Previous Great Debates

Some of the finals and films from previous years' Great Debate competitions - the HA's annual public-speaking competition for students aged 16-19 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

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  • The Great Debate 2020 – The final!

    4th December 2020

    And the winner is: Thomas Locke Portsmouth Grammar School Runner up: James Lester The Judd School Honourable mentions: Eleanor Clark Exeter School Meg Wishart Broxburn Academy This year the final was a little different but just as fantastic as previous years. With all the teenage finalists presenting a range of...

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  • The Great Debate 2020: speeches

    Multipage Article

    Many things have been different this year – especially things that involve people coming together physically in one setting. That was certainly the case for our Great Debate competition. Fortunately, all of the regional heats had taken place across the UK before the first lockdown came into effect last spring,...

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  • Great new sponsor for the Great Debate

    1st October 2019

    We are pleased to announce that BBC History magazine and BBC World Histories have teamed up with the Historical Association to sponsor the Great Debate – one of the country’s leading speaking competitions for 15 to 18 year olds. The Historical Association has been running the Great Debate for over...

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  • The Great Debate 2019: speeches

    Multipage Article

    On Saturday 30 March 2019, a bright spring day, 21 students gathered at Windsor Castle for the Historical Association Great Debate final. The 21 finalists had already successfully won their local heats from across the UK and now they stood in the historic vaulted Vicar’s Hall, St George’s House, a stone's throw...

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  • The Great Debate 2018

    14th March 2018

    On 10 March 2018 sixth-form students from across the country gathered in the Palace of Westminster. They were the 23 winners of regional heats for the 2018 Great Debate. To get to the final they had presented an argument on the question: Was the 1918 extension of the franchise the...

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  • The Great Debate 2017: speeches

    Multipage Article

    The final of the Great Debate 2016/17 took place on Saturday 11 March 2017 at the Imperial War Museum, London. There were 20 finalists (one via video link) aged between 16 and 19 from our heats that took place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Each student had...

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  • The Great Debate 2015 Winner

    Multipage Article

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  • What is the Great Debate?

    Multipage Article

    In this short film from 2015 Heather Scott (former Deputy President of the HA and compere of our Great Debate Finals) & Martin Spafford (Judge from our London Heats) introduce the Great Debate, talk about why students should get involved and discuss what they enjoy about the Great Debate.

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  • The Great Debate: Advice for Students

    Multipage Article

    In this short film from 2015 Heather Scott (former Deputy President of the HA and compere of our Great Debate Finals) & Martin Spafford (Judge from our London Heats) provide advice for prospective students who might want to take part in the Great Debate. Martin and Heather also explain what...

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  • The Great Debate Final 2015

    Multipage Article

    The final of the Great Debate 2015 took place on Saturday 14th March 2015 at Royal Holloway, University of London. There were 18 finalists (aged between 16 and 19) from our heats that took place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Each student had five minutes to present their...

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  • The Great Debate: the 2012 Winner

    Multipage Article

    In this short film Arianna Azari (Winner of our 2012 Great Debate competition) discusses why she took part in the Great Debate, what she got out of it, and gives her top tips for Public Speaking.

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  • The Great Debate 2012 Final

    Multipage Article

    The final of the Great Debate 2012 took place on Saturday 10th March at Merton College, Oxford. There were 24 finalists (aged between 16 and 19) from our heats that took place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Each student had five minutes to present their case on 'why does...

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  • Advice on Public Speaking

    Article

    At the Taunton/South West England heat of the Great Debate the head judge, Marcus Paul (Deputy Head of Queens College, Taunton), gave some valuable tips on public speaking. If you are interested in public speaking or want to take part in our next Great Debate competition this podcast will prove...

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  • The Great Debate 2010 Final

    Multipage Article

    The final of the Great Debate 2010 took place on Saturday 13th March at Clare College, Cambridge. There were 19 finalists (aged between 16 and 19) from our heats that took place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Each student had five minutes to present their case on...

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