Are you the same as the International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD)?

​We are not! This year Cambridge are running it - please reach out to the ICYD convenor for any questions regarding ICYD.

How do I enter the competition?

Registration is now live, and can be found here. If you would like to be kept up to date about the opening of registrations, and other infomation about the competition, please join our mailing list.

How much does entry cost?

​Due to coronavirus pushing the regional rounds online, the standard entry fee for 2020/2021 is now £40 per team; the fee for schools designated as 'access priorities' is £20 per team. The payment deadline will be announced when registration opens and is payable by cheque or electronic transfer.

Which schools are eligible for the reduced 'Access Fee'?

The Access Fee will be charged to any school which is state-maintained and has a comprehensive intake. You can request the reduced fee through our registration form. 

This includes most non-fee-paying schools (including academies, free schools and sixth form colleges) provided that they are not academically selective (i.e. they are not grammar schools). We are doing this out of recognition that many schools that are interested in entering the competition are unable to enter due to financial limitations. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for the Access Fee, please contact us.

We'd like to participate but would need more of a discount than the Access Fee can provide, can you help?

We will always try and help schools that are new to debating or not otherwise able to participate, so if this applies please get in touch and we will see what we can do. We have a certain amount of bursary funding dedicated to this purpose. Resources are limited, however, and so circumstances such as these will be treated on a case-by-case basis. 

We have a bursary application form here that you can fill out; please ensure you have completed our registration form first.

How many students can each school enter?

Schools are limited to entering up to four teams each. Each team is made up of two students.


If, following the payment deadline, you would like to enter an additional team, feel free to get in touch as there may be additional spaces available. Any additional spaces will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.

When are regional rounds?​

Regional rounds will take place over the course of January and February 2021. Specific dates will be announced closer to the time, both online, and via email for all registered schools.

When is Finals Day?

Finals Day will be running on Saturday 13th March 2021.  More details will be posted as we get approach Finals Day.

What is the policy on printed/handwritten materials?

At regional rounds, only handwritten materials are allowed. This was made policy following a survey, and is intended to make the regional rounds as inclusive as possible. At Finals Day, both printed and written materials are permitted.

Is there an age limit for entry?

There is no official age limit for Oxford Schools'. However, the competition is generally aimed at students aged 14-18, and teams are generally in their last three or four years at school (years 10-13 in England and Wales). If you are considering entering a team who are both aged under 15, you might want to consider entering the International Competition for Young Debaters, which is run separately.

Do you publish a tab?

We do not publish a tab for regional rounds. The tab for Finals Day will be made available to all competing schools.

We've never done debating at our school? Should we get involved?

Absolutely! We're really keen for young people to enter the competition, irrespective of past experience. We will be running a series of workshops in the UK and Ireland, which we strongly recommend any schools who haven't entered before attend. Register your interest now.

We also offer resources for schools new to debating, which can be found here.


Is there any further training you can offer?

If you have any more queries about debating, please feel free to email us, and we will provide you with whatever additional resources we can. 

I'm setting up a debating society, can you help?

If you are interested in receiving some external workshops, or if you are a junior school, we recommend visiting the English-Speaking Union website at www.esu.org.uk or, if eligible, www.debatemate.com for information. 

We also run Teacher Workshops, which you can find out more about here.

I need to drop out, can I get a refund?

Once invoices have been sent out to registered schools, there will be a week in which to withdraw. After this period has expired, they are no longer refundable. Therefore, please check if you can make it to the published date of the regional round. If you would like us to try and place your school in another round, please email us and we will try our best to accommodate you.

If you think you merit a refund for the above reason, or for another, please contact us. Please also inform your regional convenor if you will not be attending your round, so the requisite arrangements can be made. Regional convenors cannot issue refunds.