The Downside Abingdon Society is the oldest debating society of any school in the country. It provides a forum for pupils to discuss topical and pertinent issues at an intellectual level, and is ideal preparation for any aspiring university candidate. 

The society is currently available for Fourth to Sixth Form pupils, however, from January 2021, younger pupils will have the chance to join the Junior Abingdon Society. Junior Abingdon will provide our younger pupils with an introduction to competitive debating and help them hone the skills required to present an argument with sound reasoning and poise. 

The benefits of debating, not only in terms of pure academics, but also in young people’s engagement with the wider world are numerous: debating can help to improve critical thinking skills, boost self-confidence, develop complex cognitive abilities and increase information retention.

Supporting our pupils to have a voice and truly listening to what they say are a key part of life at Downside. We believe that all our pupils should have a platform from which to express themselves and to stand up for what they believe in. Debating is just one way of how this can happen.

Abingdon and Jr Abingdon are two of over 100 co-curricular options at Downside which include academic societies, outdoor learning, performing arts and sport. Click here for a full list of our co-curricular options.