We have a range of awards to recognise the best contributions from young people across each Topical Talk Festival.

Global Discussion Awards


Leaderboard students | Leaderboard classes

When young people make high-quality contributions to the Festival Student Hub that demonstrate the Topical Talk skills, they win stars.

At the end of a Festival, the students and classes on overall leaderboard, area, age and class-size leaderboards will receive Global Discussion Awards to recognise the impact they’ve had on the conversations.

Standpoint Awards


5 x students

Students submit their Standpoints at the end of a Festival. This is their final say on a topic and gives them a chance to share their opinion in writing, film or audio. A shortlist of the best Standpoints is judged by senior editorial staff at The Economist and five winners are chosen.

See the T&Cs for this award here.

The Alastair Burnet Award


1 x class

One class is awarded the prestigious Alastair Burnet Award, named after a former editor of The Economist newspaper. This award goes to the class which has shown an outstanding commitment to the Festival and made exceptional contributions throughout.

The winning class receives £1,000 which they can spend however they choose, as long as it builds on their achievements in the Festival. For example, a school may choose to buy recording equipment to set up a journalism club or give students a budget to take action on one of the issues they were passionate about.

See the T&Cs for this award here.



During the Topical Talk Festival students win stars when they demonstrate great speaking, listening, problem solving and creativity on the Student Hub. It's great to see which students and classes are collecting the most over the ten-week period.