Topical Talk FAQs
What is Topical Talk?
Our flagship programme brings you free classroom resources, global conversations, training and events - all designed to amplify young voices and inspire open-minded discussions about the news.
Topical Talk provides you with weekly resources, as well as special editions which support a deep dive into a current affair, with 4-5 hours worth of teaching material. All resources are free and your Topical Talk account offers you full access to our library of resources.
Do you differentiate for different age groups?
Yes! Our resources are suitable for learners 9+ and contain differentiation opportunities throughout.
Who can sign up for Topical Talk?
Topical Talk can be used in any educational setting. The resources are designed for use in school, but if you're a home-educator, you can adapt sessions for however many learners are taking part.
What is free and what has a cost?
All teaching resources are free to download and will remain free - all you need is an account on our Topical Talk website.
Each Topical Talk festival costs £299 per class. Funded places are offered to some schools.
What are Topical Talk festivals?
Topical Talk festivals are global discussions between students and leading topic experts on the top news stories and issues of our time. Festivals use Topical Talk teaching resources as a springboard for inspiring activities, exciting events and awards for thoughtful conversations and ideas.
Festivals last for seven weeks and take place twice per year. Visit our Topical Talk site to learn more.Find out more
How does Topical Talk connect to government guidance and inspection criteria?
Experienced teachers on our team design all Topical Talk resources - it’s no surprise that 96% of teachers rate them as excellent!
For example, for schools in England, Topical Talk meets criteria and objectives in:
- Ofsted inspection framework
- DfE Online safety requirements
- DfE guidance on British values through SMSC
How am I supported?
By signing up to free resources you'll also get access to a range of support materials. Our team of experienced teachers are on-hand to answer any questions you have - whether that’s about the classroom resources, the festivals, or something else!
Throughout the year, you are also invited to join exclusive webinars and training sessions for our Topical Talk teachers.
What impact does Topical Talk have?
Regular, weekly use of Topical Talk resources can help students to make five times more progress in critical thinking and communication skills.
In a 2021 impact case study, Topical Talk students made an average progress of 3.6 skill steps using the Skills Builder Universal Framework which measured listening, speaking, problem-solving and creativity skills. Without any intervention, the average progress made by students is 0.72 skill steps.
How do schools use Topical Talk?
Topical Talk is versatile. Some schools embed it within literacy while others choose to use the programme to hit multiple assessment objectives in personal development or Citizenship lessons. Alternatively, you could use Topical Talk during form/registration time, or run it as an extra-curricular club.
How do I start?
Simply complete our short sign up form on the Topical Talk website to create your free Topical Talk accountSign up for your free account
What is The Economist Educational Foundation?
We are an independent charity set up from inside The Economist newspaper by staff with a passion for education.
We enable young people to join inspiring, open-minded discussions about current affairs. We support teachers with free resources, events and training to facilitate engaging, topical discussions in their classrooms. Young people can join global conversations during our biannual festivals, using our online discussion platform to share ideas with peers from around the world and develop their own standpoint.Read more about our story