Dates:   02ND AND 03RD MAY 2019



We are thankful to our debate coach Ms. Sarah O’Keeffe who has been a great support to enrich our debate team with all her excellent strategies and techniques to deeply explore the debating skills through the debate coaching sessions held on 02nd and 03rd May, 2019 at The Wessex School, Concepcion. Ms. Neeladevi Chatta, Head of the English department has shown her immense gratitude to Prof. Sarah for sharing and coaching various debating sessions in smaller groups so as to cater to the needs of several students competing at the Municipality of Concepcion shortly. Prof. Sarah gave different strategies and tips to deal with the arguments and counter arguments in the debate sessions. We would also like to thank Ms. Barbara Hinrichsen for accommodating our debate coach Prof. Sarah and showing utmost hospitality.


She has experience in competing, judging and coaching a variety of formats (including British Parliamentary, World Schools, Mace, Debate Mate, and Debating Matters) with a wide range of ages and experience levels. She has worked as an ESU Mentor since 2016, judging the National Final of the ESU Mace Competition (the largest and oldest Schools Debating Competition in the UK) in 2018 and the National Semi-Finals in 2017.  She has judged debating extensively at both school and University levels, including judge breaks at the Oxford and Cambridge Inter-Varsity and Open Competitions and as a Chair Judge at the European Universities Debating Championships 2013.  She has also judged the finals of the Birmingham Inter-Varsity Debating Competition, the finals of the London School of Economics Schools Debating Competition, the final of the Debate Mate Attorney-General’s Cup, the novice final of the Kings College London Inter-Varsity Competition and semi-finals of the Cambridge Open, amongst others.


She has taught debating to students ranging from 9 years old to adults, in countries including the UK, Japan, South Korea and Chile.  She has coached representing a number of organisations, including the English-Speaking Union, Debate Mate, the Oxford Union and Lady Margaret School.  Her students from Winston Way Primary School won both the Debate Mate National Primary Urban Debate League and the Debate Mate Cup.  She has also coached programmes specifically aimed at re-engaging students at risk of exclusion, teaching debate-inspired workshops to adults to improve communication in the workplace, and teaching Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses to teachers on how to incorporate debate and oracy in their daily classes.  She has also taught advanced debate as part of the Debate Mate Graduate Programme and helped coach the Chilean National Team in preparation for the World Schools Debating Competition.


Most of her teaching experience outside of debating has been through coaching rowing and she has coached all ages, from children aged 11 through to adults.  This has included coaching school groups, corporate groups, SEN groups, groups with mental and physical handicaps including visual impairment, and GCSE groups. She has also taught Spanish tutoring for girls in lower year groups and she has worked with Girl guides and teaching them new skills. She also tutors Law, Spanish and Economics.


She started debating competitively at school in 2009.  At school, she broke to finals of several British Parliamentary competitions, including Bristol and Warwick, tabbed 8th England World Schools Trials in 2011 and reached the semi-finals of the ESU Mace 2012.  She was also a runner-up in the Company of Educators Public Speaking Competition 2010, runner-up in the 2012 London Finals of the Target 2.0 Economics presentation competition and reached the National Finals of European Youth Parliament 2011.


Her debate coaching sessions were fabulous, entertaining and extremely provocative for the students who thanked her for giving them some “food for thought”.