The world's leading debating competition for students

The World Schools Debating Championships

The World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) is the most respected international English-language debating competition for students aged 14-19.

As well as encouraging competition between the most talented young debaters in the world, the competition aims to promote international understanding and celebrate free speech.

Founded in 1988, this two week tournament provides an opportunity to showcase the highest standard of secondary school debating across the globe. The location of the competition changes each year; recent venues include Peru, Qatar, Seoul, Athens, Cape Town, Turkey and Thailand.

The ESU is proud to manage Team England and Team Wales. With the assistance of an experienced selection panel, we select debaters for the teams as well as their coaches, manage their participation in the tournament and finance them.

Applications for the national teams are now closed.

Each year, national debating organisations across the world put together teams of up to 5 of their nation's best debaters to compete in the Championships. The selected debaters then train hard together to ensure that they are prepared to the best of their abilities. The ESU selects and manages the participation of Team England and Team Wales.

Applications for the Team England and Team Wales that will be representing their nations at WSDC 2018 are now closed.

If you are interested in representing your nation in the future, then please fill in the expression of interest form.

We responded to applications for Team England by 18th October and will respond to applicants for Team Wales by 25th October.

If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend trials in London on the 28th October if you’re applying for Team England; or in Cardiff on the 4th November if you’re applying for Team Wales.

After the first day, the first selection will be made and some applicants will be invited back for the second day of trials that will take place the next day.

After the second day, we will select 10 applicants who will receive world class coaching with the national team’s coaches until February, at which point we will select the final 5 debaters who will represent each nation at the Championships.

As well as these changes, we have introduced minimum thresholds for traditionally underrepresented groups at various stages of the selection process. You can read more about that here.

The competition lasts for around 2 weeks in which teams participate in 4 debates on prepared motions released roughly 2 months before the competition and 4 impromptu debates for which the topic is given 1 hour before the start of the debate. After the inrounds, the teams are ranked by number of debates won, number of judges who voted for them and speaker points, and the top 16 teams then progress or 'break' to the knockout stages.

The next Championship will take place in Croatia and Slovenia from 17th - 27th July 2018.

world schools

Team England are Grand Finalists

We are very proud of the fantastic performance of Team England. Hannah Taylor (Tiffin Girls’ School), Edward Bracey (Eton College), Tara Sallis (Berkhamsted School), Arthur James (Eton College) and the captain Kenza Wilks (Dulwich College) made the Grand Final of the Championships for a second year in a row.

You can watch their final debate against Team Singapore here.

Alongside the stellar team performance, Kenza Wilks also claimed the title of the Best Speaker in the world with Edward Bracey ranking 3rd out of over 200 of the best debaters from around the world.

We are happy to announce that world champion coach Andrew Fitch (Director of Spoken Literacy at Highbury Grove School) will coach Team England for WSDC 2018.

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

Team Wales break highest in Europe

We are very proud of Ariana Jessa (Atlantic College), Vaishnavi Sabrigirivasan (Cardiff Sixth Form College), Sheikh Srijon (Atlantic College), Odunayo Salu (Cardiff Sixth Form College) who represented Wales at WSDC in Bali.

The team finished the preliminary rounds in 10th place, as the highest-ranking European team.

Sheikh Srijon was also ranked the 18th best English as a Second Language debater in the world.

Applications are still open for the positions of Team Wales Assistant Coach and Team Wales Manager. It’s a great opportunity to support Welsh debating, get to know the world schools format better and develop your organisational or coaching skills. The Team Manager also accompanies the team to Zagreb where the Championships will be held from 17th-27th July 2018. More information can be found in the Resource box at the bottom of this page or you can email The application deadline has been extended until the 6th December.

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


Below you will find more details of the competition and information about how the team trials work.

An introduction to the competition
Competition format
Further Information
Team England Assistant Coach 2017-18
Team England Manager 2017-18