Lissy Verrall
The Rochester Grammar School

Debating Matters is so important to me because it was the first time I had to justify beliefs to people that wanted to listen and engage in an intellectual discussion.

BSc Government and History, London School of Economics and Political Science

The reason Debating Matters is so important to me is because it was the first time I had to justify beliefs to people that wanted to listen and engage in intellectual discussion. This competition takes ideas seriously and seeks to delve deeper into differing perspectives and challenge common sense assumptions of mainstream media moguls.

The competition started off as something extra-curricular to do with some friends, I never thought it would turn into a big part of my academic life. My school, The Rochester Grammar School, had never progressed very far in the competition before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My team ended up progressing all the way to the National Finals. I loved every second of my involvement; it felt incredible to be able to discuss complex issues with experts in respective fields and be treated as an intellectual equal.

Through participating in the competition, I learnt to be more concise in my written work, more articulate and confident in my rhetoric, and to speak in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it. I was exposed to issues that I was a novice in, or never even knew existed, for example, the controversy of fracking, press freedom, physician assisted suicide and so many more. This helped me develop my own interest areas; participating in DM and debating press freedom helped me get onto a Foundation Degree Module course at the University of Kent, studying The History of Journalism.

Since making the transition from competitor to alumnus, I have had some wonderful experiences, from making life-long friends, to travelling around for rounds and meeting world renowned academics. I would strongly encourage anyone considering getting involved to give it a try because having the opportunity to better yourself academically and personally is a truly rewarding experience.


Thursday 27 June:
Oxfordshire Championship at Oxford Union, in partnership with Magdalen College School and Oxford Festival of Arts

Friday 5 July:
North East Championship at Durham Sixth Form Centre


Find a list of all our previous championship events here.


Bernie Whelan, our DM coordinator, is raising money for Debating Matters. To stage one of our Championships for six to 12 teams costs £6,000. Find out more on Bernie’s Wonderful fundraising page.


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