Throughout the competition awards and prizes are given to schools, debaters and students, ranging from the educational to the just-for-fun.
The competition’s headline prize sponsor, Hodder Education, offer schools nearly £10,000 of books as prizes annually for the Regional Final runners-up and winners, and for the National Final runners-up and winners. Prizes have also been donated by Encyclopaedia Britannica, Oxford University Press and regional and national cultural institutions, to name a few.
Judges present certificate awards or commendations to individuals at each stage of the competition, These awards are made to students they regard as having made the best contributions throughout an event. There are three awards – Best Individual, Highly Commended and Commended, as well as Honourable Mentions. All students attending the different stages of the competition are eligible for these awards, including those who are not part of a competing team and those who are below sixth form age. This set of awards recognises that the point of Debating Matters is not just the winning of a particular debate by a team, but the very process of debate itself. Please note that at the Qualifying Rounds only one award of ‘Best Individual’ is made; winners certificates are sent by post, and are not awarded on the night.
The Gina Owens Memorial Prize
Each year at the Debating Matters National Final a special award, the Gina Owens Memorial Prize, is made for the sharpest, wittiest argument from the individual who shows the clearest grasp of his/her arguments and expresses them with passion, warmth and humour,