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Primary Debating

Primary Debating is a fun and stimulating debate programme which teaches Year 6 students skills in critical thinking and public speaking. It has run at Latymer since 2009, and takes place from after October half term until a Grand Finale before the Easter holidays, where a cup is presented to the winning team.

Run and coached primarily by Latymer Year 12 students, Primary Debating gives our sixth formers experience they love, while the participating students consistently feed back that getting to learn from our students is one of their favourite parts of the programme.


Four Y6 pupils from each school form a team, and are taught key skills for debating. 

The founding aims were to increase engagement with complex current issues; encourage critical thinking; provide a context for social mixing and new friendships; and support confidence in stretching your comfort zone. 

Participating students come from invited local state schools, who are encouraged to select students who would benefit and particularly who are eligible for Pupil Premium.


Primary Debating is run on-site at Latymer Upper School, on Thursdays from 4.10-5pm.

The course involves the same Y6 pupils throughout and is taught exclusively by 8-10 Latymer Upper School  Lower Sixth students, who volunteer as coaches for a total of around 14 hours each. The programme is overseen by Mr White, Head of History, who volunteers his time and who originally founded the programme.


Impact is evaluated yearly through feedback surveys to students and staff. Survey questions address the impact of our aims for the programme, and for our programmes as a whole. 

89% of participating students completed the survey, of whom:

97% said they'd had fun and enjoyed themselves

88% said they had made new friends

100% agreed that they had learned new things about debate and public speaking

-  94% said they used these new skills in other settings

97% said they now felt more confident with critical thinking and public speaking

"The extremely kind 6 formers were very supportive."

"I like how there’s lots of different debates and how they make it so fun"

"The children who are participating are all showing greater confidence and self-esteem.... We are keen to put children forward for these projects who would otherwise not have such an opportunity; the children are very positive and have a sense of ownership of what they are doing. They show commitment to the projects and see themselves as successful members of a team."

Head, Queen's Manor Primary School