03 Dec 2015: ‘Inspired by’ Debating Matters

'Inspired by' Debating Matters - the work of the Leeds Salon as exemplar

Over the past 13 years Debating Matters has engaged hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of pupils and teachers in the UK. In addition, we’ve staged international competitions in India, showcases in Israel and Germany, and worked with partners on a range of stand-alone projects - universities, charities and businesses - using the Debating Matters’ focus on the importance of ideas, to engage young adults to think about the world around them.

Outside of our centrally managed programmes, we know people use the competition format in debate clubs and schools across the country, as well as aspects of our work, such as Topic Guides, for their own endeavours. These projects and events are inspired by Debating Matters, something we are very proud of. Competition judge, chair and regional supporter Paul Thomas, co-founder of the Leeds Salon, has done some great work under the ‘Inspired by’ banner, and we felt his work should be recognised as an example of what can be achieved beyond the main Debating Matters competition.

This year Paul, with the help of the Leeds Salon, has worked with Jordans Solicitors in Wakefield, which have run their own schools debating competition for five years, to help them use the Debating Matters format this year. The final of the Jordans Wakefield Sixth Form Debating Competition 2015 will take place on Wednesday 9 December at the acclaimed gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield.

In early 2016 the Leeds Salon, under Paul’s direction, will stage it’s third year of the Headingley Festival of Ideas Years 10 &11 School Debating Competition, which brings together schools from the north Leeds area to take part in their own competition, using the Debating Matters format and local judges.

As if that wasn’t enough for Paul and the Leeds Salon to take on, a new Debating Matters-style competition for schools in central and south Leeds takes place at The Tetley, Leeds’ new centre for contemporary art, on 14 January 2016. In addition to being crowned The Tetley Years 10 & 11 School Debating Competition 2016 champions, the winners also get a place in the final of the Headingly Festival of Ideas competition in the summer - making that an all-Leeds final for the first time.

The work of an individual such as Paul Thomas, motivated by his enthusiasm for the competition and what it achieves, is an inspiration to us all. Not only can individuals support our work, they can develop new and exciting projects, inspired by Debating Matters, but taking things much further than the main competition would be able to.


If you are currently running a debate club or project inspired by Debating Matters, let us know!


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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