For most schools, debating is an extra-curricular activity, initiated and sustained by the interest and enthusaism of students and teachers. Debating Matters is an accessible, yet challenging format for schools with a tradition of debating, or with none.

If your school has no debate club, or tradition of debating…
…then why not consider trying Debating Matters? Our Beginners’ Resource Pack will help you get started!

Schools debating is one way to get your students thinking about contemporary issues in an enjoyable but demanding way. Teachers have often commented that the Debating Matters format has taken students beyond their immediate experiences to think about the broader world around them. As one teacher new to the competition told us recently:

“I think the quality of the debates and the challenge from the judges is something that cannot be replicated in the classroom…where else do they get this level of debate? It is equipping the next generation…with the skills to influence.”

Chris Millington, Shelley College, Huddersfield

If your school already has a debating team…
… then you might like to challenge your students to try Debating Matters and its unique format of involving a lively exchange of ideas between the teams, a panel of judges and a participatory audience. Your students will be tested not only on how well they can prepare their opening speech, or how they think on their feet – both worthwhile skills in their own right – but ultimately on how well they have understood the real issues at stake in a debate, both from their own perspective and their oppositions’.

Students taking part in Debating Matters are encouraged to think beyond clever sound-bites and to avoid relying on oratorical skill or flourishes to get them through a debate. Instead they will need to demonstrate to a panel of judges drawn from a broad range of professional backgrounds that they have researched and really understood the social issues at stake in any debate they are given to argue. No one expects the students to be technical experts in a subject, but then the point of Debating Matters is not a technical one. Rather than debate for debates sake, we believe that when put under adult pressure and scrutiny to think about some serious contemporary social issues, young people are capable of rising to the challenge.

Teachers might like to read an article by Richard Swan, a supporter of Debating Matters, on his hints and tips for creating a winning Debating Matters team ‘How to Win Debating Matters’. Bear in mind that there is no 10-point plan for winning the competition as we dispense with points and strict rules of engagement, but Richard provides a valuable insight into the role of the teacher in schools demonstrating that debating really does matter.

Use the links below to find out more about the Debating Matters format, structure and aims.


See FAQ’s for quick answers to common questions, and also the competition’s Rules. Take a look at Debating Matters’ acclaimed Topic Guides available for those competing in Debating Matters and also for for schools, teachers and students more broadly.

If you have any questions about Debating Matters email us or call 020 7269 9230.