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Speaking Schools Australasia is a privately run organisation that 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 or background, can speak publicly and speak well, we run a variety of programs both during the school holidays and school term with the view to helping students build their skills and speak with confidence.

We run our programs through partner organisations, on school campuses and online, ensuring that as many students as possible have the opportunity to develop their speaking ability!

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 during 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, including using games that teach speaking skills without the students even realising that they’re actually being exposed to something new.

Thirdly, our students should learn new skills.  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 much smaller than other providers – 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 many of our coaches on our Coaches Webpage.

We have a four-step process for selecting coaches:

  1. A live and interactive 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 is a range of reasons why Speaking Schools Australasia is the premier public speaking and debating provider in Australia.

Whilst we could go on all day, here are just five reasons why SSA is a great pick:

  1. We have an amazing coaching team, all of whom are not only experts in public speaking and/or debating, but have been selected for their exceptional teaching ability (you can meet some of our coaches here).
  2. Our classes are significantly smaller than those of other providers, who routinely cram 12-15 students into a single, one-hour class. This allows our students to all have plenty of opportunities to learn, practice and receive feedback every lesson!
  3. We have developed the most in-depth and well-researched set of public speaking and debating resources in Australia, meaning that parents can be sure that their kids are learning essential skills in a consistent and structured manner.
  4. We offer a huge breadth of programs across a range of locations, age groups and experience levels, ensuring that classes are both well-suited for our students and as convenient as possible for parents.
  5. We are a trusted and much-loved organisation that has been entrusted by thousands of parents to help their child find their voice, with 100+ independent online reviews (with an average of 4.9 ⭐’s on Google) to back up the claim that we’re the premier public speaking and debating coaching provider in Australia.

There are a few benefits that full-day workshops have over weekly programs.

First, intensive workshops 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, especially for younger kids – students put their feedback into practice there and then, meaning that they’re better able to both implement what they’ve learned and develop as a speaker.

Second, intensive workshops 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 full-day workshops, 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 workshop. 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 go 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 they lend themselves better to physical or online classes, the actual learning outcomes remain the same for both learning styles.

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 3 days between 9:30am and 1:30pm (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 (start times are staggered). See below for more details on how each functions!

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 six sessions over three days, with a two-hour session in the morning and a 1.5-hour session in the afternoon (separated by a half-hour break). So, for example, if the program was scheduled for 9:30am to 1:30pm each day, the first session that day would be from 9:30am to 11:30am, with a half an hour break before the second session between 12:00pm and 1:30pm.

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.

Check out the video below to learn more about how our online workshops function!

Our in-person programs 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 workshops at a range of venues across Sydney, including:

  • the Shore School in North Sydney (since 2015);
  • Knox Grammar School (since 2015);
  • the King’s School in Parramatta (since 2016); and
  • Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College in Burwood (since 2020).

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

We have plenty of reviews on both Google and Facebook, as well as distributed across the website – you can also see a couple of example reviews below!

“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 engaged 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 simply more teaching hours for most classes. Because most 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 on to 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.

Check out the video below to learn more about our online programs!

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 hour (for our Cubs and Joeys programs) or 2 hours (for almost everything else), 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.

Check out the video below to learn more about our online programs!

Our in-person programs run nearly every day of the week in partnership with partner coaching colleges all over Sydney.  Almost all in-person weekly programs are two hours in length (with the exception of our Cubs and Joeys programs, which are one hour each), and go for 8 – 10 weeks, depending on the length of the term.

We offer our in-person weekly programs at a range of venues across Sydney – there is some variation from term to term, so have a look at the programs that best suit you to see where they’re on offer.

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!

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 are increasingly important elements 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 check out our dedicated webpage or drop us a line to learn more!

Speaking Schools is well equipped to run a wide range of seminars and courses for students of all ages – our range of programs includes the Presentation Skills Seminar (which gives large groups of students a crash course in effective presenting), Conquering Debating (which introduces students to the world of debating) and Future Leaders (which takes students through what it takes to be an inspiring school leader).

Every school has different needs, and as such our seminars and programs vary in length, difficulty and class size – please get in touch with what outcomes you would like for your students, and we can discuss the best option for your school’s unique circumstances!

Please head to our School Programs webpage or get in touch to learn more about how we might be able to help your school!

In addition to helping students learn something new, we also offer the opportunity to upskill your school’s teachers and/or 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 and programs, we are able to run this as a one-off session tailored to your school’s individual needs.

Please head to our School Programs webpage or get in touch to learn more about how we might be able to help your school!

In addition to one-off seminars, ongoing programs and professional development sessions, SSA is also able to provide a range of other options that may suit your school from teaching resources to debating competition administration.

Please head to our School Programs webpage or get in touch to learn more about how we might be able to help your school!

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

Like any good speech, there are three compelling reasons why you should consider working with SSA.

First, we have a great culture. We know that everyone says this – but for us, it is genuinely true. We only employ people who share our values and are committed to helping the next generation find their voice, and it really shows. We encourage the same welcoming, fun and friendly atmosphere amongst our team of 120+ coaches as we do for our students in the classroom.

Second, it’s a great job for university students. We offer competitive pay rates that are substantially higher than just about any other casual university job, and offer a large number of shifts during the school holiday periods when coaches otherwise don’t have much on. Shifts are flexible, and suit university timetables perfectly!

Third, there is just this warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you watch kids genuinely improve their confidence and speaking ability. We assign coaches to programs from start to finish, and there just isn’t anything that really compares to knowing you’ve made a kid’s life that much better.

If you’re keen to join the team, it’s really easy – just head to our dedicated webpage to learn more or fill out this application form and we’ll be in touch within a few days!

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 in-person 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.

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!

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