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Home > Competitions > World Schools Debating Championships

‘I learnt so much during the two-week competition. I feel like a very different person from the one I was when I left Wales’

World Schools Debating Championships

Key facts

  • What: The most respected international English-language debating competition
  • Age: 14-19
  • Price: Individual registration fee of around $700; ESU means-tested bursaries are available. Trialling for the team is free of charge
  • When: Late July/early August annually, trials held in November/December annually

in brief

The World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) represents the pinnacle of English-language secondary school debating across the globe. Founded in 1988, this two-week tournament sees teams from 50 to 60 countries go head to head to debate social, moral and political issues. Past competitions have been held everywhere from Turkey and Thailand to Singapore and Croatia, meaning the competition offers the opportunity for international travel and friendships as well as for rigorous intellectual development.

The ESU manages Team England and Team Wales, selecting their coaches and team managers and managing their participation in the tournament. We invite selected applicants to WSDC team trials in the autumn term, after which an experienced selection panel chooses 10 students per team to form a development squad. These students receive intensive debate training from their team coaches before the five team members (per nation) are chosen. There are minimum thresholds for traditionally underrepresented groups at various stages of the selection process as outlined here. Training then continues up to and throughout the competition.



Why apply

  • Prestigious international competition is highly motivating for students and the school as a whole
  • Fantastic personal development opportunity for students offering advanced coaching, high-level competition and the opportunity for international travel
  • Expert coaching for both development squad members and the final teams. Our coaches have extensive experience and are some of the highest-ranked debaters in the world
  • A chance for experienced debaters to really challenge themselves and raise their aspirations
  • Builds links and camaraderie with other debaters both nationally and internationally
  • Builds cultural awareness and understanding

‘WSDC gave me the opportunity to hear a huge variety of views from across the world, from insights into Trump’s America from Team USA, to different perspectives on how Brexit is viewed from outside the UK. These experiences have cemented my interest in international relations and politics and I leave WSDC with a far better understanding of world affairs.

Aside from making new friends from all around the world, I also have so many memories I shared with my teammates – from the rainy-day training sessions in Starbucks in Cardiff to canapés with the British Ambassador to Croatia at his sumptuous official residence. Oh – and being in Zagreb’s main square watching the Croatian football team competing in its first World Cup final was pretty memorable too!’

Huw Jones, Team Wales participant 2018

Find out more

Applications are invited from all competent debaters and open in late August each year. Regional winners of the Schools’ Mace and the Wales Schools Debating Championships will automatically be invited to trials upon application. This year’s championships will be held on 23rd July-2nd August 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The ESU finances all travel, accommodation and sustenance for Team England and Team Wales during the two-week championships. There is a World Schools Debating Championships registration fee of up to $700 per team member. (Trialling for the team is free of charge). ESU means-tested bursaries are available.

Applications for Team England and Team Wales for WSDC 2019 are now closed.

Team England 2019

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

Follow them on Twitter

Team Wales 2019

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

Follow them on Twitter


Find out more about the organisation that run this global competition

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