Chester schoold debating competition

Youth Speaks – a Debate

During January 2024 our club held heats of the national Rotary debating competition, Youth Speaks – a Debate. This competition gives young people valuable experience in debating and public speaking.

Aims of the competition

This competition aims to offer young people:

  • experience in speaking on a public platform as a member of a team
  • an incentive to formulate ideas on topical subjects
  • discipline in dealing with a topic in a limited time
  • the opportunity of learning and practising high standards of expression, presentation and appearance
  • impartial feedback and assessment of performance by experienced adjudicators

Chester schools debating competition 2024

Teams are drawn from senior schools in our City, in intermediate and senior categories. Each team has three members – chairperson, proposer and opposer – who have 15 minutes to debate a subject of the team’s choice.
There were two age groups: intermediate for those aged 11-13, and senior for 14-17-year-olds. Each team of three was made up of a chair who opened and summarised the debate, a proposer who spoke in favour of a motion, and an opposer who spoke against it.  In addition, the teams fielded a question from the audience, requiring them to have a knowledge of their subject and an ability to construct an answer and justify their position.

Intermediate debate – Chester Town Hall

This year we held the intermediate debate in the historic setting of Chester Town Hall, in a room resplendent with the names of 600 years worth of sheriffs, mayors and other dignatories.

In this setting, 3 schools (The King’s School, Upton-by-Chester High School and Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England School) entered teams, and received feedback on their performance from our judges – a retired teacher and two members of Chester Speaking Club.

Subjects that were debated included:

  • The UK should welcome migrants crossing the channel
  • Fast food/ unhealthy food should be banned in schools
  • School Uniforms are Outdated and Unnecessary
  • Zoos Should Not Exist

Seniors debate – University of Chester

The Senior Debate was again held at the University of Chester Department of Social and Political Science, between Blacon High School and Upton-by-Chester High School.  Our judging panel included a lecturer from the University Social and Political Sciences Department, and a local psychology coach.
The subjects were:

  • Should vapes be allowed in schools?
  • Obesity in children is a form of child abuse



Students gave excellent consideration to all of these subjects, exploring the pros and cons and presented their arguments in a polished and professional manner.

Upton-by-Chester High School teams will be representing our City at the District heat next month.

If your school or organisation would like to take part in a future competition, please email



Images from the Chester Schools Debating Competition 2024

Join Rotary Chester