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Debating Matters Central Regional Final - 27th April

Leicester to host central battle of wits.

The Central Regional Final of the Institute of Ideas & Pfizer Debating Matters Competition will take place on Friday 27th April. Teams of sixth-form students from four schools from the area, all of whom were victorious in their qualifying rounds, will pit their wits against one another for the chance to be regional champions and to take part in the prestigious national final. They stand to win £1000 worth of Hodder Murray books as well as numerous individual prizes. The University of Leicester have provided great support for this competition as a regional sponsor and will host the event.

Debating Matters is like no other debating competition. Widely recognised as the toughest contest of its kind in the country, its innovative format is designed to stimulate a free-flowing discussion. The rival teams engage with each other directly in the argument. A prize for the best contribution from the floor encourages the audience to challenge the student debaters with questions. The teams also have to face a grilling from a panel of expert judges who actively participate in the debate. The students have to respond to their questions on the spot. The high pressure nature of the contest requires diligent preparation on the part of the young people and provides an opportunity for them to really challenge themselves. A student debater in the competition said: “We’re learning really key skills for our future… This competition gives you a chance to think and discuss both conscientiously and independently.”

This regional final will feature judges who are extremely eminent in their respective fields. Gary Day is the Principle Lecturer in English at De Montford University. He also writes for the Times Educational Supplement. Chris Jury is a writer and director. Dr. Sandrine Soubes is a researcher at the Centre for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield. As a science communicator she works to engage schools and the public in the discussion of scientific issues. Dr. Martin Halliwell is the Professor of American Studies at the University of Leicester. He has written many books, including ‘Images of Idiocy.’

Debating Matters always addresses issues that concern today’s thinkers and policy-makers. This regional final will include debates on ‘Physician assisted suicide should remain illegal,’ ‘America is dumbing down world culture’ and ‘We should get rid of ASBOs.’ Kathy Loizou, the director of the Showcomotion Young People’s Film Festival, will also be one of the judges. She said: “The Debating Matters Competition encourages young people to take on the important topics and forces students to think more deeply and broadly about key issues. More than anything, this challenges the view that young people are only interested in the superficial.”

Notes for editors
1. The Central Regional Final is taking place at the Management School, University of Leicester on Friday 27 April. It is sponsored by the University of Leicester.
2. The winning school receives £1000 worth of Hodder Murray books. The runner-up school wins £500 worth of Hodder Murray books. There are individual prizes for each team member.
3. Years 12 and 13 sixth form students take part (17-18 year olds) The schools taking part in the Central Regional Final are Notre Dame School School in Sheffield, Dukeries College in Nottinghamshire, King Edward VI Five Ways School from Birmingham and Jack Hunt School from Peterborough.
4. For details of the event programme, see:
5. For further information about the competition, go to For press passes to the Central Regional Final or to interview students, teachers, judges and other participants, please contact Helen Birtwistle on 020 7269 9232 (t) 07799 418 956 (m) or