In our third year of existence, VoiceIt was previously known as the 'Durham State School Debating Programme'. We were set up in 2017 with the help of a grant from the 1972 Club of Collingwood College and their Alumni, with whom we still maintain strong ties.
We believe that oracy skills are vital to building confidence and empowering students to build the skillsets and aspirations to do anything they want to do. Despite this, oracy is currently not a key part of the national curriculum, and due to the often high costs of oracy based extracurricular activities such as debating and public speaking, state-funded schools have been traditionally underrepresented in this field. We want to increase access to debating and oracy, and we do this through our cost-free debating clubs.
Our aim is to use universities as hubs for recruiting talented and engaging university students to deliver training to students in their local area.
Our intoschools programme partners with Durham University's Student Volunteering Organisation and sends university students - often successful competitive debaters - as mentors into local schools to run weekly debating clubs, following a carefully crafted curriculum which aims to both promote confidence in oracy and to provide a structured debating format for students to channel their ideas and opinions into. Click here to learn more.
The North-East State Schools' Competition runs yearly in July, and is open to all state schools in the North-East of England. As part of registration, we run free workshops either in schools or at another venue in the NE. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel this year's competition, but hopefully it will be back next summer.
As a response to COVID-19, we are running a virtual online camp, with the aim of providing for students in the midst of uncertain physical restrictions in different countries. For more information please see our CAMP2020 page.
A welcome from our director:
Thank you for taking the time to visit our page. I hope you find something here that sparks an interest and starts your journey with us. I founded VoiceIt in 2017 with a grant from the 1972 Club, and since then I have been able to meet several dozen amazing mentors, and hear about the stories of over 300 students who have participated in our programmes, workshops and competitions. With so many exciting continuing programmes and a handful of new initiatives, I can't wait to see what happens next.