Debating for Key Stage 3 students in London state schools

London Debate Challenge

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. Practical workshops and feedback sessions with experienced ESU Mentors 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.

This free competition aims to inspire students of all educational backgrounds to explore and practise debating in a fun and accessible way.

Registration for London Debate Challenge 2018 has closed.

How it works

Participation in the competition is completely free at all stages, but schools must register in order for their students to compete.

This year’s competition is split into three parts:

Borough Heats (May) Borough teams will come together to take part in a debating workshop run by our experienced ESU mentors and will receive valuable feedback. Each team will then take part in at least two debates. The highest scoring team will become the Borough Champion. The Borough rounds will take place at some point within this time period, and will be agreed upon by all schools in the borough. Please note that each borough's round will take place on a full school day, so students will need permission to miss lessons.

Regional Finals (June) – This exciting stage of the competition will see the remaining Borough Champions come together in one of four regional finals across the capital – North, East, South and West - for an evening of debating. Two Regional Champion schools from each finalist will be invited to the LDC Final Day.

LDC Final Day3 July 2018, Dartmouth House, Mayfair – Eight Regional Champions will compete at the LDC Final Day. After three rounds of debate, the two highest scoring teams will compete in the Grand Final. The event will be a full school day.

Registration for the London Debate Challenge 2018 is now closed and will reopen in 2019.


The London Debate handbook contains a timetable for the competition, judging criteria and coaching resources. We have also provided a Motion Factfile, which gives you an example of an argument subject (motion) and what key facts students should use, what questions they should ask, and what type of resources they should use in other to prepare for a debate.

London Debate Challenge Handbook
London Debate Challenge Borough Heat Motions Factfile
LDC Photo Permission Form
Regional Final Motions Factfile
LDC Finals Day Motion Factfile 2018