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Schools Mace

The National Debating Championship for Schools in England

Registration for the ESU Schools' Mace 2014-15 has now closed. If you are interested in registering for the competition, please contact Pete Doughton (

The Schools Mace is the oldest national debating competition in the UK. It has been running since 1957, encouraging the discussion of controversial topics and current affairs.

The Mace is an exciting and challenging debating competition for teams of two students in key stage 3 onwards. Students who participate in the competition develop their knowledge of controversial issues and world affairs, while enhancing their speech writing, public speaking and analytical thinking skills. The competition also helps develop confidence in its participants. Former winners of this competition have gone on to become MPs, well-known journalists, senior lawyers, prominent scientists and captains of industry. Institutions and establishments of all kinds enter the competition – further education colleges, comprehensive schools, private schools, grammar schools, schools with and without sixth forms and specialist status schools.

The competition runs with the academic year, beginning in the autumn term. The first rounds of the competition will take place between October and December. The second rounds of the competition will take place in January and early February. The regional finals will take place in late February and the England final will take place in March.

The competition is open to schools in England only. For more information on the corresponding Scottish competition, the Scottish Mace, please contact ESU Scotland and for more information on the corresponding Welsh competition, the Julian Hodge Cup, please contact CEWC-Cymru. The national winners compete in the International Final of the ESU Schools Mace in April. 

The Speech and Debate Competition Handbook for Schools is currently available online and to download. The handbook contains a glossary of commonly used public speaking terms, the updated rules of the competition, details of the competition format, as well as guidelines for speakers, coaches, adjudicators and organisers. Registration is £30 per team.

 If you have any queries that you can’t find an answer to here, please contact Pete Doughton.

To download the handbook click here.