Pinsent Masons Debating Challenge

International law firm Pinsent Masons joined up with Ahead Partnership and regional businesses to host a debating tournament for students from schools around Leeds, Bradford and Calderdale.

pinsent debate collage

FOCUS: Help develop students' public speaking and persuasive skills with feedback and advice from local employers

Year 9 and 10 students from eight secondary schools were invited to take part in the second Pinsent Masons Debating Challenge with Leeds and Bradford heats held at Pinsent Masons Leeds' office and Grange Technology College.

Students were mentored by local business volunteers from Pinsent Masons, Calbee, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Transpennine Express and First Group to develop their research and arguments on themed debates around growth sectors including topics on the housing crisis, the use of digital technology and future infrustructure plans.

Abbey Grange Academy, Tong Leadership Academy and Grange Technology College made the final with judges Henri Murison from YBS Group, Leeds Councillor Jane Dowson and Arthur Lovitt from Pinsent Masons in May 2017 and three students from Grange Technology College took the prize.

"The final was the culmination of a great piece of work from Pinsent Masons and Ahead Partnership. I took a lot away with me, not least the confidence of the young people involved."

Councillor Jane Dowson, Deputy Executive Board Member, Leeds City Council

"It was another fantastic competition this year, with real talent shining through as the students presented sophisticated arguments on a range of topics."

John Cleland, Managing Partner, Pinsent Masons



  • 80% of students that took part said it helped them think about jobs they could do in the future
  • 100% of students said it helped them feel better prepared for the world of work
  • 100% of students said it helped improve their speaking and listening skills
  • 100% of students said it improved their confidence and self-belief


See the press coverage from the final online here >>

See live tweets from our #MaketheGrade activities in local schools and colleges by following our Twitter account >>