Great Debate FAQs

The Great Debate 2020

Published: 4th October 2019

Below are some frequently asked questions about the Great Debate and the logistics of the heats.

As ever, if you need more information, you can get in touch with us directly at

How does the debate work?

Each student will have five minutes to deliver their argument in response to the year’s question. The judges may then ask a question or two for further information or clarity on certain points.

The students will not be debating with each other or asking each other questions.

How do I register onto a heat?

Find a suitable heat on the Find a local heat page, and then email to register.

How many students can I bring?

Each school usually puts forward one student for a local heat. If you have a number of interested candidates, we recommend holding an internal school heat of your own.

It is ultimately the decision of the local hosts as to final numbers, so if you are interested in sending more than one student, we recommend you discuss it with directly once you have registered onto their heat. Sixth form colleges in particular can usually send more than one student on request.

I have a keen and able student who is only 15 – can they take part?

Yes. We advise that the competition is aimed at students aged 16-18 in terms of expectations of knowledge and quality of argument, but if you have a student you believe can compete at that level, then by all means they can take part.

There is no local heat in my area, what do I do?

Please contact us at to discuss your options.

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