Debating Matters is a national schools debating competition for sixth formers that puts students under pressure to engage with the key issues facing society in an intellectually rigorous way.

For any media-related enquiries, or to attend a Debating Matters event, please contact Jacob Reynolds on 020 7269 9231 or send him an .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Please see below for a selection of recent news coverage about Debating Matters

26 Jun 2017: Salisbury Journal: Burgate students take on top debaters in national final

A team of sixth form students from The Burgate School will be pitting their wits against the top debaters in the country.

20 Jun 2017: Falmouth Packet: Truro School students travel to London for Debating Matters national finals

Four students from Truro School’s sixth form are busy preparing themselves for the finals of the Debating Matters national finals next weekend.

11 May 2017: Falmouth Packet: Truro School teenagers win place in final of UK schools debating competition

Sixth-form students from Truro School defeated five schools to win a place at the Debating Matters National Final, held in central London in July.

02 Apr 2017: Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cirencester College’s debating society triumph

Cirencester College's Debating Society have made it through to the national finals of a debating competition.

10 Mar 2017: Brunel University: Brunel law project empowers teens with human rights knowledge

With the human rights of many increasingly under threat post-Brexit, law lecturers from Brunel University London are helping empower a generation of young people to know their rights and engage with the fight to protect them.

19 Jan 2017: Thorp Academy debating team: Students dominate debate in first competition

Students from Thorp Academy (Thorp) in Ryton, have reached the regional finals of the national Academy of Ideas Debating Matters competition. This academically acclaimed competition has been the premier performance for Thorp’s debating team, battling alongside teams from 12 regions throughout the country.

19 Nov 2016: Runcorn and Widnes World: Cronton students compete in national debating competition

Cronton sixth formers hosted the Merseyside qualifying round of the Debating Matters national debating competition.

17 Sep 2016: The Spectator: In a Birmingham jail, I discovered the point of Michael Gove

This debating contest was the kind of thing that old Tory modernisers did well – and that the new ones distrust

15 Sep 2016: BBC West Midlands: Beyond Bars on the Paul Franks Show

Academy of Ideas, director, Claire Fox and HMP Birmingham, director, Peter Small join Kathryn Stanczyszyn to discuss Debating Matters Beyond Bars. Skip ahead to 70 minutes.

14 Sep 2016: Financial Times: A prison project that aims to unlock the potential of inmates

A public debate over prisoners’ rights goes behind bars, writes Miranda Green

04 Aug 2016: Nick Gibb: Why we must have debate in schools

Nick Gibb addresses the Debating Matters competition finalists.

26 Jul 2016: IMechE: Debates help challenge young people’s perceptions of engineering

Throughout 2016 the Academy of Ideas and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers are running a series of themed debates for secondary and sixth form students about the future of engineering.

07 Jul 2016: Oxford Mail: Oxford schoolboys scoop top debating prize at national competition

A TEAM of pupils from Magdalen College School has triumphed in a national debating competition.

07 Jul 2016: Exeter Life: Debating team shines at national competition

Exeter College students impressed at the coveted national finals in London of the toughest debating competition in the country.

07 Jul 2016: Southwark News: South London’s top young debating team from Kingsdale School take on the country

Brainy youngsters from Dulwich have been taking on prestigious schools from across the UK in the country’s “toughest debating competition”. Five Kingsdale Foundation School sixth form pupils took part in the Debating Matters National Final at the Museum of London over the weekend.

06 Jul 2016: Lancashire Evening Post: Hutton Grammar in national contest

Articulate teens from Hutton Grammar school have finished runners-up in the national Debating Matters competition.

26 Jun 2016: Exeter Daily: Exeter students compete in Debating Matters national final

Exeter students compete in Debating Matters national final

24 Jun 2016: TES: ‘The thing that has really undermined teachers is not Ofsted inspectors or political instabilit

"I judged an Academy of Ideas Debating Matters competition for sixth-formers not long ago. The competitors I saw displayed a far greater ability to both listen to and respond to their opponents’ arguments than many of those campaigners I’ve seen on television or heard on the radio recently."

17 Jun 2016: Newham Recorder: Students debate EU referendum at UEL event in Stratford

Sixth form pupils went head to head in a public debate about the EU referendum at the University of East London (UEL).The lively two-hour competition was held exactly a week before the crucial Brexit vote.

20 May 2016: Around Dulwich: Kingsdale Foundation School win through to National Debating Competition’s final

Kingsdale Foundation School beat schools from across South London to win place in final of national schools debating competition for first time.

11 May 2016: Causeway Coast Community: Debating Success in Cross and Passion College

A talented group of 6th form students from Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle have enjoyed enormous success in two highly prestigious debating competitions.

19 Apr 2016: Jerusalem Post: Why school debating in Israel really matters

But then team spirit helps the students regain their composure, and they just go on stage and do it.

15 Apr 2016: Haaretz: Rank and File- Students compete in a unique debating format

A DEBATABLE MATTER: Some 150 students from 12 Israeli high schools were engaged in a unique format of debating that put substance over style in Jerusalem yesterday in an event organized by the U.K.-based Academy of Ideas Debating Matters Competition.

01 Apr 2016: Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times: Uxbridge College debating team now on their way to national finals

Uxbridge College is on its way to the national finals of a debating competition after winning the London North Regional Finals at the Barbican Centre. Out of 280 institutions originally entered in the Debating Matters competition, the College has reached the final 12.

17 Mar 2016: Watford Observer: School wins final of national debating competition

Sixth Form students from six schools from across London fought for a place at the Debating Matters national final in July. On Friday March 11, Queens’ School in Bushey were victorious and impressed judges with their sharp ideas and approach to the topics.

14 Mar 2016: Man Met Life: Event: Debating Matters

THE Department of Social Care and Social Work will be hosting the 2016 regional final of Debating Matters in our Brooks building at the end of March.

09 Mar 2016: Oxford Brookes University: Brookes to host regional finals of national schools debating competition

Sixth-form students from six schools in the South of England will fight it out in the UK’s toughest debating competition, the Academy of Ideas’ Debating Matters Competition this Friday 11 March. Oxford Brookes University is hosting the South regional final which will see 16-18 year olds taking part in a series of debates on topics such as gentrification, genome editing and gender quotas in the workplace.

12 Jan 2016: Redditch and Alcester Advertiser: Alcester Grammar School to represent Warwickshire in national deba

A TEAM of students from Alcester Grammar School will represent Warwickshire in the central regional final of a national debating contest after triumphing over three other schools in the region.

16 Dec 2015: Jordans Solicitors: Jordans Solicitors Debating Competition Final

The final of the fifth annual Jordans Solicitors Debating Competition took place on Wednesday 9th November at The Hepworth, Wakefield.

09 Dec 2015: Watford Observer: Queen’s School prove smart in UK’s toughest debating competition

A school in Bushey has once again proved their debating skills and have won a place in the regional finals.

08 Dec 2015: Bazingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke college students battle it out in debating contest

TELEVISION licence fees and doping in sport were two of the topics discussed by students in a debating contest. Three teams of students from Hampshire schools battled it out at Queen Mary's College (QMC) in the Hampshire qualifying round of of the UK's toughest debating competition - Debating Matters.

30 Nov 2015: Stourbridge News: Hagley Catholic High School students debate their way to competition win

STUDENTS from Hagley Catholic High School talked their way into the regional finals of a debating competition. Share article They were among four teams of students who took part in the round of the Institute of Debating Matters competition at Birmingham's Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College, debating controversial issues such as the HS2 rail link and childhood vaccinations.

12 Nov 2015: Bucks Free Press: Bucks students follow in the footsteps of MP with debate success

Buckinghamshire students followed in the footsteps of Wycombe MP Steve Baker last week by winning a “hard-fought” school debate.

13 Oct 2015: Worcester News: Bromsgrove and Droitwich students take on each other

Students from Bromsgrove and Droitwich have been competing in a war of words at Droitwich Spa High School to take home a regional title in a UK wide debating competition.

05 Oct 2015: Wimbledon schools compete in UK’s toughest debating competition

But Godalming pupils prove smart on tough topics. Four teams of students from Wimbledon and Surrey schools convened on Wimbledon High School vying for a place in the regional finals of the UK’s toughest debating competition.

07 Jul 2015: Watford Observer: Student debaters from a Bushey school awarded top prizes in national competition

Student debaters from a school in Bushey claimed top prizes in what has been dubbed ‘the toughest debating competition in the country’.

01 Jul 2015: TES: “We don’t pander to anyone. And what may be surprising is that young people appreciate it”

One veteran of the Academy of Ideas Debating Matters Competition explains the contest’s growing success

30 Jun 2015: Northern Echo: Teenagers finish third in prestigious national debating competition

A TEAM of teenagers came third in the national finals of toughest debating competition in the country. A four-strong team of Sixth Formers from The Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street took part in the Debating Matters National Final held at the British Library at the weekend.

29 Jun 2015: Guardian: How to teach… population

One of the problems of an ever-growing population is the pressure this puts on the Earth’s resources. This topic guide by Debating Matters explores the idea that population growth and a rise in living standards are unsustainable, while this presentation by Médecins Sans Frontières‎ considers several theories on how to cope with a global population explosion.

29 Jun 2015: Telegraph and Argus: Students talk their way to top prize in debating competition

A DEBATING team from a local school has been crowned champions of a national competition. The team from Beckfoot School in Bingley won the Debating Matters National Final, held at the British Library in London this weekend.

26 Jun 2015: We need to teach schoolchildren free speech before university beats it out of them

"Tomorrow we hope to prove that the censorious reputation students have been garnering is far from the mark. Twelve schools from across the UK will meet at the British Library for the Academy of Ideas' Debating Matters competition, a weekend of tough yet open debate on difficult contemporary topics where, most importantly, free speech is encouraged."

25 Jun 2015: BCB Radio: Adam Rawcliffe joins to discuss the Debating Matters National Final

Bradford school Beckfoot makes the Debating Matters National Final, a weekend of intense debate in what has been dubbed 'the toughest debating competition in the country'. Adam Rawcliffe from the Academy of Ideas has more.

16 Jun 2015: Chester-le-Street Advertiser: Sixth formers reach final of national debating contest

Hermitage Academy, from Chester-le-Street, are taking part in the national final of the Debating Matters competition, held in the impressive surroundings of the British Library starting on June 26.

14 May 2015: Jewish Chronicle: Keep calm and carry the motion- Israelis in UK-style debating competition

British-style debating for teenagers landed in Israel on Tuesday, when the London-based Academy of Ideas took its Debating Matters competition to Tel Aviv.

12 May 2015: Jerusalem Post: Jewish and Arab-Israeli high school students converge to debate

Or Katz and Maayan Amid and their teammates from the Reali Haifa school, take the trophy, after dozens of high school students from both the Jewish and Arab-Israeli sectors came together Tuesday for a day-long debate tournament, run by the Academy of Ideas Debating Matters Competition, a London based organization that has recently started its debate program in Israel, in partnership with the Anglo-Israel Association.

10 May 2015: Jerusalem Post: Debating matters to us all

Debating Matters Israel launch: Debate is the vehicle through which the world changes; if people don’t rationally defend their arguments, then the world would be governed by and ingenuity and creativity would be stifled.

08 May 2015: Haaretz: Rank and File Promoting a different kind of Arab-Jewish debate

Jewish and Arab teens from six Israeli high schools will participate in a first-of-its-kind debate in English in Tel Aviv next week, under the auspices of the Academy of Ideas and the Anglo Israel Association.

07 May 2015: Salisbury Journal: Godolphin debaters through to national finals

THE sixth form debating team at Godolphin school are celebrating after winning the Southern Regional Final of the Debating Matters Competition.

07 May 2015: Blackmore Vale Magazine: Godolphin debating team through to national final at British Library

Godolphin's Sixth Form Debating team won the Southern Regional Final of the Debating Matters Competition, held at St Mary's University, Twickenham.

05 May 2015: St. Mary’s University: St Mary’s Hosts Regional Final of Debating Matters

St. Mary's University, Twickenham, London host South Regional Final for the first time

25 Apr 2015: So Cheshire: Congleton High School students talk the talk

Four of Congleton High’s eloquent year thirteen students talked themselves - literally - into the North West and North Wales regional final of the national Debating Matters competition.

23 Apr 2015: The Sentinel: Young debaters argue their way to success

Congleton High reach North West and North Wales Regional Final

26 Mar 2015: Bradford Telegraph & Argus: School’s team in debating success

A debating team at Beckfoot School in Bingley has won a competition

10 Mar 2015: Mid Devon Gazette: No debate over strength of Queen Elizabeth’s performance

Queens Elizabeth Academy shine at West & South Wales Regional Final

04 Mar 2015: Watford Observer: Queens’ School students triumph in debating competition

Students from a Bushey school have triumped as North London's brightest teens

18 Feb 2015: Space Policy: Debating Matters Space Exploration

DM Judge, Dr Jill Stuart at London South Regional Final Space Panel

08 Jan 2015: The Argus: Students have the gift of the gab

Worthing College team claim victory at our Hampshire Qualifying Round

15 Dec 2014: So Cheshire: Congelton High Succeed in Debating Matters

Cheshire Qualifying Round winners, Congelton High School, profiled

12 Dec 2014: Redditch & Alcester Advertiser: Will pupils argue their way to success?

Last Year's Central Regional Winners, Alcester Grammar, will compete again next week

10 Dec 2014: BBC Radio Cumbria: Mike Zeller reports in Cumbria

Breakfast presenter Mike Zeller reports from – and takes part in – our Cumbria Qualifying Round

04 Dec 2014: St Mary’s University Twickenham: Lecturer Judges Schools Debate

DM Judge, Dr Trevor Stammers, reflects on his experience

03 Dec 2014: Sussex Express: Mayfield girls ask serious questions

Girls from St Leonards-Mayfield School won a tough debating competition last week

01 Dec 2014: Plymouth University: Cognition Institute hosts Debating Matters

Plymouth University's Cognition Institute hosts Debating Matters Cornwall and Devon Qualifying Rounds

29 Nov 2014: Guardian: Is it right that public schools have charitable status?

Debating Matters judge, Charlotte Vere, in Comment is Free

20 Nov 2014: Gloucester Citizen: Chosen Hill take on regions best

The Chosen Hill debating group

19 Nov 2014: St Mary’s University Twickenham: Lecturer to Judge School Debate

DM Judge Dr Trevor Stammers at the Merton Qualifying Round

18 Nov 2014: MRC: Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Tim Dalgleish, Programme Leader at the CBU judges Debating Matters

18 Nov 2014: Northern Echo: Hot topics up for debate by North-East teenagers

Teesside University in Middlesbrough join forces with the Academy of Ideas

17 Nov 2014: Nottingham Post: the thrill of the argument

Interview with competitors from Chilwell School and DM's Adam Rawcliffe

07 Nov 2014: Tricycle Readers: Libraries, the ultimate user experience

From DM Judge, Shyama Perera's blog

04 Nov 2014: Ulster Star: Local students the last word in debating

Hunterhouse College Senior Debaters claim victory

02 Nov 2014: Shoreham Herald: Debating team win place at Regional Finals

Steyning Grammar School beat off tough competition

02 Nov 2014: The Star: bright spark

Cardiff Sixth Form College shining

31 Oct 2014: Enfield Independent: School to take part in London debating

Highlands School, in Worlds End Lane, Enfield, will compete at University College London

27 Oct 2014: Guardian: How to teach press freedom

Debating Matters Topic Guides get a plug

21 Oct 2014: Franklin College: Debate team in International Final

Josh and Lily take on the Battle of Ideas Festival

20 Oct 2014: Times of India: Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan students win debating championship in UK

Chennai team wins Debating Matters International Final

08 Oct 2014: Lancashire Telegraph: Blackburn and Burnley students clash over Fracking

Blackburn College and Burnley College have clashed in a fiery discussion on fracking

25 Aug 2014: British Council India: Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior School prepare for Battle of Ideas

Debating Matters India year six winners from Chennai take on Franklin College

10 Jul 2014: Alcester Grammar School: National Final 2014 was a great event

We're already filling in our entry forms for next year

04 Jul 2014: Royal Grammar Guildford: Hit the headlines

Daniel Sutton's skills acknowledged by judges yet again

03 Jul 2014: Grimsby Telegraph: No arguments ... this debating team are truly talented

DM National FInal: Franklin College students are the best in Britain

02 Jul 2014: Cardiff Sixth Form College: reach DM National Final for 2nd year running

Both Lebogang and Annie received ‘Honourable Mention’ awards

01 Jul 2014: Maidstone and Medway News: local girls take over British Library

Invicta Grammar girls among the top debaters in the country

01 Jul 2014: Franklin College: we won!

Franklin debate team take top prize at British Library

01 Jul 2014: The Henrietta Barnett School: Congratulations to the debate team

National Finalist team 2014 receive praise

30 Jun 2014: The Day: Debating Matters, let the competition begin

National Final 2014

21 May 2014: National Stem Centre: free resources for schools

Debating Matters Topic Guides encourage debate in the classroom

14 Apr 2014: Scotland Tonight: Schools debate winners share their experiences

Kirsten Tingle and Conor Ewing from Douglas Academy and judge Mark Diffley on Scotland Tonight

12 Apr 2014: STV: Referendum Schools Debate

Individual winners announced

13 Mar 2014: Invicta Grammar School: Win London Inner Regional FInal

Tallow Chandlers Company Hall impresses Kent sixth formers

11 Mar 2014: Canterbury Times: Simon Langton Girls School through to regional stage

Pupils from Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar talk their way through to the regional finals

04 Mar 2014: Magdalen College School: Regional final report

Oxford team receive praise from the judges

03 Mar 2014: Langley School: Joe Reed gets Best Individual Prize

East Regional Final sees fierce debating from the Langley team

28 Feb 2014: Dillington Blog: Park House School, Newbury, win at Cumberland Lodge

Judge Wayne Bennett, Director of Dillington House, reports on the South Regional Final

23 Feb 2014: Sailsbury Journal: Godolphin School team head for Windsor Greak Park

Godolphin debaters are off to the south Regional Final at Cumberland Lodge

13 Feb 2014: Simon Langton Girls Grammar: Making debate count locally

In forging positive links with other local schools, it is hoped that future partnership events will soon emerge

11 Feb 2014: UKED Magazine: Debating in Schools; Does it Matters?

DM teacher, Sharon Jones assesses debating in schools

06 Jan 2014: University of Derby: Sixth form students go head to head

Head to head at Derby University


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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