The UK has one of the lowest rates of social mobility amongst OECD countries. This means that children growing up in poverty are less likely to achieve in school, to attend university, and to find productive employment as adults.
By the age of seven, children who are eligible for Free School Meals are more than twice as likely as their better-off peers to be behind on expected reading levels. Over 60 percent of these children will fail to achieve five good GCSEs, which significantly increases their chances of becoming unemployed upon leaving school.
Debate Mate aims to tackle educational disadvantage in some of Britain’s most deprived communities. It does this by recruiting and training university students to run extra-curricular debate workshops in schools with an above average percentage of children eligible for Free School Meals. Our programmes increase speaking and listening attainment and improve a range of higher-order thinking skills and non-cognitive abilities such as confidence, teamwork, and leadership.In doing so, our programmes address the widening skills gap between education and employment, whilst raising aspirations and helping students to make informed post-18 choices.
We believe that every child deserves equal access to a top education. Debate Mate supports the young people of today to find their voices, so that they can become the leaders of tomorrow.