About Debating Matters

Debating Matters because ideas matter. This is the premise of the Debating Matters Competition, which emphasises debaters’ knowledge and clear thinking over points of order and rhetorical flourishes. By debating real-world issues, students are introduced to key controversies at the top of the public agenda. Using the acclaimed Debating Matters Topic Guides, the competition challenges school pupils to go beyond the media headlines and delve deeper into the biggest issues confronting society. 

DM is 20 years old – and we’re celebrating throughout 2023!

December 2022 marked the twentieth anniversary of Debating Matters. Since our inception, we’ve hosted sixth-form debating competitions across the UK, in Europe and beyond! We’ve worked in a range of different settings, including Debating Matters Beyond Bars in prisons. Our acclaimed Topic Guides continue to be widely used as a teaching resource around the world.

We’re planning 20 events and initiatives over the next year to mark the occasion – keep an eye out for announcements!

Find out more on our 20 for 20 page.

How is Debating Matters different?

You might already do debating or public speaking at your school. If so, great. But Debating Matters is by design different to other forms of debating which are predominantly about public speaking. In brief, Debating Matters:

— Focuses on ‘substance over style’, and judges teams on who has the best arguments and research, not who has the most flowery rhetoric
— Encourages pupils to research topics well in advance using carefully produced ‘topic guides’
— Situates real-world debates as they are discussed in politics and the media
— Involves eminent judges in questioning the debaters and putting them on the spot to justify their argument

Where can I sign up?

Take a look at our events page to learn about upcoming events, or head to get involved to find resources for setting up debates in your school.

Debating Matters is a project of Ideas Matter. Find out more about the charity here. The competition was previously initiated by the Academy of Ideas.

Looking for an older topic or debate? Our archive with over 15 years of DM Topic Guides is available here.