Changing lives. Creating generations of confident thinkers. Leading the thought revolution in the face of mass automation.

Joseph O'Toole

Joseph O'Toole

This project is also looking for cash in return for rewards


Raised of £7,750 target

Welcome to Debate Mate!

Debate Mate is changing the world via our unique after-school debating programmes. We are a global social business who have worked with over 100,000 people, transforming young people and businesses by teaching them the skills of communication, critical thinking, leadership, strategic teamwork and confidence.

Debate Mate has three distinct, but complementary, parts:

  • Our Core Programme, Debate Mate Schools, operates in schools in areas of high child poverty across the world. Our specially designed curricula reach 6,000 students across the world every week. They empower students who are left behind by the traditional school system to find their voice.
  • Our bespoke corporate training programmes, Debate Mate Limited, have been delivered for clients including the Premier League, giffgaff, The Ritz, the Financial Times, Deloitte, Slaughter and May, Dorchester Collection, Hilton Worldwide, Hiscox, Credit Suisse, and the BBC. These take the core programme framework and apply them to the corporate world. All profits from Debate Mate Limited are used to directly fund our schools programmes.
  • Our new virtual platform, Debate Mate Online, will give millions of people across the world access to our successful teacher, student and corporate training programmes. With extensive lesson plans, video tutorials and an instant chat function, Debate Mate Online will allow individuals everywhere to develop and teach key 21st Century skills.

As automation gathers pace and the workplace changes, people everywhere are worried and don’t know what to do…but we do. Debate Mate teaches people from all walks of life the skills that allow them to create, shape, and lead the future. It’s deeply unfair that only a privileged few currently get access to these skills. With your support, we will be able to give them to everyone, everywhere.


The Beginning: Debate Mate Schools

Now entering its 10th year, Debate Mate started life as a not-for-profit with the aim of improving social mobility. We employ top university students and world champion debaters to set up and run weekly after-school debating clubs in areas of high child poverty. Starting with the traditional British Parliamentary debating framework, we have made it cool and relevant, adding some Debate Mate magic so that it’s accessible to all.

Our mentors are trained to deliver the Debate Mate curriculum. This is specifically designed and proven to develop key employability skills – critical and creative thinking, strategic teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and leadership – as well as improving resilience, empathy, confidence and happiness.

Debate Mate Schools is still at the core of what we do. Presently, we reach over 6,000 students every week in the UK. Check out the launch of the 2017 Debate Mate Schools Programme here and read about the fantastic results our programmes produce in our 2016/17 Social Impact Report here.

Debate Mate Schools has partnered with Bill Gates, Goldman Sachs, Google, Tencent, The Yidan Prize Foundation, The Economist, Save the Children and others to design and deliver a broad range of programmes with debating at their core. We have been supported by Teach First, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ofsted, the Oxford Union, and Harvard Business School, amongst others. As a result of our success teaching traditional academic subjects through our unique methodology, we were approved by the Department for Education to open a secondary school in Hackney Wick.


The Next Stage: Debate Mate as a Social Business

Three years ago, we founded the commercial arm of our organisation, Debate Mate Limited (DML). Once our corporate funders saw our Core Programme in action, they were soon asking us to come in and train their employees too!

DML delivers corporate communication and training and engagement events for businesses across the world. Working with professionals from FTSE100 CEOs to apprentices, our training makes people happier, better at their job, and ultimately, more profitable. This supercharges individual performance, corporate well-being, and the bottom line. 

We have worked extensively in the financial services, media, hospitality, and creative industries, using our interactive programmes to support companies in improving their staff’s performance. Our programmes are both highly effective, and cost­-effective. They improve well-being and develop individuals who are better skilled, happier, more confident, and ultimately guaranteed to be better at their jobs. 

All profits from the commercial work of Debate Mate Limited are reinvested in the charity – allowing it to reach even more students each year. In addition, Debate Mate alumni are employed by both the charitable and commercial arms of the business – real social mobility and sustainability in action! We understand that business has a unique opportunity to shape society in the new world of work. We aim to be the gold standard of sustainable social business. 

See here what people say about Debate Mate Limited.

Expanding our Reach: Debate Mate Online

Building on the success of our face-to-face programmes, we launched Debate Mate Online – an interactive online platform to give teachers, students and professionals access to our resources, training and expertise.  

The platform is being developed in four phases – and will provide teachers, students and professionals with access to our interactive digital resources globally, translated into dozens of languages and adapted to localised needs. This will enable individuals to use the Debate Mate methodology both in and out of the classroom wherever they are. Our training is proven to change the game. It will go directly to schools across the world. 

As the founder of Debate Mate’s cutting edge Online Platform, Debate Mate’s CEO, barrister Margaret McCabe, has been nominated by the UCL Institute of Education for the Yidan Prize for Education Development (the so-called ‘Nobel Prize for Education’).

The Future?

Debate Mate offers individuals and organisations an answer to the rise of automation. We know that there is no need to fear. By teaching key 21st Century skills, we equip the future workforce with the invaluable skills of communication, critical thinking, leadership, strategic team work and confidence. To continue to reach more individuals every week, we need to continue to expand Debate Mate Schools and Debate Mate Limited.

Debate Mate Schools, with a minimum annual budget of £1.4million, requires stable financial support to continue. We want our rapidly growing corporate training programmes to do this, but in order to keep up with demand we need investment, advice, and support.

Having successfully been selected to take part in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses mentorship programme, we are ready to build on what we’ve learnt and grow to the next stage. We have attracted interest from Bloomberg and we are looking for partnerships with forward-thinking organisations to help us achieve our goals. 

We are currently raising investment from like-minded partners for Debate Mate Online with the support of the UCL Institute of Education, to respond to the demand for the skills we teach in the global private education market, estimated to be worth billions of pounds. In turn, the skills and profits from this market will be reinvested into areas in the most undeveloped parts of the world where the need for education is at a premium.

Come and join the revolution. 



“As the world gets smaller, but the challenges get bigger, the capacities that Debate Mate teaches will be invaluable in preparing for and shaping the changing nature of work. The impact of Margaret’s online initiative goes beyond the individual. The skills that the programme teaches will create generations of confident, happy, fulfilled citizens, equipped with the skills to contribute to the world around them. This impact is bigger than the sum of its parts and can have a truly transformational effect. Moreover, in a world that is unfortunately becoming more fractured, the ability to empathise with others and engage in constructive dialogue, will no doubt contribute to creating a peaceful future.”

Professor R. Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at UCL Knowledge Lab, Yidan Prize Nomination 2017

“The work you do is amazing.”

Bill Gates, Royal Institution of Great Britain, April 2017

“Debate Mate is a wonderful organisation which inspires children… their debating groups and training programmes are first class.”

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Ofsted

 “Debate Mate taught me that I’m part of something bigger, and that you’re not tied into where you come from or what you do.”

D’Angelo, ex- gang member and Debate Mate student, London, August 2011

 “These debating sessions are fast becoming new generation communication training. It’s unbelievably effective, teaching active listening, body language, courtesy, thinking on your feet, communication, negotiation and self-confidence – all wrapped up in one and fun too.”

David Sheepshanks – Founding Chairman – FA National Football Centre

"The Debate Mate training workshops are incredibly successful. 3,000 of our professionals, from Assistant Managers up to Directors, learnt real-life business skills that have undoubtedly added value to their personal skill-set and to the firm. They enjoyed it so much that the vast majority of the participants said they’d recommend it to colleagues and are still enthusing about it – many months later. Processing complex information quickly on your feet and influencing with confidence are invaluable in today’s corporate world."

David Noon, Senior Audit Partner, Deloitte