Debating & Public Speaking

Debating is an integral part of the co-curricular program at St Andrews and there has been considerable development in this area of College’s provision for students. It is our hope that in conjunction with Music, Drama, the Visual Arts, and the Extension and Enrichment co-curricular programs such as Tournament of the Minds and Future Problem Solving, our Debating Program will show that thinking, speaking and being creative does not end with the classroom academic program. In fact, the classroom is only the beginning!

Why debating?

If students like to express an opinion and justify it, and then engage in healthy discussion with others who may not share the same viewpoint, then debating offers a supportive and challenging environment in which to develop these skills. Debating enables students to:

  • work in a small team environment to achieve a goal
  • develop research skills
  • engage in current issues which affect themselves, their broader community or global society
  • develop critical thinking skills
  • structure an argument
  • think and plan under time constraints
  • learn to deconstruct an argument and evaluate its worth
  • speak with confidence in front of an audience
  • speak following formal conventions to achieve a purpose


Stay tuned for updates when Debating resumes in 2018.

Sunshine Coast Debating Competition Draws - These will be posted here on a weekly basis. If there are late changes to the draw or debates, these will be emailed to the relevant parents and students as soon as possible. 

Junior Division DRAW

Senior Division DRAW 

In Term 3, students will have opportunity to be involved in the Sunshine Coast Debating Competition sponsored by the University of the Sunshine Coast. Teams from north of Noosa to Redcliffe in the south are involved. In 2015, over 50 teams and more than 200 scheduled debates were run at venues throughout the Sunshine Coast!

So, what does this mean for St Andrews students?

Students will have opportunity to attend the SC Debating Expo late in Term 2. This comprises a one day workshop at the University where they will see a debate involving senior, experienced debaters, and work with students from other schools to understand and use the skills in debating.

Students will nominate to be involved. Students from Years 6-12 are encouraged to participate.

Teams and coaches are allocated and announced at the end of Term 2. Parents, teachers and experienced senior students are welcome to be coaches.

There will be a number of workshops held in the first two weeks of Term 3 for any student who is new to debating.

Students learn how to prepare and deliver a short prep debate: Topics are given to teams on the night and students have one hour to prepare.

Organisational details

  • The Competition is held on Wednesday evenings in Term 3.
  • The Sunshine Coast is divided into three regions: south, central and north.
  • Age Divisions: Years 6-7 (Junior); Years 8-9 (Intermediate); Years 10-12 (Senior).
  • The venues and times at which debates are held during 2017 in the Central Region are as follows:
Division Debate/Preparation Times
Years 6 - 7 Debate commences 4.30pm (Round 1 - 3)
Years 6 - 7 Preparation commences 4.30pm/Debate commences 5.30pm (Round 4)
Years 8 - 9 Preparation commences 5.45pm/Debate commences 6.45pm
Years 10 - 12 Preparation commences 7pm/Debate commences 8pm

Please note: 2017 venues are Sienna Catholic College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School. 

  • Each division competes with four preliminary rounds (and one play-off round if required) prior to a single round of Semi-Finals and then a Grand Final.
  • Semi-Finals and Grand Finals for each age division are hosted at the University of Sunshine Coast campus, early in Term 4 (October).

Rules & Regulations

Coaches Handbook

Our Open Division Debating Team, consisting of Jack Buksh, Mia Payne, Danielle Sealey, Zoe Wiley, Mia Meder Bird and Rory Shannon have debated three rounds in the ISDCN Virtual Debating Competition. The team won their debate against Glasshouse Christian College, successfully arguing that “We should not fear artificial intelligence”  in Round 1, but then lost their second and third round against very strong and experienced teams from Scotch Oakburn College and Sunshine Coast Grammar.

Congratulations to our Year 9-10 Debating Team for defeating Glasshouse Christian College as they debated the topic:  “That we should establish parliamentary quotas for people under the age of 35.” Estelle Flemming, Olivia Flemming, Jazz Rowe and Moira Cairns spoke with confidence to argue the Negative case. The students had just one hour’s preparation on a difficult topic.

Our Year 6 team (Kelly Smith, Lara Swenson, Will Malone, Ashley Tarsilli) had a  convincing win against Tara Anglican College in Round 1, where they debated the negative case on the topic “That Australia should adopt a new Flag”. In the second round, they debated against Gulf Christian College. The topic was “ That Books are Better than Movies” and we were the negative team. The students who debated were Kelly Smith, Ashleigh Tarsilli,  Will Malone and Lara Swenson. All students are to be congratulated on their thorough preparation, the delivery of their convincing arguments and their continued improvement with rebuttal.

This is one of the strengths of the  ISDCN competition: it gives remote schools the opportunity to access authentic debating experience.

We have strong interest from students in Years 7-8 and  this shows great promise for the USC Debating Competition which commences in Term 3. Our Year 7 debaters were victorious in their first match for the ISDCN Debating competition.  With many well-crafted arguments and structurally sound rebuttal, our team showed tremendous teamwork and poise.  The topic was “That households should only be allowed one car.” Highlights from our match included the exorbitant amount of rebuttal points generated by all three team members, leaving the opposition to come up with different points on the fly.  Noah Barrett’s highlight of using environmentally friendly fuels was the dagger to our opponents’ cling to climate change. Juliette Harding Bradburn and Kira Dowrick’s use of gestures and effective manner were also key to our success when linking each other’s points to their own. Overall, everyone performed well and we look forward to the next challenge.  The other team of Year 8s from Bundaberg Christian College were quite astonished that our team was entirely composed of Year 7s as they spoke so well and clearly articulated a better side of the motion.

We’d like to thank Joel Tomkins for his assistance in the setup of the hardware and software needed for the online Competition. The Learning Hub provides an amazing space which facilitates this kind of learning and so we are grateful, every day, for being able to work and learn at St Andrew's!

2017 Virtual Debating Competition Results

Year 6 Debating Team


The UN Youth Voice Queensland Competition was held at St Andrew’s on Sunday 22 October and students from across schools on the Sunshine Coast  were welcomed to St Andrew’s to compete.

UN Youth Voice asks contestants to present their innovative solutions to some of the world’s most prominent and pressing issues. The competition encourages initiative and sustainability, rewarding substance in speeches as well as speaking manner and structure. 

Students are invited to select the issue about which they are most passionate from four provided topics. The aim is to suggest tangible and achievable solutions to the complications surrounding their given topic. This is presented through a prepared speech, with a judges’ “Question Time” component.

This is an exciting addition to the range of speaking and debating opportunities in which St Andrew’s students can participate. Please see below for more information on the United Nations Youth Australia EVATTS Competition.


If you are interested in either the EVATTS Competition or the 'Voice' Competition, please see Mrs Guy or send her an email at 

News & Events

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 (All day) to Thu, 29 Mar 2018 (All day)
Thu, 25 Jan 2018 -
3:30pm to 4:30pm

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 - 7:00am
Fri, 02 Feb 2018 - 4:30pm
Tue, 06 Feb 2018 -
6:30pm to 8:00pm

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 -
6:00pm to 7:00pm

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 -
1:00pm to 1:40pm

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 -
7:15am to 1:00pm

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 -
6:00pm to 7:00pm

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 -
1:00pm to 1:40pm