Debating Pelicans

  • Experienced Students Only
  • 10 Weeks
  • Years 5 - 6

Debating Pelicans builds on the foundational knowledge developed in Debating Parrots (or our Debating Hummingbirds holiday program) and helps students take their skills to the next level.

Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1
Course Objectives
  • Give students further exposure to the world of debating, including new skills and topic area briefings.

  • Provide students with the opportunity to participate in debates almost every week.

  • Allow students to practice their skills and receive feedback to help develop.

View Our Coaches

Registrations Close 23 February!

2 Spots Left!
Location Online Program



4:30PM - 6:30PM


1st February - 5th April


10 Weeks



Sold Out

0 Spots Left!
Location Online Program



4:30PM - 6:30PM


2nd February - 6th April


10 Weeks



Registrations Close 25 February!

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Location Online Program



4:30PM - 6:30PM


3rd February - 7th April


10 Weeks



Course Overview

Bookings for Term 1, 2022 are now open!


This program is designed for students with debating experience who want to develop their skills and thrive within the art form.

Utilising primarily policy-based topics, this program takes an experiential learning perspective on debating.  Students will learn new concepts every session, debate almost every week (and do practice speeches when a debate isn’t possible), and receive plenty of individualised feedback throughout the program.

This course is the perfect way for students to take on some new speaking and analytical challenges, and continue to develop their skills throughout their later primary school years.

As with all our weekly programs, we keep our class sizes small so that each student is provided with plenty of support and attention, including plenty of individualised feedback from our experienced coaches.

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 Pelicans course is an experienced level program.

Designed for students with formal coaching in debating, we recommend that students only enrol if they have:

  • completed multiple terms of our Debating Parrots or Debating Wolverines programs, and have been advised to move up by their coach;
  • previously participated in either our Debating Pelicans term program or Debating Hawks holiday workshop, and want to continue working on their debating skills;
  • received formal training with another provider; or
  • attended a school with a comprehensive debating training program, and competed in several interschool debates.

Importantly, debating and public speaking are very different skills – attending a public speaking program with us, or participating in a public speaking program at school, doesn’t really prepare students for this workshop – they would be better off giving our Debating Parrots program a try.

If you’re not sure whether your child would be better suited for our Debating Parrots or Debating Pelicans program, please get in touch, and we would be more than happy to discuss it with you!

Over the term, students will have the opportunity to:

  • revise critical theory about policy-based (‘should’) debates and take their understanding to the next level;
  • receive targeted, individualised feedback and work towards individual goals;
  • deploy what they have learned during in-class debates (there will be practice debates most weeks of the term);
  • practice different speaking roles and argue from both affirmative and negative sides of various debates; and
  • learn how to work effectively in a team environment.

Our Debating Pelicans course is a modular program. This means that rather than prescribe what coaches will teach over a term, we instead give them a wide range of content that they can pick and choose from, depending on the skill level, experience and general preferences of the group that they are teaching.

That said, students will:

  • have the opportunity to revise the key concepts involved with Policy-based debating at the beginning of the term, to ensure that everyone is on the same page;
  • participate in practice debates almost every week; and
  • be involved in a parent presentation near the end of the term to showcase their improved 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 potentially live stream them for parents to watch from home!

Our classes vary in size for every program depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Pelicans 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;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a deeper understanding of policy-based debates!
Course Reviews

My child attended his first term program with Speaking Schools Sydney and loved it. He found the way Tennyson teaches was easy to follow and fun. He looks up to his coach not just a debating expert but also a big brother who has other many talents.

As a parent, I found the coach and the Speaking School team have always been friendly and helpful. They look after each child's needs for development and engage the children very well.

Thank you Tennyson, Mark, Chris and the Speaking Schools Sydney team!

Sunny, Parent Debating Pelicans

They take customer satisfaction seriously. Promptly return and clarified my queries. I'm glad I'm with a well established school with clear policies and procedures in place, not to mention great syllabus and content covered. A pleasant partnership in training my children.

Anh, Parent Debating Pelicans
  • 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