Debating for Key Stage 3 students in London state schools

London Debate Challenge

Registration for London Debate Challenge is NOW OPEN! Register here.

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.

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 two parts:

Borough Heats (May – Early June): 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 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, agreed upon by all schools in the borough. This event will take place over a full school day, so students will need permission to miss lessons.

Final Day (July): Borough Champions will compete on the Final Day. After 3 rounds of debate, the two highest scoring teams will compete in the Grand Final. This event will be a full-school day.

Registration for the London Debate Challenge 2017 is now closed and will reopen in 2018.


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 Regional Finals Motion Factfiles
LDC Finals Motion Factfiles
LDC Photo Permission Form