ESB believes that debating is an essential life skill and an aid to develop employability skills such as critical thinking, teamwork and leadership. Our suite of debating qualifications help learners to build and deliver arguments, manage timing, and signpost and link work.


Our debating qualifications require teams to prepare a debate on an agreed motion (of the learners’ own choice) and each member of the team has 4 minutes to build and deliver arguments that support or oppose the motion. Each member should also reply (rebut) or respond (point of information) to arguments from the other team.

Learners are assessed in four skills areas:


debate a motion (own choice), demonstrating evidence of research and understanding


show effective communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal)


structure work efficiently, using effective introductions and conclusions, linking and summarising

Listening & Responding

demonstrate listening skills and teamwork, using rebuttal, counter rebuttals and points of information where appropriate


On the day, learners will participate in their debate in two teams of 4 – the proposition and the opposition. Each speaker will undertake a specific role in their team, including presenting and signposting arguments, offering rebuttals and summarising.  The assessment process works most effectively with a small group as the audience, rather than the whole class.

Our assessor provides general oral feedback to the group at the end of the assessment. The ESB assessor also provides a specific written report for each candidate on each aspect of the assessment, with guidance where needed for future progress. These reports are returned to the centre following assessment.


The ESB Awards in Debating allow learners to:

  • Work as part of a team
  • Build a comprehensive argument and structure a speech
  • Demonstrate evidence of research
  • Develop time-management skills
  • Feel confident when responding to differences of opinion
  • Signpost and link their ideas
  • Use verbal and non-verbal communication to enhance their speaking and listening skills
  • Listen actively and supportively