Courses for 15-18 year olds

Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy

Your chance to develop your confidence as a speaker, be taught by the very best and spend your summer on the famous Oxford University campus.

The Best Courses

Be inspired by speaking – hands-on classes and interactive challenges. Maximum of 15 students per class.

The Best People

Be taught by the best – world class tutors from universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. 

Your Future Success

Be awarded a graduation certificate at our Graduation at the Saïd Business School, and a written report from your tutor.

Get the Oxford Experience

Study on the historic Oxford University campus and experience Oxford’s magic.

Experience Debate & Public Speaking students at the Oxford Union
Experience Debate & Public Speaking students aged 15-18 years old
Experience Debate & Public Speaking students aged 15-18 years old

Debate & Public Speaking

What to Expect

Imagine developing your public speaking and debating skills on the historic campus of Oxford University. Each year, Oxford hosts some of the world’s most famous and influential speakers at the prestigious Oxford Union. Our Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy is your chance to join them.

The course will give you the opportunity to develop your confidence. You’ll enhance your knowledge of current affairs, learn how to persuade your audience, discover how to make an effective argument, and understand how to think critically.

You’ll leave us with the vital skills of public speaking and developing winning arguments, clarity about your future and with a community of friends from all over the world. You’ll achieve all of this while studying and socialising in the beautiful city of Oxford, experiencing the very best of what Oxford has to offer.

Oxford has hosted many of the world’s greatest speakers – from Presidents to Prime Ministers, activists to celebrities. Spend your summer with us and give yourself the chance to let Oxford’s magic enhance your speaking skills too.

Click to find out if this is the right course for you

The Best Courses

On our Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy you will cover a range of engaging and challenging topics across nine classroom sessions, including:

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Introduction to Debate & Public Speaking

What speaking techniques are most effective? Explore techniques used by renowned public speakers to captivate their audience
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Critical Thinking

Explore key features of critical thinking by looking through a range of real-life speech excerpts to help you logically defend your argument

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British Parliamentary Debating

What is British Parliamentary (BP) Debating? We’ll discuss the rules, styles and strategies of this format of debate and you’ll be able to give it a go yourself

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Rebuttal

What makes an effective rebuttal? Explore examples of rebuttal used in a range of real-life speeches and master how to effectively deconstruct opposing arguments

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Politics and International Relations

What’s the role of the UN in international crises? Discover how the political system of democracy works and explore the roles of bodies in relation to conflicts

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Schools Mace Debating

What’s the difference between BP and Schools Mace debating? We’ll outline the difference in rules and styles between the two, and you’ll give Schools Mace debating a try

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Economics and the Law

Discover the role of global trade organisations and also explore the ethics of human rights legislation

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Balloon Debating

Can you persuade others not to throw you out of the sinking hot-air balloon? Pit your wits against your classmates as you take on the role of famous historical figures and justify your worth

Class X

Class X

Your final class is called “Class X”, and will be based on your tutor’s personal expertise, focusing on cutting-edge research in their field that they are really passionate about.

The Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy is perfect for 15-18 year olds interested in developing their speaking and critical thinking skills. These skills can help you in whichever academic and career path you decide to go down in the future – universities, colleges and employers greatly value the ability to communicate articulately. You’ll also become more familiar with current affairs and what’s going on in today’s fast-paced, global world.

Fees and Dates

Gargoyle in Oxford

Our Experience Debate & Public Speaking Learning Philosophy

During your time on the programme you will Learn the subject, See it in action and Do it yourself through an exciting Challenge:

Learn

Learn like you’ve never learnt at school before. Discover the key concepts, history and theory behind debate and public speaking in a hands-on, interactive way. You’ll take part in small, dynamic classes led by our brilliant tutors who are subject experts from world-class institutions.

Do

On your “Challenge” you’ll put all the theory you’ve learned into practice and apply your knowledge to a real life problem. It’s not the only practical activity you’ll do on your course – the course is full of opportunities to apply your skills – but for many of our students, it’s their highlight!

During our Model United Nations Challenge you’ll be given the chance to put your critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills to the test on this fast-paced day. You will work with the Experience International Relations, Politics & Leadership Academy students in a simulation UN Security Council. You’ll have the chance to demonstrate your newly refined debating skills and international relations knowledge as you feel the adrenaline rush of trying to get a favourable resolution for your country against the clock. You’ll present and debate critical worldwide issues with other diplomats who have conflicting interests, and develop solutions that gain consensus despite an unexpected crisis situation.

See

You’ll meet our “Heroes”, young professionals who have gone on to build a successful career related to public speaking. Discover what steps they took to realise their potential, and how you can too.

Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy course for 15-18 year olds
Graduation at the Oxford Scholastica Academy
Graduation at the Oxford Scholastica Academy
Group of girls at Oxford Scholastica
Students at the Oxford Union

Course Outcomes

What You’ll Experience

On our Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy you will: 

  • Benefit from expert tuition from our tutors from leading universities such as Oxford and Cambridge
  • Master a range of topics related to public speaking including different debating styles, analysis and rebuttal and learning how these techniques are used in real-world case studies
  • Develop important skills in demand by universities and employers such as public speaking, critical thinking and teamwork, via our Masterclass series
  • Meet a successful professional who uses the art of effective public speaking in their working life and learn their lessons of success
  • Work in a team in our Model United Nations Challenge, where you’ll find yourself in the role of a diplomat in a simulation UN Security Council
  • Build your global professional network by meeting students from all over the world and joining our alumni community
  • Graduate at our Graduation Ceremony held at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School
  • Gain clarity on your future direction – we have a proven track record of successfully preparing thousands of students for future success. Our students leave us equipped with subject knowledge which puts them ahead of their peers

The Best People

On the Experience Debate & Public Speaking Academy you’ll be taught by the best tutors, supported by the best staff and meet the best students.

The Best Tutors

We select world class tutors who are passionate, inspirational and love teaching young talent. Our faculty are the best: academically outstanding role models from leading universities who are at the cutting edge of research in their fields.

The Best Students

Oxford Scholastica students are special. They are keen to gain experiences, interested in learning, and want to make the most of their summer. Join students from nearly 100 different countries this summer in the most memorable summer of your life.

The Best Staff

You’ll be mentored by our bright undergraduate team who are students at Universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, who love to share their experiences of university life. Our leadership team have run summer schools for many years, while our Matrons are skilled and experienced in looking after young people.

Meet our Experience Debate & Public Speaking Tutor and Hero

Simran tutoring at the Oxford Scholastica Academy

Simranjit Kamal LLB Hons

Simran is a seasoned debater who completed her Law studies at the University of Birmingham, where she developed her public speaking skills and took part in many legal style debates (“moots”). Simran was a member of the Oxfordshire Youth Parliament for four years, and she has undergone mini-pupillages with a number of legal firms. In her classes students can expect interactive learning, whether this is through group work or through the use of educational games.

Please note, our Tutors & Heroes are subject to change.

Tom, Hero at the Oxford Scholastica Academy

Tom Corby

You’ll have the opportunity to meet our Hero, Tom, who works as a Lawyer where he regularly engages in debate and public speaking. Tom studied Modern History at New College, Oxford University, where he was a Scholar. He is now a barrister practicing at 20 Essex Street. He specialises in commercial law which includes shipping, international sale of goods, conflicts of law and banking, and has acted for and against a variety of parties, including the Kingdom of Spain, a major Eastern European drinks brand, and an England cricketer.
Map of countries students come from

Meet Students from Around the World

This past summer, students from 85 different nationalities chose to experience our summer school:

out of 10 students said our courses were one of the most memorable summers of their life

out of 10 students said that our courses gave them greater certainty about their future direction

out of 10 parents said they would recommend our courses to other parents

Experience Debate & Public Speaking Testimonials

Oxford Scholastica made me not only a better public speaker, but a better human being. I gained an affinity for not only what I signed up for, which was public speech and debate, but for navigating life in general. It helped me learn how to make decisions for myself, and was a great experience.
Tommy Wimmer

USA

It just surpassed our expectations in every way – pre-attendance organisation, facilities, high level of the programme, challenging course, interesting and diverse attendees from all around the world, dedicated creative teachers, great balance of time working and time for personal endeavors and friend making, supportive staff, teamwork oriented, family-like atmosphere, caring and nurturing environment, academically and personally challenging, true college campus experience…in short, just exceeded all expectations.
Bill & Tanya Mateo

Russia, Parents of Paulina

I have taught with Oxford Scholastica for a number of years and am consistently impressed by the excellent experience students are offered. As both a former teacher and university admissions advisor at a leading UK school, I can say with confidence that OSA students are offered an invaluable opportunity to explore what really interests them, and prepare for their path to university. It really does give students an advantage.

Jo Cruse

Tutor, and former teacher at leading UK school

Your Future Success

Rooted in Oxford’s spirit of academic excellence, OSA’s courses will enable you to master your subject, gain clarity on your future and prepare for a changing world

Certificate

Each student who successfully completes the course will receive an official Oxford Scholastica Academy graduation certificate at our Graduation Ceremony held at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School

Report

You will receive a written report after the summer school, containing feedback on your performance in the classes as well as practical advice on how to continue exploring the subject.

Our Network

Gain membership of our global alumni community of over 2000 students from over 100 countries.

OSA Foundation

You’ll have the opportunity to apply for funding from the OSA Foundation for charitable projects you set up, or for causes you support or volunteer for.

Graduation Certificate

Each student who successfully completes the course will receive an official Oxford Scholastica Academy graduation certificate at our Graduation Ceremony held at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School

Tutor Report

You will receive a written report after the summer school, containing feedback on your performance in the classes as well as practical advice on how to continue exploring the subject.

Be Part of Our Network

Gain membership to our global alumni community of over 2000 students from over 100 countries.

OSA Foundation

You’ll have the opportunity to apply for funding from the OSA Foundation for any charitable projects set up, support or volunteer for.

Get the Oxford Experience

The Oxford Experience

Oxford is a world famous centre of academic excellence, and Oxford’s tradition of excellence underpins our summer school. Whether it’s the city’s academic prowess, cultural delights like punting on the river, or rich history that appeals to you, Oxford is a place unlike any other. The Oxford experience truly is extraordinary.

Join us and live it for yourself. Here are five key reasons to choose Oxford Scholastica.

Gain Clarity About Your Future

We’ll help you to discover, experience and prepare for your successful future.

Discover Oxford

Explore the city of Oxford, home to brilliant architecture and historic traditions such as “punting”.

Experience University life

Follow in the footsteps of famous scientists, authors, political leaders and more.

Make International Friendships For Life

Go home with a network of friends from around the world.

Prepare for A Rapidly Changing World

Develop the knowledge, skills and confidence you need to thrive.

St George's campus
Blavatnik School of Government
Students debating at the Oxford Union

Experience

Accommodation & Classrooms

You’ll get a taste for student life, staying in your own safe and secure en-suite room at one of our five campuses in the centre of the city.

You’ll study in classrooms on the Oxford University campus, and get to experience the best of the old (such as debating at the historic Oxford Union) and the best of the new (such as the Saïd Business School and the Blavatnik School of Government).

Click here for more details about our accommodation.

Students at the Saïd Business School

Your Experience Debate & Public Speaking Timetable

Here’s an example of your Experience Debate & Public Speaking timetable – you can hover your mouse over parts of the timetable to get more information. 

Your Experience Debate & Public Speaking Timetable

Click here to see an example of the timetable.

First week

8am‑9am 9am‑10am 10am‑11am 11am‑12pm 12pm‑1pm 1pm‑2pm 2pm‑3pm 3pm‑4pm 4pm‑5pm 5pm‑6pm 6pm‑7pm Evening
Sunday ArrivalOur team will be ready to help you settle in at the accommodation. If you are coming from abroad we can happily help to arrange a transfer from the airport Dinner Icebreaker eveningAn evening of fun introductory games designed to get you to know your new friends and our staff team
Monday Breakfast Welcome and Introductory ClassYou'll be introduced to Oxford Scholastica, and get your first chance to meet your Tutors who will talk you through the course outline and answer any of your questions LunchYou'll have the opportunity to visit one of Oxford's many tasty, healthy cafes/restaurants for your lunch each day Oxford TourWe'll be taking you around the most famous landmarks in Oxford, from the colleges which inspired Harry Potter to the historic city buildings Scavenger HuntPut your new found knowledge to the test in our Scavenger Hunt competition, and discover Oxford's secrets Dinner Ice CreamRelax after your first day with a sociable dinner, and some of Oxford's famous George & Danver's (G&D's) ice cream!
Tuesday Breakfast Classes and Independent StudyOur small-group courses are conducted by our hand-picked tutors. Each day you'll have a two hour class and be given some reading or work by your tutor to complete in your two hours of independent study. Just like a university student, you'll be trusted to work independently or in groups in your rooms. Lunch Failure to Success or How to Be Great MasterclassesLearn the secrets of successful people, as we explore the tips and tricks to become successful, and discover how experiences of failure have driven successful people to stellar achievements. Dinner Outdoor ShakespeareTonight we'll be watching a Shakespeare play in the beautiful surroundings of the city.
Wednesday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch PuntingA punt is a flat-bottomed, square-ended boat which is powered by submerging a long pole onto the bank of the river and pushing the boat along - or as some people put it, pushing a boat with a stick! It is most commonly seen in Oxford and Cambridge, and is a favourite summer activity of students at Oxford. We'll teach you how to punt along the beautiful banks of North Oxford, and this is one of our students' favourite events each year Picnic Dinner Parks' GamesAfter our punting afternoon we'll spend the evening having a picnic and playing games by the banks of the river in the Oxford University Parks, arguably the most beautiful park in Oxford
Thursday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Windsor TripWe're off to visit Windsor Castle today - the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen.
Friday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch Applications MasterclassMany of you will be thinking about your future life after school. In this interactive afternoon, we'll guide you through the job applications process, or the process for applying to UK universities for further study Dinner Active ActivitiesJoin our Activities Coordinators as they lead active activities outside, to make the most of the summer. Choices have previously ranged from yoga to rugby, dancing to football, frisbee to zumba, and many more!
Saturday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch The Oxford Scholastica Challenge Afternoon!This is the moment you've been waiting for, as you'll get the chance to apply the knowledge you've learnt so far. From designing and marketing an App (Enterprise and Computer Science) to a Mock Clinic (Young Doctors) to a Model United Nations (Leadership and Debate) to designing a Magazine (Creative Writing) to a mock trial (Law), your teamwork skills will be tested to the max in our afternoon of fun Challenges Dinner Film NightAfter a hard day of putting your learning into practice, chill out in your accommodation with your friends and watch a film. Popcorn provided!

Second week

8am‑9am 9am‑10am 10am‑11am 11am‑12pm 12pm‑1pm 1pm‑2pm 2pm‑3pm 3pm‑4pm 4pm‑5pm 5pm‑6pm 6pm‑7pm Evening
Sunday Breakfast Hero SessionYou'll get the opportunity to meet your course Hero, a young professional who has studied your subject and has gone on to some impressive things in his/her early career. You'll be inspired to discover a possible career you might like to go into, and what a day-in-the-life in this line of work entails. You'll also do a hands-on task related to the typical work you might do in this career, as well as the opportunity to ask your Hero lots of questions. BrunchYou'll eat a delicious brunch in the beautiful dining hall of Corpus Christi College Free TimeYou'll have free time this afternoon, giving you the opportunity to explore some of Oxford's famous museums including the Ashmolean, the world's first university museum, go shopping or alternatively relax and have some downtime Dinner OSA International BallJoin us for the much anticipated Oxford Scholastica Ball. Put on your finest clothes, represent your country in national dress, and experience a magical evening cruising down the river with your friends
Monday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch Debating MasterclassIn the famous surroundings of the Oxford Union, sharpen your debating skills and put them to the test against your peers Dinner
Tuesday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch Change the World MasterclassDo you want to make the world a better place? Our Change the World Masterclass will introduce you to the best ways to go about putting your ideas into reality and inspire you with stories of our alumni who have done just that! Dinner Conquering HappinessLearn from an expert exactly what it means to be 'happy' and how we can apply these ideas in our own lives
Wednesday Breakfast Cambridge TripSee the UK's other famous university city - Cambridge. Take a relaxing punt down the college backs, while learning about the town's history, and take the opportunity to visit some of its beautiful colleges.
Thursday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch Bicester Village, Football Tournament or Free TimeYou'll have the opportunity to go to Bicester Village, Europe's luxury shopping capital, or take part in our football tournament at the famous Iffley Road Sports Centre (where the first sub four minute mile was run by Roger Bannister in 1954), or alternatively you can take the opportunity to have some free time and relax. Dinner Oxford's Got TalentTonight you'll get to show off your skills in our talent show, and be amazed at the amazing skills of your friends.
Friday Breakfast Classes and Independent Study Lunch Packing and Feedback GraduationWe'll be celebrating your achievements at our Graduation and Prize Giving Ceremony and dinner at the famous Saïd Business School, where you'll also receive our Yearbook which you can get your friends to sign. Parents and friends are very welcome to attend! BBQ and CeilidhDress up and see out our final evening in style with a ceilidh. A ceilidh is a traditional Scottish Dance, and local band Swinging Molly will be present to play the summer school out
Saturday Breakfast Departures

Please note this timetable may be subject to change.

Lexie giving student birthday cake
Students making cakes
Matron Kit Anderson with students at Oxford Scholastica

Experience

Pastoral Care

Ensuring that each student has the very best experience possible is our absolute priority.

We understand that a summer away from home can be daunting for parents and students. That’s why all our students also have 24-hour support, security and care from our specialised staff. To help you prepare for joining us in the summer, our Community Team will be in touch to answer any questions and send you some helpful material you might want to look at before you come along.

Like all of our core team, our Community Team will also be on-site over the summer in case students need any help or support.

We also organise group welcome calls before the course where you can meet our team face-to-face, and start to get to know some of the other students who will be your classmates.

Graduation at the Saïd Business School

Inspected and Accredited

Our Experience Debate & Public Speaking courses have been independently accredited by the British Accreditation Council as a short course provider for Independent Further and Higher Education. The BAC have assessed our teaching quality, pastoral care, and overall standards.

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