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 are now open to trial for Team England and Team Wales. The application form is at the bottom of this page.

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.

If you are interested in representing your nation, then please fill in the application form at the bottom of this page.  We will respond to applicants for Team England by 18th October and 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 the world champion coaches Andrew Fitch (Director of Spoken Literacy at Highbury Grove School) and Lewis Iwu (Director of the Fair Education Alliance) will continue to coach Team England for WSDC 2018 too!

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.

We are also very happy to announce that George Clay (University of Cambridge) will continue to coach the Team for next Championships, which will take place in Croatia and Slovenia in 2018.

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

The World Schools Debating Championships

World Schools Debating Registration Form

Fields marked with an asterisk are mandatory fields.

Candidate Details
Date of Birth * Info: According to the eligibility criteria of WSDC team members must have their 14th birthday by the first day of debates at the Championships but not have reached their 20th birthday by the day of the Grand Final at the Championships.
Guardian Details
Schools Details
Team Details
Would you need a homestay for trials weekend?
Could you provide a homestay for trials weekend?
Personal Statment
Do you receive regular coaching? *
If you reached the semi-finals or finals, or were in the top 10 speakers of any of England’s largest 3 competitions, or were a regional finalist at the Schools Mace or the Welsh Schools Debating Competition then you automatically qualify for a trial. The largest competitions were: Oxford Schools, Cambridge Schools & Durham School
Teacher Details
Second Referee Details


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
Wales Team Manager information