Practice Debates

  • Experienced Students Only
  • 9 - 10 Weeks
  • Years 7 - 9

A ten week program that combines practice debates nearly every week with a range of theoretical sessions to help high school students develop their debating skills even further.

Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1
Course Objectives
  • Allow experienced students to practice their skills in debates on a range of topics.

  • Provide theory sessions on multiple topics, tailored to the interests and needs of the particular group.

  • Give students plenty of opportunities to present and receive individualised feedback.

View Our Coaches

Registrations Close 10 August!

Location Online Program



4:30PM - 6:30PM


19th July - 20th September


10 Weeks



Registrations Close 11 August!

Location Online Program



4:30PM - 6:30PM


20th July - 21st September


10 Weeks



Registrations Close 19 August!

2 Spots Left!
Location Hurstville Campus



6:00PM - 8:00PM


28th July - 22nd September


9 Weeks



Course Overview

Bookings for Term #3 are now open!

Debating is a simple concept to learn, but a tough one to master.  A lot is happening in a debate – meeting burdens, keeping to a team strategy, tackling the other team’s arguments – and it takes lots of training and practice to get your head around it all.

Our Practice Debates program seeks to help students grapple with all these concepts and more.

Centred in the concept of learning by doing, Practice Debates focuses on providing students with lots of opportunities to practice their debating skills, and supplementing this with theory sessions and debriefs that provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to develop even further.

Importantly, we make sure that all classes are kept small, light-hearted and non-competitive – we want to ensure that all students feel welcome and able to develop as a debater at their own pace.

As with all our weekly 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.

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, 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 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 themselves 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 Practice Debates course is an experienced level program.

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

  • completed our Foundations of Debating (or Debating Hummingbirds) holiday program at least once, and feels confident in their debating ability;
  • completed multiple terms of our Debating Parrots or Debating Club programs, and feels ready to advance to the next level;
  • previously participated in either our Debating Pelicans or Practice Debates term programs (or Experienced Debating or Debating Hawks holiday programs), and want to continue working on their debating skills;
  • received comprehensive 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 prepare students for this workshop. Instead, they would be better off giving our Debating Club term program or our Foundations of Debating holiday program a try.

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

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

  • revise essential theory about policy-based (‘should’) debates and take their understanding to the next level;
  • deploy what they have learned during in-class debates (there will be practice debates most weeks of the term);
  • receive targeted, individualised feedback and work towards individual goals;
  • 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.

Our Practice Debates course is a modular program, which emphasises practise over theory. This means that rather than prescribe what coaches will teach over a term, we instead give them a wide range of session 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
  • receive plenty of feedback to help them develop as individual debaters.

Our classes vary in size for every workshop depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Practice Debates 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;
  • copies of the speeches they prepared over the course of the term; and
  • a deeper understanding of policy style debates!
Course Reviews

My daughter had a great time and learnt her strengths, as well as what to improve on. She also learnt it's okay to be funny when she debates and to listen more to improve rebutting. A good camp for learning and fun!

Anne, Parent Experienced Debating

Very professional and organised, great teaching staff, and my daughter was thrilled to see one of her school debating coaches. Thank you all very much!

Katie, Parent Experienced 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