Debating for all secondary schools in England

Schools' Mace

Registration for the Schools’ Mace 2018-19 is now closed. Registration for 2019-20 will open in the summer.


Debating can give your students the power to persuade, influence and inspire others. It deepens their knowledge of controversial issues and world affairs and makes them better able to appreciate both sides of an argument.

The English-Speaking Union's Schools' Mace, the oldest and largest debating competition for schools in England, hones all these skills in a fun, competitive environment helping students think for themselves, share their ideas and widen their circle of friends. Working in teams of two, students enhance their speech-writing, public speaking and critical thinking, helping them to excel both in and out of school.

Click here for FAQs

The ESU Schools’ Mace is open to schools in England only and each school can enter a maximum of one team. Each team consists of two students in KS3 and up. In order to cover the cost of running the competition, we charge a small fee of £40 per team, charged upon registering.

After registration closes you will receive an email stating your host school, which school your team will be debating against, what the motion will be and which position your team has been assigned (proposition or opposition). The first and second rounds are held between October and January and the regional final takes place in February. Those who win the regional finals go through to the national final, which takes place in late March.

Schools can download the Competition Handbook in the Resources section below, or might consider booking an ESU Discover Your Voice workshop to help guide their team to success. If you are interested in taking part, please email the Debating Programmes Team at

The 2018 Schools’ Mace final was held at Dartmouth House on Wednesday 21 March - find out who won here.


Our Schools’ Mace resources include a handbook containing 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. There are also a set of Schools’ Mace FAQs and additional forms for event organisers

Schools’ Mace Handbook 2018-19
Schools' Mace Chairperson's Script
Schools' Mace Judging Guidelines
Schools' Mace Judging Sheet 2018
Expense Claim Form
Photo Permission Slip
Hosting Brief
Pronoun Introduction Policy