Calling all Sixth Formers! Debating Matters returns to Solent University for Southampton Championship

Photos from 2019’s successful Debating Matters Southampton Championship

Sixth-form students from eight schools in Southampton will battle it out for the title of Debating Matters Southampton Champions 2020 at a flagship day of debate on Wednesday 5 February. The event will be hosted by Solent University and produced in partnership with NATS.

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.

Solent University offers industry focused degrees and courses with first class facilities and quality teaching. Tere McGonagle-Daly, the Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Relations) of Solent University said:

“We’re delighted to be hosting the Debating Matters Southampton Championship in 2020 and look forward to welcome local schools and colleges to the event. Our Spark building will provide a fantastic backdrop for the event, encouraging discussion and debate amongst young people. Being located in the centre of Southampton and home to a diverse community of staff and students we are aware of the many social and environmental issues faced by society. I look forward to hearing young people’s thoughts on these issues and ideas as to how society can overcome them”.

NATS is the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services and partner of Debating Matters Southampton. Simon Warr, communications director for NATS said:

“Debating Matters is a very rewarding challenge for all participants. Not only is it hotly contested on the day, but the knowledge and skills people learn will serve them well in any future career they pursue. NATS is delighted to be able to help bring this great initiative to the Southampton and Hampshire area.”

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 Southampton, 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 Southampton 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