Core programme

Programme Aims

  • Improve Speaking and Listening attainment of students in years 5 to 10
  • Develop soft skills such as leadership, teamwork and confidence
  • Raise pupils’ aspirations and expectations through sustained contact with successful university students
  • Engage young people with the world beyond the classroom, addressing issues that affect them, their communities and the wider world through an activity they enjoy

Programme Delivery

  • The Core Programme is offered exclusively to non-selective state schools in areas of high child poverty and is comprised of 16 weeks of after-school debate workshops and competitions.
  • The programme is delivered by students from the best universities, many of whom are successful competitive debaters.
  • The initial five weeks of debate exercises are designed to improve speaking, listening and critical thinking skills. The remaining eleven weeks are dedicated to formal debates on different topics with ‘themed’ weeks improving specific skill sets.
  • Two weeks are set aside for local competitions as part of the Urban Debate League. The programme culminates in a one-day regional competition at a prestigious university – The Debate Mate Cup.


  • Impact: Year-on-year evaluations show that one hour a week in a Debate Mate club triples a students’ progress in Speaking and Listening over the course of the programme.
  • Scale: We run clubs in over 240 schools across London, the West Midlands, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. To do this we employ over 350 of the best graduates from top UK universities to act as peer-to-peer mentors.

To sign up for our Core Programme please email or call 02079228007 for more information.

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Contact us

Can Mezzanine
32-36 Loman Street
London SE1 0EH

020 7922 8007