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Abbotsford Public School

Abbotsford Public School

An innovative and inclusive learning space

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Debating is a challenging and rewarding activity that builds confidence while developing skills in public speaking, organisation and teamwork. Students on the debating team learn to speak confidently and knowledgeably – skills that are often called upon in other areas of life. Students learn to articulate clearly, address an audience and present a strong argument.

Students on the debating team also learn to think quickly and to organise their ideas. They develop teamwork skills and are encouraged to take a keen interest in current affairs.

APS has proudly fielded a debating team for over 20 years and is well known in the district for having a strong debating tradition. Each year, we enter a team in the Inner West Debating Competition, which involves approximately six debates against a variety of local public schools.

As a group, the debating team continues to improve and has enjoyed many successes over the years.

At Abbotsford PS, however, our focus is not only on winning. We believe that the skills, attitudes and discipline learned through debating are the most valuable outcomes, no matter the result of individual debates.

Selection Process

Expressions of interest are sought from Stage 3 students early in Term 1 each year. Students are usually required to prepare a short audition speech. Basic debating training is undertaken by this group, with students attending workshops and giving speeches to develop skills and confidence.

Towards the end of Term 1, a debating team is chosen based on skills and ability, potential, enthusiasm and commitment.

Student Involvement 

The debating team meets once a week before school on a Wednesday. Students may also be required to meet during lunchtimes and occasionally during school.

The debating team requires a high level of commitment and students are usually required to write speeches and work on tasks at home, sometimes at short notice.

Important Dates

The debating competition runs during Terms 2 and 3 each year, with semi-finals and finals in Term 4.

The debates are usually held every third Wednesday at 2 pm in the school library or staffroom. Each round, one team of four students will debate at APS while another team of four students will travel to debate at another local school.

Parental Involvement 

Parents can help by encouraging and supporting their children. Students may require help with formulating ideas, researching, editing or the timing of speeches. Debaters are encouraged to practise their speeches thoroughly at home, and always require a positive and supportive audience!

Parents and carers are also invited to attend debates as part of the audience and volunteers are always needed to drive teams to other local schools between 1.30 and 3.00 pm on some Wednesdays.


There is no charge to participate in debating at Abbotsford PS. However, occasionally a workshop or training session is held for which there may be a small charge.

Further Information

Please contact the school principal or debating coordinators (Miss Peang and Mrs Divis), who will be happy to talk to you about debating at Abbotsford Public School.