Debating Parrots

  • Beginner
  • Weeks
  • Years 5 - 6

Debating Parrots is the ideal course for students who are either new to debating, or would like to learn what policy debating is all about.

Student to Teacher Ratio 8:1
Course Objectives
  • Give students an introduction to the basic concepts of policy debating, including cases, point structure and rebuttal.

  • Provide students with a range of opportunities to participate in practice debates.

  • Allow students to build their confidence and practice their skills over the course of the term.

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Register your interest for our upcoming Term programs.

Course Overview

Bookings for Term #4 are now closed. Register your interest for Term #1, 2022!

All in-person programs will run online whilst the NSW lockdown continues, and we aim to resume classes once we have clear information from the NSW Government. 


Debating is an integral part of the modern co-curricular programs run at schools today.  Not only does it help students develop their confidence -and work as a team – it also helps other essential skills crucial in day-to-day life at school. From critical thinking to building resilience (losing is never easy, but it’s even more difficult after giving a speech), there is plenty that all students can take away from debating!

Our Debating Parrots program provides students with the foundations they’ll need to take part in (and in most cases actually enjoy) debating.  Through learning proper case theory, argument structure and rebuttal strategy, this course is a great way to prepare students for some of the new speaking and analytical challenges they will be presented with throughout late primary and early high school.

Whilst Debating Parrots always covers the basics concepts involved in policy debating, the focus of the program 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.

Whilst it’s recommended that students give each of these streams a try, there is no particular need to start with any of them, meaning students are welcome to join at any time!

As with all our programs, class sizes are kept small (a maximum of 8) so that each student can be provided with maximum support and attention, including plenty of individualised feedback from our experienced coaches.

There are lots of difficult concepts to learn in debating, but the most difficult skill to put into practice for most students would have to be rebuttal. It isn’t hard to understand why – rebuttal is difficult to prepare during prep time, and requires students to think of responses to often unpredictable arguments without time to give them proper thought.

But this is also why it is such an important skill for students to develop – not only for debating, but also for life more generally.

Our rebuttal stream places the focus squarely on this skill – students look at cases and arguments more critically, before taking the time to formulate strategies they can use to both bring down their opposition’s arguments, whilst bolstering their own. This steam is an absolute must for any budding debater.

During the upcoming term, we will be offering all our weekly programs online while the NSW Government Lockdown continues.

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. Local transmission rates are currently low, and the Government is acting very 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 three elements are:

  1. 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;
  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 – 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 Parrots course is a beginner level program.

This course assumes no particular knowledge – students are more than welcome to join the program with little (or even no) debating experience.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and there is no better time than the present.

Noting this, the program is also appropriate for students who have already completed our Debating Wallabies term program, as it focuses on ‘Policy’ style debates, rather than the more straightforward ‘value-based’ style debates covered in that course.  We would also recommend that students who have previously completed our Debating Hummingbirds holiday program give the Debating Parrots program a chance, as it goes into more depth on various concepts than the holiday programs.

In addition, this program is also appropriate for students who have previously completed our Public Speaking Parrots term program, or Public Speaking Hummingbirds or Public Speaking Hawks holiday programs – debating and public speaking are very different skills, and whilst both will help develop confidence, students will get plenty out of doing both programs.

Finally, whilst Debating Parrots always covers the basics concepts involved in policy debating, it is recommended that students give each of our focuses a try before moving on to the next level:

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

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

That said, if your child already has already completed our Debating Hawks holiday program or our Debating Wombats term program, has formal debating training from another provider or is already receiving coaching as part of a school team, they may get more out of our more advanced Debating Pelicans program – please get in touch if you’d like to discuss what’s best for your child!

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

  • learn a range of introductory concepts and principles focusing on the essential elements of debating, placing a particular emphasis on rebuttal strategies;
  • 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!

A Nurturing Class Environment

During the first session of the program, the coach will spend a substantial amount of time helping students feel comfortable within the class environment, as well as ensuring that all students are across the rules of debating.  These early sessions will also involve students presenting multiple times, with the view to helping them develop their practical debating skills early on.


Case Structure & Argumentation

In order to effectively rebut, students first need to understand how to construct cases an arguments – this makes them easier to both tear down (for their opposition) and defend (for their own team). Students will spend at least two sessions critically looking at these concepts before moving onto how to rebut them.



Students will spend multiple sessions looking at rebuttal.  These sessions will focus on how rebuttal can be used to bring down your opposition or defend your own case, and will involve a range of activities to help students not only understand the concepts, but be able to put them into practice as well.


Practice Debates

In addition to all the theory, students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple practice debates during the term.  Each debate will be on a different policy topic, and students will have the opportunity to speak in different rolls each time.


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 every workshop depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Parrots class is around eight 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 throughout the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a better understanding of how debating works from a practical perspective!
Course Reviews

My son joined the Debating Parrots program last term and it was an enlightening experience. He gained good knowledge on how to structure his debate and understand the rebuttal types. There was lots of practice and good constructive feedback provided to him by his Coach Alex. It was time well spent and Gurkiret always looked forward to the weekly sessions. He learnt and had fun along the way. Looking forward to the next term.

Rupinder, Parent Debating Parrots

My son enrolled for the first time and we are very happy with his progress even if it is was online session.

The review provided post first term is very helpful for improving his skills.

Amit, Parent Debating Parrots
  • After our Term #4 programs...

  • 100%

    of Year 5 - 6 students surveyed enjoyed themselves

  • 100%

    of Year 5 - 6 students surveyed noticed an improvement in their overall speaking skills

  • 96%

    of Year 5 - 6 students surveyed felt more confident as a speaker

  • 96%

    of Year 5 - 6 students surveyed wanted to come back again next time