29 Nov 2018: Debating Matters comes to Kent on 13 February

Sixth-form students from eight schools in the Kent area will battle it out for the title of Debating Matters Kent Champions 2019.

The flagship day of debate will be hosted by MidKent College and has been organised in partnership with Localis.

Registration is now open for the competition, which sees 16- to 18-year-olds take part in a series of debates in what has been dubbed ‘the UK’s toughest debating competition’. Local schools will enter teams of between four and six sixth-form students, and Debating Matters particularly welcomes applications from schools without a history of traditional debating.

As ever with Debating Matters, it will be the substance of the arguments – rather than the style of presentation – that will decide the winners, and participants are encouraged to leave no stone unturned in a day of fierce, frantic and, most importantly, free debate. The students will face judging panels of adults from a wide range of professional backgrounds - including local business leaders, scientists, authors and academics - who will quiz them on their arguments and challenge them to defend their research and thinking.

Jonathan Werran, chief executive of Localis said:
“Debating Matters is a priceless opportunity for promoting self-development and leadership among capable young people. The process of articulating arguments, in a setting which challenges and equips young people to summon forth their wisdom, courage and empathy, is truly unique. Localis is proud to help bring this initiative to Medway and North Kent.  We hope that participants will benefit from a stronger sense of their place in the world and in their ability to shape their future.”

Simon Cook, principal of MidKent College said:
“I have always been impressed by Debating Matters and how their work helps encourage young people to debate serious issues that affect us all. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing young people practise their debating skills in competition with their peers. To see their passion, enthusiasm and insight at work is marvellous. We are delighted to host the competition, and I hope that this helps another generation find a way that their skills and talents can help to shape the world that they live and work in.”

Claire Fox, director of the Academy of Ideas, said:
“The competition prides itself on taking young people seriously, valuing ideas and allowing free debate. Kent has traditionally been an extremely strong Debating Matters region in terms of teams and students and I can’t wait to see them put under real intellectual pressure. Partnering with Localis is hugely satisfying and a real opportunity to embed debate in local regions. Finally, as someone who has previously taught in a further education college, I’m delighted to be able to host the Championship at MidKent College and demonstrate the importance of the broader post-16 educational landscape.”

Notes for Editors

  1. To book a place for your school at Debating Matters Kent, please email Bernie Whelan on or call on 020 7269 9230. Please note, there are VERY LIMITED SPACES. Get in touch ASAP to take part.
  2. Journalists are welcome to attend the debates, which take place all day. To confirm a place, please call Jacob Reynolds on 020 7269 9231 or email
  3. The winning school will be crowned Debating Matters Kent Champions 2019.
  4. Follow Debating Matters on Twitter @DebatingMatters
  5. Created in 2002, Debating Matters is a nationwide sixth-form debating competition for students from around the UK. DM offers a fresh, accessible and engaging format for debating contemporary real-world issues, with an emphasis on substance, not just style of debating, and the importance of taking ideas seriously.
  6. Debating Matters is a project of the Academy of Ideas. The Academy of Ideas was founded in 2000 to provide a forum committed to open and robust public debate in which ideas can be interrogated, argued for and fought over. The Academy of Ideas organises intelligent public debates, including an annual festival of discussion and debate in London, the Battle of Ideas.
  7. For press inquiries or to interview students, teachers, judges and other participants, please contact Jacob Reynolds on 020 7269 9231 or email


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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