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Debate Academy, World Schools Debate Academy and Mini Debate Academy aim to ensure that students who participate are able to work with students who have approximately similar experience in debating. To this end we divide students into four separate tracks at Debate Academy and Mini Debate Academy and into three streams at World Schools Debate Academy. Students may highlight a stream that they would prefer to be put in, but ultimately the decision rests with the ESU. The tracks that students are placed in will depend on their experience compared to others at Debate Academy in that year. As such they only reflect the experience that students have to date and in no way reflect their intelligence or potential. Students should also remember that they may be able to move tracks during the academy if we feel they’d benefit more from being in a different class.
If you would like to know more about the groups please do look at our explanations below for a rough guide. If you still aren’t sure which track to preference just provide as much information as you can on the registration form and we’ll try and allocate the best track for you.
Experience Tracks for Debate Academy and Mini Debate Academy
Beginner – If you’re in this group you probably will have had little or no experience of debating prior to Debate Academy. You may have never debated before but you’d like to learn how to do it. If you’ve had some experience it will probably have been whilst debating against other students within your school as part of a debate club. You may have entered one of the larger national competitions, but unfortunately weren’t successful in getting beyond the first round. Fear not! We’re here to help you master the basics and go on to hopefully compete in those inter-school competitions.
Lower Intermediate – If you’re in this group you’ve probably mastered most of the basics of debating but are looking for some help in getting even better. You are likely to have had a fair amount of experience debating within your own school and perhaps have entered a number of external competitions to debate against other schools. We can help you consolidate those basic skills, deal with more complex debates and help build your expertise and confidence to compete with success in those inter-school debate competitions.
Upper Intermediate – If you’re in this group you have probably been debating for several years and have had some success. You will probably have done well at some schools competitions and are likely to have made it to the regional final of the Mace; to the Finals Day in the Oxford or Cambridge competitions or ranked in the top third at other debating competitions. We can help you to build your skills so that you can ‘break’ to the final stages of these competitions and begin to think seriously about trialling for your national teams.
Advanced – If you’re in this group, you probably already think you know everything there is to know. You may have broken to the finals or semi-finals of a number of national competitions but you may be looking to find out how to win a final, or in exceptional cases, win more finals. If you’re in this group you’ll almost certainly be looking to trial for your national team – indeed you may even already be on your national team. We can help you to become even better at debating, to understand how debates are judged at the highest level and how to win the top rooms at competitions.
Experience Tracks for World Schools' Debate Academy
Beginner – If you’re in this group you probably will have had little or no experience of debating in the World Schools format prior to Debate Academy. You have probably had some experience of debating within your school and may have competed at external competitions but without progressing far. You want to be on this course for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it’s a longer course you’ll have far more of a chance to develop over six days rather than four. Secondly, you probably like the idea of trying a format which has slightly longer preparation time and a chance to think about issues from an international perspective. You may be thinking about applying for your national team but this may be a year or so away.
Intermediate – If you’re in this group you probably have been debating for a couple of years and have mastered the basics. You probably have quite a bit of experience in British Parliamentary or Schools Mace formats but may not have much World Schools format experience. You’d like to get some experience of the format and are probably thinking of trying out for your national team this year.
Advanced – If you’re in this group you probably have a fair amount of debating experience. You’ve probably competed for your school at national competitions and may have reached the semi-finals or finals of the competition. You’d like to get some experience in the format used at the World Schools Debating Championships and hope to apply to be on the team for the next competition. We can help you gain more experience with the format, learn how to use your preparation time and become accomplished national debaters.