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Fast Fashion - Debating for KS2

Fast Fashion - Debating for KS2

Dedicated Collaborator
shutterstock_143878204s.jpgDebating for KS2Debating about the pros and cons of fast fashion is a useful activity for upper KS2 children. It allows them to build on a range of skills including listening, speaking, critical evaluation, analysis and teamwork, whilst exploring and gaining an understanding of current affairs and popular beliefs. This debating activity for KS2 can also link to geography and PHSE, raising awareness of human impact on the environment.


  •  Paper and pens
  • An area where children can freely move around


  1. Explain to children the following concepts:

Fast fashion

Designs that move from catwalk to high street shop very quickly and are made at a much more affordable price than the high end/ catwalk versions.


Preserving natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.

Ethical fashion

Fashion that has been designed, sourced and manufactured in a way that maximises benefits to people and communities (particularly those involved in making the clothes) while causing as little damage to the environment as possible.

2. Create two teams, one for and one against fast fashion. Each of the teams should work together as a team to research and present an argument for and against buying fast fashion.

3. Allow children to conduct research on fast fashion using a selection of the following resources to explore different facts and view points:

Fast Fashion: Can it be sustainable

Garment work -  a film by TRAID

The benefits of fast fashion for college students

TRAID provide a selection of free education resources to help teachers investigate the impacts of th...

Fashion Revolutions offer free educational resources suitable for every academic level

Independent article

They could consider the following points:

  • Cost of clothing
  • Environment/sustainability (including manufacture, care and disposal)
  • Style choice
  • Rights of workers that have made the clothes

 4. Children should then present the arguement for and against fast fashion to the rest of the class. It should be explained to children that they should listen to what the other team are saying very carefully and can make notes to allow them to present a counter arguement. They should not interupt while they are talking though.

5. Teams should then have the opportunity to present a counter argument based on what the other team has said. 

6. Mark and feedback to children based on organisation and clarity, use of facts, relevance of arguments, persuasiveness and presentation skills. Then announce the winner of the debate.

Extensions Ideas

  •  Maths – conduct a vote after the debate. Who would buy fast fashion?, who wouldn’t? and who is not sure? 
  • Geography - find out where your clothes are from – present children with a pile of high street clothes. Find the labels to discover where they are made and plot on a map. Research each of the countries and find out some key facts. 

Top Tips

  • provide a useful Primary Debating Handbook for teachers.
  • Outline team work expectations before the children begin. In each team ever child should have a role. Children should also decide who will be time keeping and presenting the information of if this will be done as a team.
  • Explain to children that that they should not worry if they don't agree with the view that they are representing but that they clealy explain different view points and may need to provide an arguement from someone elses viewpoint.
  • Explain to children that in real life decisions are not always black and white and can be complex. As an example synthetic or manmade clothing could be considered bad for the environment because of the way it is manufactured and disposed of but during its lifecycle, it may have a much lower carbon footprint than clothing made from natural materials.

Learning Outcomes

 Primary curriculum - English – years 5 and 6

In years 5 and 6, pupils’ confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language should be extended through public speaking, performance and debate.

Spoken Language

Pupils should be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.

Reading comprehension

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary
  • Provide reasoned justifications for their views.

PHSE – Global citizenship