Update for 2018 - changes to the selection criteria for Teams England and Wales: aiming to achieve excellence through diversity

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Each year the ESU selects the national teams of England and Wales who represent their nations at the World Schools Debating Championships. Applications for the team are now open on the World Schools programme page, however we have made a few important changes this year.

Team England and Team Wales exemplify the very best of school debating in their nations. They receive guidance and coaching from ESU appointed coaches and support from the debating community. Given that they represent their nations on the world stage it is important that the teams benefit from the diversity in the nations they represent. Sending teams that reflect the make-up of their nations is important because it is this diversity that is key to the teams’ success.

In both England and Wales, independent schools are able to invest more time and resources into debating. Teachers are able to facilitate attendance at university-run competitions and can pay for ongoing coaching. The chances of debaters getting onto their national debate teams are higher when they have benefitted from coaching and an ability to attend many tournaments. The imbalance in access to such opportunities has been reflected in the make-up of Team England for the past two decades and more recently has also become pronounced in Welsh debating too.

Until 2017, there had never been more than one female debater on Team England and fewer than ten BAME debaters have ever represented England. Both England and Wales have suffered from an underrepresentation of state educated debaters.

Last year we implemented quotas in the first three stages of selection. This year we have added to these quotas to continue our commitment to addressing the imbalance of opportunity to debate at the highest level for young people.

The minimum thresholds are outlined below, reflecting the differing challenges of the Welsh and English debating circuits:

Applications for the team are now open on the World Schools programme page. Best of luck to everyone applying.