What is NDP?

Novice Debate Practice, or NDP is for members who are relatively new to debating, and either want to improve on public speaking skills, or learn the rules and convetions of the British Parliamentary format of debating. Training consists of seminars, content specific training and practice debates with plenty of feedback.

The Durham Union has one of the best novice development programs in Europe, taking members with little to no experience and developing them into world class speakers with breaks at the European University Debate Championships and Worlds University Debate Championships.

What is BP debate?

The British Parliamentary format is the main format of academic competitive debate practiced at University level. BP involves 4 teams of 2 speakers, debating unseen motions following a 15 minute prep time. It is a fast-paced exciting format, and learning it can help with everything from oration to essay-writing.

For an example of BP at its best, see the below video of the final of the Durham Inter-varsity competition.

Meet the Trainers

Alex B-K

NDP Trainer

Alex is Debating Competitions Secretary and so convenes the IV, Schools and the Open. Since coming to Durham as a speaker he has broken to the final of Ned Stark memorial mace 2019 and as a judge broke to the quarterfinal of the Athens open 2019. He was also a judge at the European Championships in Athens, 2019. On the schools circuit he spoke in three finals at Lancaster and Manchester Schools.

What is your Favourite Thing about Debating with the Union?
The great community of people who are excited to help people engage with debating who are also just fun to spend time with.

What would you say to any Nervous Freshers
Everyone is nervous at first the great thing about debate at Durham is that you’ll be learning with people who feel exactly the same as you in a super relaxed environment. No pressure just a fun activity in a relaxed environment.

Hannah Cook

NDP Trainer

Hannah is one of the NDP trainers this year. She started debating in school, where she reached the Finals Day of both Cambridge and Oxford Schools completions, and the regional final of the ESU School’s Mace.

Last year, whilst a Fresher at Durham, Hannah competed at 5 UK competitions, reaching the final of the Newcastle IV and Bogwall Novices. She ranked as a top 10 speaker in 2 competitions, and a top 10 Novice speaker in 3, including being the best Novice speaker at the Glasgow University Union Summer Cup. This year, Hannah has also competed at 3 debating competitions abroad, including the European University Debating Championships in Athens, where she finished in the top 30% of speakers overall.