Debate League, supported by Baillie Gifford, trains passionate and experienced university student mentors to run a programme of debating clubs in under-resourced schools. 

Debate League helps to prepare the young people to speak out, engage in discussion, confidently deliver their point of view on a topic, listen to what others have to say, and give their opinion without fear of what someone will say. The coaches were brilliant.


Teacher, Whitehill Secondary School.


Debate League, supported by Baillie Gifford, trains passionate and experienced university students to run debating clubs in under-resourced schools, offering offer pupils the benefits and skills that debating provides, and improving their opportunities in life.

Debating is now widely recognised as an invaluable catalyst for the growth of key skills and attributes among pupils of all abilities. For many children within these schools, Debate League provides their first and only opportunity to find their own authentic voice in a supportive academic context. We provide a nurturing environment that effectively incubates the confidence and presentation skills of these children, skills which are now overwhelmingly recognised as the key contributors to their possible future success.


The 14-week programme culminates in a competition where pupils join other Debate League schools to put into practice their new knowledge and skills. As well as teaching debating, the student mentors also offer, according to a participating teacher, a different kind of experience for the kids here and give them an idea of what university could be like and that debating is for people from all walks of life.


We target schools and pupils in areas of high deprivation, who would not otherwise have access to this activity, and provide a fun and supportive learning environment. The transferable long-term skills that pupils gain have been proven to boost exam performance, day-to-day confidence and future employability.

Debate League is generously supported by Baillie Gifford.



We are currently reviewing our Debate League Programme and are not currently accepting any new applications from mentors or schools.

However, if you would like to register your interest for future programmes, please contact

Norton Park, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY  0131 475 2332 

Scottish charity number: SC000653


© 2019 by ESU Scotland