The Great Debate Final 2022

The HA's public-speaking competition for students aged 16-19

Published: 29th March 2022

The Great Debate Final and Winners 2022

After a year away due to Covid the Great Debate was back this year. And crikey was it back with force! All those young people who have had their movements and interactions restricted over the last couple of years have evidently been at home honing their speaking and analytical skills, ready for an opportunity to express their carefully researched views.

Following months of heats held across the country the final was held on 26 March 2022 at the Vicars' Hall, Windsor Castle. As 2022 is the 70th anniversary of our patron HM the Queen’s reign the question for young people to address was:

“The 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II has seen global and widespread changes including in: societal infrastructure, industry, rural life, the environment and ideas. Which changes of the last 70 years have affected your local area the most?”

Over the course of a day the judges and the audience listened to 23 talks by the finalists covering important issues such as: immigration, gentrification, language, the environment, second home ownership, the changes in employment from industrial to IT and ethnic diversity.

You can watch all the finalists' speeches here 

The facts are – our young people in the UK are very well informed and passionate about where they live and the wider world around them. It was a wonderful reminder that young people across the nations are aware of history and understand how that is connected to the world around them.

The judges, Professor Peter Mandler (HA President), Dr Katharine Burn (HA Deputy President) and Tim Knox (Director of the Royal Collection), had the difficult task of deciding upon the winners, something very few others in the room would have wanted to do.

After much deliberation they settled on:

  • Winner: Kit Renshaw, Cornwall
  • 1st runner up: Aniya Pramanik, London
  • 2nd runner up: Grace Johnson, Buckinghamshire
  • 3rd runner up: Shruti Chakraborty, Leicester
  • Highly commended: Isobel Brewer, Sheffield
  • Highly commended: Louis Afford Lessof, Bristol 

We would like to thank our partner History Extra for supporting the competition and the staff at Windsor Castle for making the day really special for all those that attended.

The Great Debate 2022-23

The Great Debate is a public speaking competition where students have five minutes to present their speech arguing their answer to the question. 

The competition for the next academic year will start in the autumn term of 2022 and the question being asked is: Why does history matter to me?

The Great Debate is divided into regional heats that take place across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in the autumn, culminating in a Grand Final. The competition is an ideal opportunity for students to gain valuable experience in speaking to an audience and developing their debating skills, confidence and self-esteem. 

The winner and runners-up of the competition will receive a cash prize, and their school will win prizes from our sponsors. All finalists will also receive free student membership of the Historical Association. 

If you have any questions take a look at our FAQs or email

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