Two-Day Debating Workshop

Learning to Speak your Mind

A rousing speech can change the course of history. Just think of Churchill’s ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ or Elizabeth I’s speech to the troops at Tilbury. It can also be a transformative and powerful tool for any young person. Learning to speak in public provides the skills to explore ideas, develop confidence and articulate opinions.

As the world’s leading platform for live debate, Intelligence Squared are keen to promote public speaking skills amongst the next generation. That’s why we are joining forces once again with the charity Debate Mate, an organisation which has had extraordinary results training school students to develop confidence through debating. As a result of their success, Sky 1 commissioned an 8-part prime-time show about their work – ‘Kings & Queens of Speech’.

The two-day debating workshops for Year 5 to Year 11, will bring students together in small groups to craft their arguments, practise public speaking and take part in interactive lectures which expand their knowledge of topics such as human rights, criminal law, and the big political issues of the day.

Once the training is done, the students battle it out and select their winners in a grand debate finale. A guest speaker will join us on the first day of the course to talk about how they have used debating in their careers. Past speakers include former Eton headmaster Tony Little, Times writers David Aaronovitch and Oliver Kamm, actor Alex MacQueen, author and television presenter Rachel Johnson and RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor.

Students acquire the skills to communicate effectively and the confidence to speak up. And most importantly, they have fun!

The Debate Mate Format

We are excited to announce that we are revamping our DLAWC format to reflect 5 years’ of experience and feedback from students and parents.

Training will be in the Debate Mate format (teams of 4) to encourage improved skills, teamwork and argumentation development, to push natural leaders, while also providing a a nurturing environment for younger, shyer students. We believe that all students, irrespective of personality type or age, will benefit from Debate Mate format. It has been proven to work across the world, and provides an excellent primer to advance to British Parliamentary style debating.

Course Details

Students are split into groups according to their school year and and experience. Where appropriate, within each strand, the students will be streamed according to experience into beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Junior Stream Year 5 – 8 / Confidence, expressing yourself, public speaking, current affairs
Debating is a great way to gain confidence, develop key skills and enhance awareness of the world around us. Using energetic and interactive games, our highly-motivated mentors introduce students aged 9-12 to debating. We use debating as a vehicle to develop all of these attributes, while engaging with topics ranging from the morality of animal testing to whether footballers are paid too much.

Senior Stream Year 9 – 11 / Thinking critically, case-building, analysis, help with GCSEs
Irrespective of prior experience, learning to debate is a sure-fire way to enhance key skills, deepen knowledge of current affairs, gain new perspectives and improve academic attainment. It is in the 13-16 age bracket that schools debating really starts, and competitive debating is a very powerful way to stand out at the top schools.

Supporting Debate Mate

Profits from the ‘Debate Like a World Champion’ are reinvested into Debate Mate’s charitable endeavours.

For more information about Debate Mate and what they do, visit the Debate Mate website or please watch this video.

Debate Mate Ltd. is a registered UK charity no. 1121222


The Debate Mate mentors were really fun, they helped me make friends with people from other schools and speak out during the different games. I was really nervous before hand but the mentors made it seem ok to take part. I’ve made loads of new friends through the workshops- I definitely want to come back again next time!
Harry, age 10

I had such a great time! It was really great and I know I will be able to use what I learnt when I get back to school. Listening to the mentors and getting constructive feedback means I know exactly what I need to do to get better. I can’t wait to do it all again.
Annabel, age 14

I am the parent of Emily and William and I just wanted to say thank you for running such a fantastic workshop. Both were really hesitant but couldn’t wait to go back for the second day. The quality of their arguments has improved which has had a positive impact on academic performance. We’re very glad we chose to send them!

As a parent, I was really pleased to see my sons’ progress. He was more articulate, argumentative and more willing to speak up around adults.

Just to let you know Edward and George enjoyed the day enormously. George who I was a bit concerned about said it was the best day of the holidays!! Looking forward to hearing about future courses!

Thanks so much for running a fabulous course – Isabella absolutely loved it – it really has given her a burst of confidence – she will definitely be keen to join the next course.

I am the parent of Cameron and Alex. They both really enjoyed the debating course and appear to have got a lot out of it judging by the quality of their daily arguments! In fact Cameron is teaching younger children debating skills as part of his community service. I know that what he learnt with you will be invaluable. Thanks again for an inspiring few days.

Tickets are currently not on sale.

upcoming courses TBC.

Venue for upcoming courses TBC.

We aim to hold courses during February half-term, the Easter holidays and in July at the start of the summer holidays. Further courses will be announced via our newsletter – to join the newsletter please use the sign-up form on the top-left of this page.

For more information and any questions, contact Laura La Frenais at laura.lafrenais