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Speaking Schools Australasia is a privately run organisation which seeks to improve public speaking and debating skills for school age students.

We are not your usual coaching college operation – born from the idea that everyone, regardless of their natural ability, can speak publicly and speak well, we run a variety of courses both during the school holidays and school term with the view to helping students develop their skills and speak with confidence.

To achieve this goal, we do not have a ‘brick and mortar’ base, but rather run our programs online, through partner organisations and on school campuses. However, given the importance of spreading a culture where all students can speak with confidence, we make sure that our courses are open to all students regardless of their background, especially with our online options which can be accessed anywhere in the world.

Our mission is to provide children with the soft skills and resilience they need to confidently navigate a constantly changing world.

We facilitate this by offering the best possible public speaking and debating programs to as many students as possible, regardless of who they are or where they come from. By providing students with fun, welcoming and safe learning environments, we aim to improve students critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills, all the while helping them build confidence, empathy and resilience.

Our teaching philosophy has three tiers.

Firstly, the safety of the students is paramount.  We do not allow our coaches to conduct any activities unless the students are safe, both physically and emotionally.

Secondly, all students need to have fun at our programs. We have no illusions that students join our programs in their free time – either after school, or during their holidays – and that the only way they’ll listen and pick up skills is if they are also enjoying themselves.  We use a range of techniques to ensure that the students maintain their attention by mixing theory with practice, and by using games that teach speaking skills without the students even realising that they’re actually being exposed to something new.

Thirdly, the students should learn.  Importantly, we believe in learning by doing – that students will only walk away with a new set of skills if they have had the opportunity to practice them.  This is why we keep class sizes small – to ensure that every student has an opportunity to speak and receive ample personalised feedback so they can improve.

We only hire experienced coaches who have a deep understanding of public speaking and/or debating.  Every coach has been handpicked for their knowledge of public speaking and/or debating, and carefully allocated to the programs that best suit their skills. Noting that our students’ safety is our highest priority, we ensure that every coach has a Working With Children Check done with the NSW Government (or equivalent).

You can find out more about our coaches on our Coaches Webpage.

We have a four-step process for selecting coaches:

  1. An in-person interview to ensure that the coach meets our high standards;
  2. At least one independent reference, to verify the coach is an appropriate addition to our team;
  3. A valid Working With Children Check with the Office of the Children’s Guardian (or other state authority), to make sure that the coach is confirmed to be safe to work with children; and
  4. Induction and training to guarantee that the coach knows and understands our teaching philosophy.

There are a few benefits that intensive programs have over weekly sessions.

First, intensive programs allow students to implement feedback within hours or sometimes even minutes of receiving it. Rather than waiting a week to have another shot at giving a speech – quite a long time when you think about it – they put it into practice there and then, meaning that they’re better able to both implement the feedback and develop as a speaker.

Second, intensive programs help students piece together the various different lessons in a more coherent manner. We use a building block style of education – providing students with the various individual concepts they need, and helping them put the puzzle together to create a holistic understanding of public speaking and/or debating. There aren’t big gaps between these lessons in intensive programs, helping them retain a clearer picture of each idea, making the overall puzzle easier to piece together.

Third, they’re often conducive to a more enjoyable and fun class environment. Most students who attend our programs do so without knowing anyone in the class – it is much easier to make new friendships when you spend multiple sequential days together, which in turn gives students a more positive experience of the program. It’s our hope that students then associate such a positive experience with public speaking, helping them overcome any fears they might have held.

That said, there are also a number of advantages of doing weekly programs (see below) – if possible, we generally recommend students have a crack at both!

We offer programs in both an in-person and online format.

For the most part, there is very little that separates our online and physical programs – both are interactive, cover the same theoretical concepts, and give students a range of opportunities to practice and develop their skills. Whilst some activities are different between the two, as some activities lend themselves better to physical or online classes, the actual learning outcomes remain the same for both classes.

Importantly, the difference in price isn’t an indication of the quality of the program, or how much students will get out of the experience – both forums get the same amount of attention and care, and we’ve found some students actually develop better in an online environment.  The deviation instead is simply a result of the higher costs (such as venue hire) associated with running classes in-person.

There is, however, one important difference – our online holiday programs all run over 4 days between 9:30am and 1:00pm (with a half-hour break in the middle), whilst our in-person holiday programs are either 2- or 3 days in length, and run between around 9:00am and 3:00pm (there is a staggered start as part of our COVID Action Plan). See below for more details on how each function!

We genuinely believe that whilst our online programs look and feel a little different, they are just as effective in helping students develop their speaking abilities.

All of our online holiday workshops run for eight sessions over four days, with each session being 1.5 hours long, and a good half-hour break between the two sessions. So, for example, if the program was scheduled for 9:30am to 1:00pm each day, the first session that day would be from 9:30am to 11:00am, with a half an hour break before the second session between 11:30am and 1:00pm.

Unlike most providers, we run all our online programs live in small classes – nothing is pre-recorded (other than some useful teaching resources), and everything happens in real-time. This means that coaches are able to adapt their teaching style to the class that they actually have, leading to the best possible learning outcomes for students.

Students are also given just as many opportunities to practice in front of an audience – whilst not physically present, students can still see all their peers’ faces on the computer screen, providing them with an audience that feels (and is) very real.  This means that students are still able to apply the theory they learn, develop their confidence, and crucially receive individualised feedback in real-time.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the video below to see how it all works:

 

We run programs every holiday period, and have done since 2015!

For our in-person programs, these usually run on each weekday of the holidays (except public holidays) at a range of venues around Sydney.  Each program has a set length – either two or three days – and although there is presently a staggered start and finish, programs tend to run between around 9:00am to 3:00pm (although supervision is available on either side).

We also offer our in-person holiday programs at a range of venues across Sydney, including:

  • the Shore School in North Sydney (since 2015);
  • the King’s School in Parramatta (since 2016);
  • Sydney Boys High School in Moore Park (since 2019); and
  • Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College in Burwood (since 2020).

There is plenty for everyone, with beginner and experienced programs for students from Year 1 all the way through to Year 9, so get in touch or check out the programs to learn more!

“My kids enjoyed this program. They said it was so good and they looked forward to it every day. Excellent transition to online!”

Nancy, Parent

 

“Our son was very happy with the online workshops and is very sad that it ended. It was immensely enjoyable and a great experience for him. The teacher Anna was fantastic, very kind and supportive and my son felt she was very motivating. The online programs are such a bliss for us as we stay far away and would never be able to attend a face to face program. Please continue this online program even when the situation stabilises as it will encourage so many kids to pursue their passion for debating. Hats off to you :)”

Priya, Parent

 

The coach Shauneen was very friendly and enagaged kids extremely well throughout the program. My child loved the interaction and the way the course was broken down into games and activities. I feel there has been a great improvement in my child’s confidence within few days and I would look forward to enrol her in ongoing programs through this online platform. In fact the biggest positive for me as a full time working parent is that I would have never been able to send my kid to this program if I had to physically drive her to the venue every single day so this online program was a blessing in disguise. I would continue to enrol my children in the future online programs.”

Amandeep, Parent

There are lots of advantages to doing weekly term programs!

First, there are just simply more teaching hours. Because programs are held once a week for two hours, students will normally get between 15 – 20 learning hours across the term. This is plenty of time to learn a range of new concepts – particularly when the sessions are spaced so far apart, and there isn’t any learning fatigue from one session to the next.

Second, concepts are learned over an extended period of time between 8 – 10 weeks. This means that, down the track, students are more likely to recall key concepts that they’ve learned, as they have been reiterated over the course of one or more terms.

Third, the short weekly bursts can help shy students wage a war of attrition on their fear of public speaking. Having separate sessions can allow students to overcome their shyness one lesson at a time – first becoming comfortable just standing before the group, before moving onto speaking a few words and finally presenting with confidence. There are always missteps along the way, but the breaks between each session allow students to hit the reset button when things don’t go to plan!

That said, there are also a number of advantages of doing intensive programs (see above) – if possible, we generally recommend students have a crack at both!

We offer programs in both an in-person and online format.

For the most part, there is very little that separates our online and physical programs – both are interactive, cover the same theoretical concepts, and give students a range of opportunities to practice and develop their skills. Whilst some activities are different between the two, as some activities lend themselves better to physical or online classes, the actual learning outcomes remain the same for both classes.

Importantly, the difference in price isn’t an indication of the quality of the program, or how much students will get out of the experience – both forums get the same amount of attention and care, and we’ve found some students actually develop better in an online environment.  The deviation instead is simply a result of the higher costs (such as venue hire) associated with running classes in-person.

There is one important difference for our Public Speaking programs – whilst our in-person classes all run for 2 hours each week, our online public speaking classes only last 1.5 hours, to help students maintain their interest across the class on a digital platform (our online debating classes are still 2 hours though!).

We genuinely believe that whilst our online programs look and feel a little different, they are just as effective in helping students develop their speaking abilities.

Each session lasts either 1.5 hours (for public speaking) or 2 hours (for debating), and is run on the same day every week.

Unlike most providers, we run all our online programs live in small classes – nothing is pre-recorded (other than some useful teaching resources), and everything happens in real-time. This means that coaches are able to adapt their teaching style to the class that they actually have, leading to the best possible learning outcomes for students.

Students are also given just as many opportunities to practice in front of an audience – whilst not physically present, students can still see all their peers’ faces on the computer screen, providing them with an audience that feels (and is) very real.  This means that students are still able to apply the theory they learn, develop their confidence, and crucially receive individualised feedback in real-time.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the video below to see how it all works:

 

We also run weekly programs every term, and have done since 2016!

For our in-person programs, these run on nearly every day of the week in partnership with partner coaching colleges all over Sydney.  All in-person weekly programs are two hours in length, and go for 8 – 10 weeks, depending on the length of the term.

We offer our in-person weekly term programs at a range of venues across Sydney, including:

  • Ryde Presbyterian Church;
  • Macquarie Community College, Carlingford;
  • Wesley Uniting Church, Castle Hill;
  • AAM Coaching Centre, Gordon;
  • First Education, Maroubra; and
  • First Education, Earlwood.

There is plenty for everyone, with beginner and experienced programs for students from Year 1 all the way through to Year 9, so get in touch or check out the programs to learn more!

Last updated 23 October 2020

As of late June 2020, the COVID-19 disease has passed its initial peak in Australia, and states are progressively moving out of lockdown.  Sydney, where our physical programs are currently run, has recorded minimal cases of community transmission in multiple months.

Whilst children appear to not be at particularly high risk, SSA places their safety (and the safety of our coaches) as our highest priority.  This is the first tier of our teaching policy.

Although we suspended all physical classes in March, SSA has made the determination that, taking into account the range of safeguards outlined below, it is now safe to resume physical classes on a limited basis.  Our first in-person classes ran as a single program in July 2020, and we have since expanded into multiple different venues since Term #3.

We have developed an action plan that we regularly update to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep our students safe  – please check it out to learn more about what we’re doing!

Since reopening classes in July 2020, we have generally considered the risk of transmission at our programs to be extremely low.  This is for three reasons:

  1. From a general perspective, whilst children are not immune, they do show substantially milder symptoms than adults, and appear to catch the virus at lower rates.
  2. Local transmission rates in Sydney, since the curve was flattened, have remained very low, and the Government is acting very cautiously – most people who catch the virus are quarantined, as are any known close contacts, which has significantly limited the spread of the virus.
  3. We have put in place a range of extra protections that are constantly reviewed for best practice, and seek to keep students as safe as possible.  You can see the procedures we have put in place below (or in our COVID-19 Action Plan here).

If we work together, we can minimise risk and remain safe over the next few months.

We have prepared our COVID-19 Action Plan which outlines the three elements we are using to keep students safe.

Whilst you are very welcome to read the Action Plan in full, the three elements are:

  1. Symptom Testing – whilst parents are instructed to not send students displaying symptoms (or awaiting test results), we will be using temperature checks and coach training to ensure that any students who show symptoms are isolated and removed from programs;
  2. Limited Exposure – there are a range of steps in place to help ensure that students (and parents) socially distance, and limit the chance of spreading the virus; and
  3. Enhanced Sanitation – hand and surface cleaning regimens are being adopted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, we will also be continuing to offer online programs for the foreseeable future, to help ensure that parents and students who are uncomfortable with physical classes have an alternative that allows them to feel safe, whilst still receiving a quality education in public speaking and debating.

Please check out our COVID-19 Action Plan here, or get in touch if you have any questions!

Our beginner level programs are designed for students with little or even no experience – there is no assumed knowledge for any of our novice programs.  Even the shyest of students are more than welcome to join, and will get plenty out of our programs.

For students in older years, they would also be more than welcome to join either public speaking or debating on their first time through – whilst they are different in many respects, both are perfect for building confidence and have no assumed knowledge.

If your child doesn’t have any experience, the best thing to do is to simply join the beginner program for their age group.  If you’re after holiday programs, you should look into:

If you’d prefer to give term programs a try, you might want to check out:

Generally, we recommend that students do our beginner programs before they have a go at a continuer program.  This is important, as we don’t want students to feel inadequate or behind their peers when they join a program – this can lead to confidence issues, and lead to the student leaving the programs with a greater fear of public speaking, something we definitely want to avoid.

That said, if students have proper formal coaching over a long period of time, they should have no trouble joining our more experienced programs.  This should be more than a couple of school debates or some presentations in class.

If you’re not sure about which program would be best for your child, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

If your child has already completed one of our novice programs, there are plenty of options available to them to further develop their skills!

Coaches will provide feedback and recommendations at the end of all our programs, so make sure you check them out to see what they think would best suit your child’s personal circumstances.

We’ve got plenty of programs for students of all levels – even if your child has completed a continuer program, there are still definitely opportunities for them to continue to flourish with our programs.

The best program will likely depend on what course your child has already completed – please have a look at the below links to see what we would generally recommend your child do next:

 

Holiday Programs

 

Term Programs

Generally, we recommend that students remain with their own age group – not only have we designed each program for the developmental stage of each age group, but also students generally have a better time and develop better as speakers when they are with students of a similar age.

That said, there are limited circumstances where we will allow students to move to a program with a higher age group – if you’re thinking of doing so, please get in touch to discuss it with us before enrolling!

We strongly recommend waiting until Year 1 before enrolling in our Tabby Cats or Tigers holiday programs, or our Leopards and Lions term programs.

All our Year 1 – 2 programs require students to be able to write at least simple sentences, as well as read their own handwriting and instructions on the board, which most Kindergarten students are unfortunately not able to do.  This may well lead to those students feeling inferior to the rest of the class, creating new fears around public speaking – the exact opposite of what we hope to achieve.

If you think that your child has sufficient reading and writing skills, we would be more than happy to talk it through with you – alternatively, we would also be more than happy to add you to our email list so we can let you know when bookings open when your child is old enough to join!

The Creative Kids program is run by the NSW Government, and allows parents to claim one $100 voucher per year for each of their school aged children.  This voucher can then be redeemed with authorised providers (including Speaking Schools), reducing the cost of attending workshops.

The voucher itself takes the form of a 16 digit number, generally starting with ‘9999’.  These vouchers can only be used once, and you will only be allocated one per child – please don’t try to submit the same voucher a second time!

In order to be eligible for a Creative Kids voucher, you must have a child aged between 4.5 to 10 years old, who has a current Medicare Card and is enrolled at a school in NSW.

If you meet these requirements, you can apply for a Creative Kids voucher online – you can find out more on the Service NSW website.

Under the rules provided by the NSW Government, you can only apply once per year for a Creative Kids voucher, and it can only be redeemed once.

We advise against submitting a Creative Kids voucher that has previously been redeemed – if this happens, we’ll do what we can to sort it out, but we may need to you to pay the difference if we’re advised by Service NSW that you are no longer entitled to use the voucher.

There are a number of key differences between the two.

First, an Active Kids voucher is for physical and sporting activities, such as soccer or dancing, whilst a Creative Kids voucher is for creative activities, such as public speaking or debating.

Second, an Active Kids voucher generally starts with a ‘5’, whilst a Creative Kids voucher generally starts with a ‘9’ – this can help distinguish between the two!

Third, given we only provide coaching for creative activities, we are only able to accept Creative Kids vouchers – if you try to submit an Active Kids voucher, the booking system will likely not allow it.

If you’ve tried submitting a voucher only to find that it was actually an Active Kids voucher, never fear – you are still able to apply for one through the Service NSW website.

There are a few reasons why your voucher may not be working:

  1. you’ve accidentally made a mistake transcribing the voucher number, and have typed in less than 16 digits;
  2. the number you’ve provided doesn’t start with ‘9999’, which are the first four digits of all Creative Kids vouchers; or
  3. you’ve tried to submit an Active Kids voucher (you can apply for a Creative Kids voucher with Service NSW here).

If you don’t think any of the above apply to you, please get in touch and we’ll help sort it out!

Debating and public speaking is an increasingly important aspect of the modern Australian schooling landscape, whether as part of the curriculum or through extra-curricular programs. This is consistent with the growing recognition in the education literature of the importance of public speaking and debating – both for helping improve resilience in the short term, but also by providing students with the crucial life skills they need to properly flourish in the future.

Whilst teachers are experts in their respective fields, whether it be English, history, science or maths, not all teachers are comfortable teaching public speaking and debating, or even if they are, know quite where to start. This is where we can help. As experts in public speaking and debating who have taught thousands of students both locally and abroad, SSA is perfectly placed to fill this potential gap in your school.

If you’re interested in hearing more about what we can offer your school, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

There are two ways in which we can help with your school’s ongoing debating programs.

First, we can provide your school with a range of teaching materials that cover the necessary concepts of debating and outline activities that focus on a range of different skills. These materials are regularly updated, separated by skill level and are modular in nature, meaning that schools can adapt it to the abilities and needs of their students.

Second, we can run the coaching program at your school. This involves providing coaches in addition to our materials, and managing the debating program over the course of the year. Whilst we are open to retaining existing coaches, we will ensure that they are trained and up to the high standards that we demand of all our teaching staff.

Speaking Schools is well equipped to run one-off seminars on a range of topics. As experts in communication skills generally, we are not limited to presenting on just public speaking or debating (although we are very willing and able to do so). Rather, we are able to speak on a range of other areas, including leadership, textual analysis and interview skills.

Seminars can be either half or full-day sessions, and can be easily tailored to the specific needs of your school.

In addition to helping students learn something new, we also offer the opportunity to upskill your school’s coaches. Depending on your specific needs, we can run coaches through how to teach the basic elements of debating, how to prioritise what content to share with students on certain topic areas and general strategies for controlling a classroom.

Like our seminars, we are able to run this as a one-off session tailored to your school’s individual needs.

Mark and his team from Speaking Schools Australasia were wonderful to work with. They gave students thorough and insightful feedback on their speaking skills and always communicated in a positive and coherent manner. Their expertise, organisation, and courtesy were very much appreciated. The students got a lot out of working with you during this competition. Thank you so much, we look forward to working with you in the future.

Celia Kemeny, Head of the Power of Speech Elective, Amity College

Over the last two years Speaking Schools have run seminars for our boys and the improvement has been outstanding. They catered to our needs and times and were accommodating of all requests. The presenters were excellent and informative. Our students enjoyed the experience and the skills they learnt can be used over their time at school and into the future.

Denise Williams, Year 7 Coordinator, Parramatta Marist High School

Generally, our weekly term programs look at providing students with ongoing opportunities to learn, practice and refine public speaking and debating skills, and to facilitate continuous learning which will stick with the students throughout their school years right through their lives. As with all our programs, we make sure that our weekly programs involve the educational trifecta of expert coaches, small classes and enjoyable courses – all of which we are able and willing to provide.

For most of our weekly term programs, we work with a partner organisation to help bring the programs to life. Under this system, we have agreements with various coaching colleges around Sydney, where we provide the coach and materials, and they provide the venue and administrative assistance.  Whilst both the coaching college and Speaking Schools are able to take bookings, the programs themselves form part of the general offering of the coaching college.

We offer weekly term programs for primary school students between Years 1 – 6, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d be interested in discussing how we might be able to work together!

We offer a range of weekly public speaking programs for students in primary school, including:

Our focus initially assists students in coming to their own opinions on a range of topics, before providing them with the tools that allow them to properly articulate their message in the form of a speech.

Our programs are broken up firstly between year groups, and then by level of experience – we have a number of programs for continuers, and so have plenty of content to keep students engaged term after term.

If you’re a coaching college looking to create or expand your public speaking or debating offering, whether because you love public speaking yourself, feel that your students would benefit from it or simply want to broaden your coaching college’s appeal, we are always open to having a discussion and potentially assisting you with that process.

Please don’t hesitate to get into touch to see how we can help you increase your offering and student base.

Contact Us

Couldn’t find an answer to your question in the FAQ? Get in touch with us directly, and we will be in touch as soon as we can!

0404 107 372