – 303
    • Zac Levin – 297
  4. Composite A – 9 – 613 [As a composite team, Composite A were not permitted to break]
    • Paul Lau – 307
    • David Wigley – 306
  5. City of London Girls X – 9 – 607
    • Imogen Hamilton-Jones – 304
    • Sarah O Keeffe – 303

Champion: Cheney A – Emily Fernandes and Elizabeth Romanis
Best Speaker: Paul Lau (Composite A)

Full Tab

WSDC 2011 – Team Wales

This is part of the WSDC 2011 series as I recount and report on the World School Debating Championship 2011 in Dundee, Scotland as a debater, blogger and Wales national team member.

After three rounds of selections that culminated in a Training Weekend at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff on 11 and 12 of December 2010, Team Wales has emerged, ready for the 2011 World Schools Debating Championships to be held in Dundee, Scotland.

The 5 debaters are:

  • Josephine Maidment {Returning Member}
  • Sarah Roberts {Returning Member}
  • David Wigley {Returning Member}
  • Catrin Davies
  • Paul Lau {Member of Team Hong Kong in 2010}

The team will be jointly coached by Ellen Robertson and Jonathan Leader-Maynard.

WSDC 2011 – Team Wales Selection Day

This is part of the WSDC 2011 series as I recount and report on the World School Debating Championship 2011 in Dundee, Scotland as a debater, blogger and Wales national team member.

With the 2011 World Schools Debating Championships in Dundee, Scotland fast approaching, countries have begun to make preparations and have begun selecting national teams. In Wales, a ‘Team Wales Selection Day’ was held for debaters recognized as ‘Outstanding Individual Debaters’ in regional rounds, quarter finals and semi-finals of the 2010 Wales Schools Debating Championship. The runner-ups and the champions of the 2010 Wales Schools Debating Championship also participated although the champions were assured progression to the next round of selections.

In order to get to Cardiff from UWC AC on time, I woke up around 6:30 and endured a lonely, 30 minute walk in the cold, slippery Welsh environment to get into Llantwit. There were few people around, unsurprisingly given the time of day, but a large number of cars. It took me a while before I realized they were all heading to their SAT exams. I caught the X45 to Llantwit on time and had about an hour to spare which I spent shopping and walking around.

Finally, around 10:15, I walked to the Temple of Peace in Cardiff where the selections were to be held. I was only the 3rd or 4th to arrive, but the lobby quickly filled up with lots of debaters, all chatting away amicably. There were some notable faces in the room, particularly Sarah Roberts, Wales Schools Debating Championships 2010 Champion and a member of Team Wales 2010, and Josephine Maidment & David Wigley, both members of Team Wales 2010.

In total, 18 debaters took part out of an eligible 20. These were:

  • Josephine Maidment
  • Anna Cornish
  • James Davies
  • James Watt
  • Georgia Power
  • Siobbhan Brennan
  • Sarah Roberts
  • Cai Gwyn Wilshaw
  • Branwen Miles
  • Piers Digby
  • Ryan Hopkins
  • Matthew Bold
  • David Wigley
  • Nia Bethan Nevill
  • Nathan Jones
  • Catrin Davies
  • Huw Jones
  • Paul Lau

The selection day itself consisted of three parts. The first was a 45 minute quiz where participants answer questions to show their knowledge, logical thinking, augmentation and analytical skills. Next came a 45 minute discussion on international and local UK issues ranging for North Korea, China to the UN, military intervention and the overall concept of democracy. Finally, there was a mock-debate with three 7 minute speeches. In my particular case, we debated the motion that ‘THW Ban Alcohol’.

Following all three sections, the facilitators, Ellen Robertson, Jonathan Leader-Maynard, Martin Pollard and Naomi Blight, retired to select 10 individuals to go forward for the Training Weekend. With Sara Morgan and Sarah Roberts, the 2010 Wales Schools Debating Championship champions already destined to progress, there were just 8 spots up for grabs.

In the end, after length deliberations, the 10 individuals chosen to take part in the Training Weekend were

  • Sara Morgan
  • Sarah Roberts
  • Josephine Maidment
  • James Watt
  • Piers Digby
  • Ryan Hopkins
  • David Wigley
  • Nathan Jones
  • Catrin Davies
  • Paul Lau
  • Reserve: James Davies

The Training Weekend took place on the 11th and 12th of December 2010, also at the Temple of Peace.