Debating Wombats

  • Experienced
  • 10 Weeks
  • Years 3 - 4

A debating program that builds on the concepts covered in Debating Wallabies, and introduces students to more complex policy based topics and case structures.

Student to Teacher Ratio 8:1
Course Objectives
  • Help students further develop their understanding of debating, placing a particular focus on policy-based topics.

  • Provide students with an in depth understanding on a range of debating concepts, from argumentation to rebuttal.

  • Give students a range of opportunities to participate in practice debates and receive individualised feedback.

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Location Wesley Campus, Castle Hill



4:00PM - 6:00PM


20th July - 21st September


1 Weeks



Course Overview

Debating can be difficult regardless of age – but it can be particularly challenging for younger students.

Our Debating Wombats program builds on the foundations laid in Debating Wallabies, not only through helping students deepen their understanding of central concepts like argumentation and rebuttal, but also by introducing them to policy based topics in an online setting.  Rather than asking students to prove that something is already true about the world, these debates require students to debate whether the world should be changes in some way.

Debating Wombats helps students understand how to develop these cases and so much more, and provides them with plenty of opportunities to practice their newfound skills in debates on a range of topics.

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.

Whilst children appear to not be at a 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.

We generally consider 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, since the curve was flattened, are now very 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 constantly reviewed for best practice, and seek to keep students as safe as possible.

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 Debating Wombats course is an experienced level program.

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

  • completed at least one (but ideally multiple) term of our Debating Wallabies program;
  • previously participated in our Debating Wombats program, and want to improve some other debating skills;
  • received formal training with another provider; or
  • attended a school with a comprehensive debating training program, and competed in a number of 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 out Debating Wallabies program a try.

In addition, whilst our Speaking Camp Koalas and Speaking Camp Kangaroos holiday programs do cover some debating skills, this is taught in the context of public speaking more generally, and would not normally be sufficient for them to be able to properly participate in our Debating Wombats program.

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

At the end of this programs, students should:

  • have developed an understanding of how to develop a case as a team for ‘policy’ debates;
  • have a better understanding of the two key debating concepts –  arguments and rebuttal; and
  • have engaged in various activities and practice debates throughout the term to help them develop their skills.

Fostering a Nurturing Class Environment

During the first few sessions 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 also involve a range of speaking activities that help students recall and further develop their existing debating skills.


Case Structure & Argumentation

Our Debating Wombats program takes the focus off the ‘Value’ debates covered in our Debating Wallabies program, and moves across to the more complex ‘Policy’ debates.

These debates require students to understand a new type of case structure to help them persuade adjudicators.  As a result, multiple sessions each term are devoted to helping students understand this case structure (which often takes years to truly comprehend) 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 roles 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 live stream them for parents to watch from home!

Our classes vary in size every course depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Wombats 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 over the course of the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a better understanding of debating and policy-based topics!

Debating Wombats covers the basics concepts involved in policy debating. Each term however has a different focus to help students gain in-depth insight. It is recommended that students complete each of our focuses before moving on:

  • 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.

Course Reviews

The girls loved the camp and came away saying how much they enjoyed the activities. We’ll be back next term.

Frankie and Charley, Parents Speaking Camp Kangaroos

My daughter said she really enjoyed the program and would like to attend EVERY time. I think it must be an amazing program.

Crystal, Parent Speaking Camp Kangaroos
  • Of the parents we've surveyed about our online programs...

  • 100%

    Felt their child had fun

  • 100%

    Believed their child's confidence improved

  • 100%

    Thought their child's speech structure improved

  • 92%

    Said their child's manner improved