What: Prestigious debate in the House of Lords for selected schools
Age: Year 10 and above
When: Every November. Training begins in September
Each year the House of Lords opens its door to citizens from all walks of life, enabling them to engage in a lively debate about important social and political questions on the famous red leather benches of the chamber. In the run up to the debate, a number of state/maintained schools (selected by the English-Speaking Union) and partner organisations (selected by the House of Lords’ outreach team) are trained by the ESU at a series of ‘talking days’. From these, speakers are selected for a debate chaired by the Lord Speaker. Past motions have included How to Look After the Vulnerable, The Legacy of the Great War, and Diversity in Parliament.
What to expect
- Chance for your students to speak in Parliament
- Prestigious public debate is highly motivating for students and the school as a whole
- Debate is recorded by Hansard and all participants receive a copy
- Expert coaching from ESU trainers
- Builds confidence, oracy and presentation skills
- Builds links and camaraderie with other schools all over the UK, widening your and your students’ network of contacts
I took part in this debate when I was 16. I was quite intimidated but incredibly excited because I could tell people I was speaking in the House of Lords. It’s something that helps you stand out from the crowd
‘The boys have had so many opportunities through debating. Northern inner cities can be quite insular, but the members of the debating team have become so well travelled and confident. They were actually a bit disappointed to discover that they wouldn’t be competing against other schools in this debate as it’s the competitive element that they like, but then the historic setting and the what is probably a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to speak at the House of Lords is excitement enough.’
Clare Boughey, teacher, St. Francis Xavier’s College, Liverpool
How to get involved
If you’d like your school to be considered, please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are unable to accommodate every school but will select schools from regions across the UK whose student profile is in line with our charitable aims (i.e. with a higher-than-average proportion of children on FSM or with EAL).