The world's leading debating competition for students

The World Schools Debating Championships

The World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) is the most respected international English-language debating competition for students aged 14-19.

As well as encouraging competition between the most talented young debaters in the world, the competition aims to promote international understanding and celebrate free speech.

Founded in 1988, this two week tournament provides an opportunity to showcase the highest standard of secondary school debating across the globe. The location of the competition changes each year; recent venues include Peru, Qatar, Seoul, Athens, Cape Town, Turkey and Thailand.

The ESU is proud to manage Team England and Team Wales. With the assistance of an experienced selection panel, we select debaters for the teams as well as their coaches, manage their participation in the tournament and finance them.

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Each year, national debating organisations across the world put together teams of up to 5 of their nation's best debaters to compete in the Championships. The selected debaters then train hard together to ensure that they are prepared to the best of their abilities.

The competition lasts for around 2 weeks in which teams participate in 4 debates on prepared motions released roughly 2 months before the competition and 4 impromptu debates for which the topic is given 1 hour before the start of the debate, After the inrounds, the teams are ranked by number of debates won, number of judges who voted for them and speaker points, and the top 16 teams then progress or 'break' to the knockout stages.

The next Championship will take place in Bali from 1-11 August 2017.

Applications for Team Wales are now open at the bottom of this page. Applications will close on 13.01.2017 at 18:00.

Team England are the reigning World Champions!

We are very proud of Archie Hall (Westminster School), Rosa Thomas (Alleyns School), Edward Bracey (Eton College), Ife Grillo (Bridge Academy) and the captain Kenza Wilks (Dulwich College) who swept to glory after 13 intense rounds of debating at the competition in Stuttgart. Read about how they got there.

You can get a taste for the excitement here

Their coaches Andrew Fitch (Director of Spoken Literacy at Highbury Grove School) and Lewis Iwu (Director of the Fair Education Alliance) have worked incredibly hard with the team to achieve this result and we’re happy to confirm that they will be coaching the Team for WSDC 2017 in Bali too!

Applications are now open at the bottom of this page. If your application is successful you will be invited to the trial weekend in London on 29-30th of October. At the end of the trial weekend selected applicants will be invited to attend a development weekend with the coaches from which the final team will be selected. Applications will close on 14th October at 18:00.

Support the team on Twitter and Instagram @TeamEnglandWSDC or join the Team England at WSDC Facebook group.

Team Wales beat 45 nations to place 11th in the world!

Applications are now open for the team that will represent Wales at the World Schools Debating Championships in Bali from 1-11 August 2017!

We’re looking for talented and promising debaters and public speakers who want to represent their nation at the most prestigious secondary school debating competition in the world. If you’re passionate about public speaking and debating and prepared to work hard to represent the nation on a global stage, then we’re looking for you!

The selection weekend will take place in Cardiff on the weekend of 28-29.01.2017 with an optional training session in the World Schools format the preceding weekend. Please email if you are interested in training day. The team will be coached by George Clay (University of Cambridge).

If you’d like to speak for Wales then please use the form at the bottom of the page to apply. Applications will close on 17.01.2017 at 12:00.

After a long history of managing Team Wales, WCIA will be handing over this responsibility to the ESU. We look forward to strengthening our support for the team and will be opening applications for Team Wales 2017 at the bottom of the page shortly.

Support the team on Twitter @TeamWalesWSDC or join the Team Wales at WSDC Facebook group.


Below you will find more details of the competition and information about how the team trials work.

An introduction to the competition
Competition format
Further Information