Topical Talk


Sign up to help your learners have regular, informed and open-minded discussions about current affairs.

What is Topical Talk?

Topical Talk gives you free teaching resources for weekly classroom discussions about current affairs and gives children the chance to join inspiring online discussions with peers and topic experts from all over the world.

Our adaptable activities help the news make sense for learners aged 9+. 

For maximum impact, combine Topical Talk teaching resources with the Student Hub.

What we offer:

Layout showing one of our Headline resources: Space Tourism. The layout shows the front cover, the teacher instructions, and the student "chat mat"

Teaching resources

Discuss different news stories using weekly resources and special editions

  • Weekly session plans
  • Printable supporting resources

All our resources are freely available on our Topical Talk website.

Image showing the Topical Talk website on desktop, tablet and mobile, plus some decorative elements around it

Topical Talk Festival

Join global discussions between students and leading topic experts

  • Inspiring activities and events
  • Thought-provoking competitions

Festivals take place on our bespoke Topical Talk website.

How do I sign up for Topical Talk?

Simply fill in our short registration form and away you go! The button below takes you to our Topical Talk site.


Work at a multi-school organisation?
Talk to us about using Topical Talk across your schools.


Why sign up?

The club has had a profound impact in the lives of the students we serve; in terms of confidence, self-esteem, criticality and engagement with current affairs. It has also set them on  a course toward being engaged  and questioning citizens. Matt Harris Napier Community  Primary School

Reason #1

A visible impact on your students

Topical Talk discussions give children the knowledge and skills to succeed at school and beyond. They make significant progress in communication skills so they become better listeners and more confident speakers. A focus on critical-thinking also helps their creativity and problem-solving.

We use a research-backed universal skills framework to help you track your students' progress.

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Read our latest impact report

See our case studies

You can teach about the news in any way, but this programme has such high-quality resources that for me, it is the best way to teach about  the news. Resources are sensitive to the  age of the children and they are  always really engaging. Ella Martin New Horizons  Children’s Academy

Reason #2

Discuss complex issues with confidence

Topical Talk gives you the confidence to have discussions about complex and sensitive issues.

Our teachers work with The Economist’s journalists to make sure facts are presented accurately. We have a decade of teaching experience in creating resources that are appropriate, accessible and inclusive for all learners.

Sign up to Topical Talk
Before doing the programme, the students felt they needed permission for the right to  have opinions on things. One child  told me “I now have the courage to say something without worrying whether  people will agree with me. Sophie Bradford  Boutcher Primary School

Reason #3

Build cultural capital from your classroom

Our resources open students’ eyes to matters of global importance and nurture their awareness of different perspectives. Through Topical Talk discussions, students develop open minds and informed voices. Help them think for themselves about the stories that affect us all.

Quite simply, the programme has been a revelation. Every week, new and interesting resources are produced, all of which go hand-in-hand with relevant and appropriate termly topics. These are accessible to all learners: they are bespoke, carefully thought-out and allow students to improve across a number of key skills.

Michael Baker, Faringdon Community College

What do the students say?

I wasn't really sceptical about the news and believed almost everything I read but it has taught me that not everything is true. I love sharing ideas and listening to others. It's very educational and helps me get involved in the news. It has also helped my writing and confidence.


I've learnt how to read deeply before I judge any opinion. I've also learnt how to build a good argument supported by information and to refer to my sources. What I liked best is that I could learn in class and online at my own pace. Whenever our school got a star I celebrated it!


I don't know where to begin with the skills I’ve gained! From learning new words, to building my self-confidence, to solving problems, to getting to know things about the environment that I didn't know about before!



Frequently asked questions about Topical Talk

Yes! Our resources are suitable for learners 9+ and contain differentiation opportunities throughout.

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.

All teaching resources are free to download and will remain free - all you need is an account on our Topical Talk website.

Set up your free account

Each Topical Talk festival costs £299 per class. Funded places are offered to some schools.

Topical Talk festivals are global discussions between students and leading topic experts on the top news stories and topical 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

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


Find out how

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.

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.

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.

Simply complete our short sign up form on the Topical Talk website to create your free Topical Talk account


Sign up for your free account

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