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Home > Competitions > London Debate Challenge

‘Being part of the ESU London Debate Challenge has made our students much more politically aware’

London Debate Challenge

Key facts

  • What: Debating competition for London state/maintained schools
  • Age: Years 7, 8 & 9
  • Price: Free
  • When: Heats run in May, with the finals in July
Register now

in brief

The London Debate Challenge gives Key Stage 3 students from state and maintained schools across the capital the opportunity to develop the skills required for effective debating through a mixture of expert training and competition. Fun, practical workshops and feedback sessions with experienced ESU trainers allow students to work on strengthening their skills in critical analysis and reasoning, as well as developing their confidence in expression and delivery, all in a supportive learning environment.

The London Debate Challenge has been a fantastic opportunity and I would really recommend that all schools do debating

Clare Arnold

Teacher, Dunraven School, Lambeth

Why do it

  • Fantastic, no-cost way to introduce your students to competitive debate
  • Challenges students to engage with wide-ranging cross-curricular topics, while helping to meet National Curriculum speaking and listening targets
  • Encourages confidence, critical thinking and social mobility, broadening students’ horizons and opportunities
  • Experienced ESU judges give constructive feedback to all participants at all levels of the competition
  • All students participate in an ESU trainer-led coaching session at the borough heats
  • London-wide competition is highly motivating for students and the school as a whole
  • Builds links and camaraderie with other London schools, widening your and your students’ network of contacts
Image of young person learning oracy schools at an ESU training session

Find out more

Registration opens in January each year. Heats run in May, with the finals in July.

Registration is now closed


If you have any questions or queries about the London Debate Challenge please email or call 020 7529 1564.

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