Debating Matters returns to Sherborne Girls School for South West Championship

Photos from the successful 2019 South West Championship

Sixth-form students from eight schools in the South West will battle it out for the title of Debating Matters South West Champions 2020 at a flagship day of debate on Thursday 23rd January. We are delighted to be returning to Sherborne Girls School, Dorset for this championship.

Registration is now open for the competition, which sees 16- to 18-year-olds take part in a series of debates in what has been dubbed ‘the UK’s toughest debating competition’. Local schools will enter teams of between four and six sixth-form students, and Debating Matters particularly welcomes applications from schools without a history of traditional debating.

After a very successful competition last year at Sherborne Girl’s School, where the competition saw an extremely high level of debate and many distinguished judges putting students under pressure, we are sure to be in for a great day.

“There are many skills that we hope to impart to our pupils during their time at Sherborne Girls. We hope, for example, to make them confident thinkers, people who can defend their ideas but show humility when presented with the ideas of others. We hope to make them verbally dextrous, capable of expressing themselves with economy and élan. And we hope to give them an appreciation of the power of intellect to shape the world and make a positive difference. We are therefore delighted to be hosting the Debating Matters South West Championship and to welcome students from across Dorset, in independent and state schools, together for a debate that is judged by leading figures in the media, law, commerce, academia and industry. Through initiatives like this, I hope we encourage students to be intellectually flexible, and able to engage with the complex mores of the contemporary world.”
Louise Troup, Head of English at Sherborne Girls School

As ever with Debating Matters, it will be the substance of the arguments – rather than the style of presentation – that will decide the winners, and participants are encouraged to leave no stone unturned in a day of fierce, frantic and, most importantly, free debate. The students will face judging panels of adults from a wide range of professional backgrounds – including local business leaders, scientists, authors and academics – who will quiz them on their arguments and challenge them to defend their research and thinking.


To book a place for your school at Debating Matters South West, please email Bernie Whelan on  or call on 020 7269 9230. Please note, there are VERY LIMITED SPACES. Get in touch ASAP to take part.

Journalists are welcome to attend the debates, which take place all day. To confirm a place, or for all other press inquiries, please call Jacob Reynolds on 020 7269 9231 or email  

Permission is granted to use the included photo for press matters in an article about the Debating Matters South West 2020 Championship

Follow Debating Matters on Twitter @DebatingMatters

Created in 2002, Debating Matters is a nationwide sixth-form debating competition for students from around the UK. DM offers a fresh, accessible and engaging format for debating contemporary real-world issues, with an emphasis on substance, not just style of debating, and the importance of taking ideas seriously.

Debating Matters is a project of the boi charity. For more information on the charity, please visit For further information about the competition, go to