Abbotsford Public School

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Debating is a challenging and rewarding activity that builds confidence while developing skills in public speaking, organisation and team work. Students on the debating team learn to speak confidently and knowledgeably – skills which 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 team-work skills and are encouraged to take a keen interest in current affairs.

Debating at Abbotsford Public school

APS has proudly fielded a debating team for more than twelve 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, reaching the grand final as recently as 2010.

However, at APS 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.

Some questions and answers

Debate 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.


The debating team meets once a week during class time. Students may also be required to meet during lunchtimes and occasionally before or after 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. Debating is a team activity and often students will need to communicate with each other outside school hours, often via phone or email.

Date and time of debate 

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 2pm in the school library. 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.

Parent's involvement 

Parents can help by encouraging and supporting their children. Students may require help with formulating ideas, researching, editing  or 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 3.00pm on some Wednesdays.


There is no charge to participate in debating at APS. 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 co-ordinator, who will be happy to talk to you about debating at Abbotsford Public school.

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