Primary Schools State Debating Championships

Year 5 and 6

Representative regional teams engage in a series of round-robin debates and workshops with experienced adjudicators. At the end of 5 rounds of competition, 4 teams compete in semi-finals with the winners going on to meet for the state championship.

The primary debating team winners for 2018 hold their trophy

What is the Primary Schools State Debating Championships?

In our debating competitions we split NSW up into ten different regions. In Term 3 each region runs debating trials to pick a squad of their very best primary school debaters. That squad goes on to represent the region against the other nine regions at a championships debating camp where the 40-odd best debaters in the state battle it out to see which region comes out on top. The camp at which the championships is held generally runs from a Sunday afternoon until Wednesday morning in November, and there's a fee for students who are selected to represent their region, though there's also some assistance available to speakers to help with travel costs.

This year the championships will be at the Collaroy Centre on Sydney's northern beaches from Sunday 5 to Wednesday 8 November. You can read all about the plans for the championships by downloading the 2023 Primary Schools State Debating Championships information guide (PDF 445.97 KB). Finally, here’s a list of past champions of the Primary Schools State Debating Championships.

What are the rules of the championships?

  • Competitors must be from Year 5 or Year 6 and attending a NSW government public school. Only one student may be selected per school and each student may compete at state level only twice.
  • The regional representative squad can consist of up to five members.
  • Debates will run following the standard rules of the Premier's Debating Challenge, including a one-hour unassisted preparation time and a 4-minute speaking time.
  • Each team will debate five times in the round-robin section of the championships.
  • The four teams with the most wins will move on to the semi-finals. They will be ranked by the adjudicators so that the best two teams are given the opportunity to meet in the state final.
  • In the event that teams draw for semi-final spots, tiebreakers will be applied in the following order: head-to-head, strength of win, strength of schedule, adjudicator ranking. If more than 2 teams are drawn, the tiebreakers are applied in order until one team is eliminated and the process is restarted.
  • The winners of the semi-finals will proceed to the state final. All teams are expected to attend the state final.

How do I find out about the trials in my region?

The trials won't be planned for a while, but we'll put dates and details here when they are. We'll also email all the schools and teachers in the Premier's Debating Challenge once the trials are organised so you won't miss out.

Region Trials information
Hunter/Central Coast Thursday 14 September @ Belair Public School (trial nomination form)
Illawarra and South East Friday 15 September @ Goulburn South Public School
New England Wednesday 20 September @ Nemingha Public School
North Coast Monday 18 September @ South Grafton PS, Tuesday 19 September @ Frederickton PS
Northern Sydney Thursday 31 August @ Wakehurst Public School (trial nomination form)
Riverina Thursday 12 October @ Henty Public School
South Western Sydney Wednesday 20 September @ Blairmount Public School
Sydney Tuesday 10 October @ Bellevue Hill Public School (trial nomination form)
Western NSW Friday 13 October (don't be scared!) @ Bathurst West Public School
Western Sydney Complete

 Watch the most recent finals

NSW Premier's Debating Challenge 2022 - Primary Schools State Debating Championships final


For the first time since 2019 the 10 different regions across NSW selected their very best primary school debaters to represent them at these championships which were held over 4 days in November.

2019 Primary Schools State Debating Championships Final


Every year 10 different regions across NSW select their very best primary school debaters to represent them at these championships which are held over 4 days in November at Collaroy.