Debating Club

  • Beginner Students Only
  • 9 Weeks
  • Years 7 - 9

Debating Club is the ideal course for high school students who are new to debating and would like to develop the fundamental skills necessary to flourish in high school debating. The program focuses on policy debates, among other types over the course of the term.

Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1
Course Objectives
  • Provide students with the foundations of policy debates, with a particular focus on case structure, arguments and rebuttal.

  • Give students the opportunity to participate in a range of debates on different topics.

  • Allow students multiple practice opportunities, and receive plenty of individual feedback.

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Location Online Program



4:30PM - 6:30PM


3rd May - 28th June


6 Weeks


$405 $270

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Location Carlingford Campus



3:50PM - 5:50PM


29th April - 24th June


5 Weeks


$495 $330

Course Overview

Bookings are now open for Term #2, 2022! 


Debating is a great source of personal development at a high school level. It helps the student develop essential critical thinking skills,  improve responsiveness when challenged and increase resilience in the face of adversity. Debating is taking on a leading role in secondary education, both as a co-curriculum activity and as an assessment style.  The ability to make well-reasoned arguments and question evidence behind a particular stance, holds in good stead both personally and later on professionally.

Our Debating Club program provides students with all the tools they need when starting out in the world of debating. Whilst always covering the basics concepts involved in policy debating – cases, arguments and rebuttal – the focus of Debating Club changes every term:

  • Term #1 looks at how to best develop cases as a team;
  • Term #2 focuses on deeper argumentation and making strong points;
  • Term #3 emphasises persuasive debating to help students better persuade their adjudicators; and
  • Term #4 hones in on rebuttal, and how to best tackle your opponents.

As with all our programs, class sizes are kept small so that each student can be provided with maximum support and attention, including plenty of individualised feedback from our experienced coaches.

This program is perfect for early high school students looking to see what debating is all about!

Arguments form the basis of all debates, and the bread and butter of any speech – they normally make up more than half of the allotted speaking time. However, whilst they might all seem similar at first glance, there are lots of ways to deliver effective argumentation – and that’s what we focus on in Term #2.

In addition to looking at other fundamental debating concepts – including cases, rebuttal and speaking manner – this program homes in on the best methods for coming up with persuasive points, the difference between practical and principled arguments, and how to effectively structure both.

Each of these elements are then tied into a range of speaking activities and debates, all with plenty of personalised feedback, to help them put these concepts into practice.

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.

Notably, 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 get the same amount of attention and care, and we’ve found some students 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.


Whilst children appear to not be at particularly high risk from COVID-19, SSA places their safety (and the safety of our coaches) as our highest priority.  This emphasis on safety is the first tier of our teaching policy.

We generally consider the risk of transmission at our programs to be very unlikely.  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 and transmit the virus at lower rates.
  2. Despite high vaccination levels, the Government is still acting cautiously in removing restrictions – 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 reviewed continuously for best practice, and seek to keep students as safe as possible.

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

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

  1. Vaccination – all of our onsite staff are fully vaccinated, so they pose a substantially reduced risk to our students;
  2. Symptom Testing – whilst we instruct all parents not to 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;
  3. 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
  4. Enhanced Sanitation – we have adopted hand and surface cleaning regimens to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, we will also be continuing to offer online programs for the foreseeable future. This will 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 Debating Club is a beginner level program.

The course is intended for students with minimal debating experience, and is recommended for both shy and confident students alike who are looking to cover the fundamentals of debating.  There is also no need for students to have debating experience – there is no assumed knowledge for the Debating Club program.

Students who have completed our Debating Hawks holiday programs (or our Debating Parrots or Debating Pelicans term programs) should progress straight to our Practice Debates term program. However, students who have just done our Debating Hummingbirds, Foundations of Debating or Foundations of Public Speaking programs are recommended to learn the fundamentals in Debating Club program.

If your child has some formal debating coaching and you’re not sure whether the Debating Club or Practice Debates program would suit them best, please get in touch and we’d be more than happy to discuss which is best for your child!

Over the course of the term, students will have the opportunity to:

  • learn core introductory theory about ‘Policy’ debates;
  • explore case development, argument structure and rebuttal strategies, with a particular focus on practical points, principled points and stakeholder analysis;
  • deploy what they have learned in at least three in-class debates across the term;
  • practice different speaking roles and argue from both affirmative and negative sides of a debate; and
  • learn how to work effectively in a team environment!

Fostering a Nurturing Class Environment

At the beginning of this program, the coach seeks to facilitate a welcoming class environment and ensures that all students across the elemental rules and concepts involved in debating – in short, that everyone feels accepted and up to speed, regardless of their experience. The early sessions also involve a range of speaking activities that help students develop their fundamental debating skills.


Practical + Principled Arguments

The main focus of the program is argument structure, and students start with the most essential structure in any policy debate – practical arguments, which look at tangible benefits and harms that a policy might create. Once students are comfortable with these, they’ll move on to the slightly more complex principled points, which look at whether a policy should be considered ethical. Both of these sessions involve plenty of opportunities to practice, and culminate in a practice debate so students can practice their newfound skills in a real-life environment.


Stakeholder Analysis

The ability to present a good argument means very little if you can’t come up with good ideas! Given this, students also spend at least one session looking at stakeholders, how they can help them come up with arguments, and methods that can be used to weigh points against one another to see which will come out most persuasive.


Case Structure, Rebuttal + Speaking Manner

Debates aren’t just two teams arguing with one another – it’s also important to understand case structure, rebuttal and persuasive manner. Whilst these are covered in more depth in other terms, they all have a dedicated session as part of the Argumentation stream!


Practice Debates

In addition to all the theory, students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple practice debates during the term (and almost every week as the term progresses).  Each debate will be on a different topic, and students will have the opportunity to speak in various roles across the term.


Parent Presentations

As with all our weekly programs, the term concludes with a presentation to the students’ parents.  This is a great way to help them develop the confidence to speak directly to adults, as well as being a good opportunity for them to showcase their new skills.

For physical classes, we’ll make an assessment closer to the end of the term as to whether we can run presentations in person – if government restrictions still prevent parents from entering the classrooms, we’ll either film their presentations, or alternatively livestream them for parents to watch from home!

Our classes vary in size depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Club class is around nine students with one coach.

If there aren’t any spots left, it’s usually because we’ve hit capacity – please get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do about either opening an extra class, fitting your child into the existing class, or putting you on a waitlist in case any students pull out!

By the end of each program, students will have:

  • a feedback sheet, prepared individually for them by their coach, which goes through what they’ve improved on, and what still needs some work;
  • a certificate recognising their achievements;
  • a course booklet that covers everything they’ve learned over the course of the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a better understanding of how debating works from a practical perspective!

Debating Club covers the basic concepts involved in policy debating. Each term however has a different focus to help students gain in-depth insight before progressing onto an experienced program. It is recommended that students complete each of our focuses before moving on to the next level:

  • Term #1 looks at how to best develop cases as a team;
  • Term #2 focuses on argumentation and making strong points;
  • Term #4 emphasises persuasive speaking to help students better persuade their adjudicators; and
  • Term #3 hones in on rebuttal, and how to best tackle your opponents.

There is no particular need to start with any of these streams, meaning students are welcome to join at any time.

Course Reviews

Our daughter thoroughly enjoyed the course and advised that she would love to attend another course in the future. She said it was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and couldn’t speak highly enough of her teacher.

After completing the course she has a much better understanding of debating, feels confident and is looking forward to competing next term.

Joelle, Parent Foundations of Debating

Took a reluctant attendee into an engaged participant - well done!!!

Rohan, Parent Foundations of Debating
  • After our Term #4 programs...

  • 100%

    of Year 7 - 9 students surveyed really enjoyed attending the program

  • 100%

    of Year 7 - 9 students surveyed felt a lot more confident in their ability

  • 100%

    of Year 7 - 9 students surveyed noticed that their manner improved

  • 75%

    of Year 7 - 9 students surveyed were keen to come back again next time