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An Inter-Schools debate and dinner held at Oxford University, for Year 7 & 8 Pupils

A collaboration between New College School, (NCS), Cheney School, Oxford Spires Academy (OSA)and Oxford University which culminated in an Inter-Schools Debate for pupils in year 7&8 and dinner at New College, Oxford.


To raise the profile of debating at NCS

To create links with New College School, Cheney School, and Oxford Spires in order to share good practice and enrich the education of all involved.

To bring together the resources of primary, secondary and higher education in a joint project to widen the perspective of pupils involved in terms of their roles in the community and the wider world and aspirations.

To provide an opportunity for younger pupils to take part in a formal debate and share their ideas and views with their peers.

To improve confidence of pupils through public speaking and a social event.

To start to create working and social relationships with those involved.


The Director of Educational Partnerships (DEP) identified the opportunity to link with Cheney School after an initial meeting with the Head of the University Outreach Team, on the suggestion of the Head, as they had already formed links through their Step-Up Programme directed at Years 10,11 and 12. Previous research by the DEP showed that Cheney was already heavily involved in debating which was led by the given contact.  She created a proposal suggesting various opportunities including debating. Once the format had been agreed: Two debates for teams of 8 in Years 7&8, one seen and one unseen to be held in New College rooms, Undergraduates to judge, and dinner in college afterwards for all,  14 November 4-7 pm, OSA were invited to join too.


Lead Teachers in all three schools to coordinate the event. July-November

DEP to liaise with University and partner schools – July- November – Two Face to Face Meetings

New College to provide three rooms and dinner in college at their cost.

New College top source three volunteer Ugs to judge and guide the pupils through the debates.

The NCS Admin staff and DEP to source and fund a Debate Cup, and certificates - £150

Use of Admin staff at NCS to assist DEP with parental consents, dietary information, certificates, posters etc.-  approx. 2 hrs

DEP to arrange risk assessments, logistics on the day and accompanying adults.

The Head and DEP to attend the lunchtime debating club to choose the final 8 for the team – approx. 1hr

Use of Two activity slots for DEP to coach selected 8 boys – approx. two hours.


A short online questionnaire was sent to all pupils for feedback.

How likely is it that you would recommend this event to a friend?

92% likely or very likely

Overall how would you rate this event?

100% Met or exceeded expectations

Did you enjoy meeting new children who enjoy debating?

93% Yes

What changes did you notice in your levels of confidence at the end of the event?

Better or Much Better 72%

About the same 29%

What did you learn at the event?

To have confidence to keep going with something even if you are scared for a moment and you don’t want to participate and want to back out of it as it will always turn out well in the end and was really good fun!

How to speak publicly to strangers.

How to be confident and that trying new things is a good idea.

How to debate and public speak.

How to use POIs and summarise effectively.

How everyone feels pressurised at the beginning but no-one knows what you are going to say so they will not notice if you miss out a point.

What would you do to improve the event next time?

More diversity.

More mixed teams both ages and sexes.

More schools.

How well did you thing the event was organised?

100 % agree or strongly agree.

Pupil Involvement

Year 8 pupils – All 17 in the run up and then 9 at the event

Girls and boys


This was the first debate but the intention is for it to be annual.