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Primary Debating

This project has been running since 2009 and involves up to 50 pupils in Y6 from 12 local primary schools. Primary Debating commences annually after October half term and runs until the Easter holidays. The course involves the same Y6 pupils throughout and is taught exclusively by Latymer Upper School (LUS) lower sixth students. The course culminates in an inter-school ‘Grand Debating Competition’ at the end of the spring term when a cup is presented to the winners. Staff from the primary schools are invited to accompany the pupils to learn how to coach debating skills in their own schools. Almost all schools return year after year.


Four Y6 pupils from each school form a team, and are taught key skills for debating. Each lesson is focussed on preparing pupils for a final ‘Grand Debating Competition’ where they compete for a trophy prize. Parents of participating pupils are invited to attend the grand final.  (Sadly we could not host this in 2020).  The final is held on the penultimate Tuesday of spring term, making this one of our longest initiatives.

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.


This project has been running since 2009 when it was launched by Mr White, our Head of History. 


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.


Impact is evaluated yearly through feedback surveys to students and staff. Please see our Impact Schools Together page for full qualitative and quantitative results.


"The Primary Debating has resulted in the children having more confidence and self-awareness, especially when participating in lesson discussions." 

Vicky Turner, Queen's Manor Primary School.  


"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."

Phoebe du Parcq, Head, Queen's Manor Primary School