This may not be a great place to have conversations about the rhetorical arts, but as far as I am aware there is no other place on the 'net that discusses school debating in Australia. Maybe I can start a trend. And besides, I figure that if cycling can be discussed, debating can too! For the uninitiated, debating in NSW is a highly competitive affair, indeed it is probably the most competitive state/territory in the world, let alone Australia. There are a few main competitions that run throughout the year at a school level: ISDA (Independent Schools Debating Association) - ISDA is made up of 32 independent schools (as you probably figured). It is generally considered to be the most prestigious, and also the most difficult competition to win. It runs during terms 1 and 2, with competitions in all years from 5 - 12. At opens levels there are two tiers - Senior A and Senior B. Sydney Grammar is the reigning champion of the ISDA Senior A title, with an undefeated 2014. GPS (Great Public Schools) - Many would be familiar with the GPS, the 124 (odd) year old academic/sporting union between Sydney Grammar, Sydney Boys High School, St. Ignatius' College (Riverview), St. Joseph's College, Newington College, The Armidale School, The Kings School, The Scots College, and Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore). The GPS competition is an interesting competition, as it isn't the quantity of the teams that makes it difficult to win, but rather the quality of the teams - every team is strong (generally). Sydney Grammar is the reining champion of the Opens 1st competition, they were undefeated in 2014. This competition is contested in term 3. CAS (Combined Associated Schools) - The CAS, like the GPS, is a union between a number of well-know schools throughout NSW, including Cranbrook School, St. Aloysius' College, Waverley College, Trinity Grammar School, Knox Grammar School, and Barker College. Cranbrook won the competition in 2013, marking the first occasion they have done so outright. CAS debating runs in term 3. CSDA (Catholic Schools Debating Association - The CSDA competition is not a particularly prestigious competition, but it is one of the largest competitions in NSW with over 200 schools competing. Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta will defend their title in 2014. This competition runs from the later stages of Term 1, through to the start of term 3 if teams make finals. CHS (Combined High School) - The CHS competition is very large, and is highly competitive. The Premier's Debating Challenge is the name given to the competition, which is administered by the Arts Unit, a department of the government that aims to provide arts-based opportunities to school-aged kids in the public education system. In the year 11 & 12 competition, Sydney Boys High School won in 2014. I honestly don't know when this competition runs, but it would be between terms 1 and 3. Archdale - The Archdale competition is administered by AHIGS (Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools), with 21 schools in it, this competition is among the most competitive in NSW. The competition runs from the later stages of term 1, through to term 2. I am not sure who the reigning champion is in the Seniors. SDN (Schools Debating Network) - This is a small competition that runs in term 3 that includes St. Ignatius' College Riverview, Wenona School, Ravenswood School for Girls, Abbotsleigh School for Girls, Pymble Ladies College, Pittwater House, and Stella Maris. Friday Evening Debating - I honestly don't know much about this comp, other than the fact that it takes place on a Friday Evening. Eastside Debating Competition - Another comp I don't know too much about, other than that Sydney Grammar compete, and that it is mainly competed in by schools around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Clearly there is an abundance of competitions in Sydney, and I am sure that there are many more that I haven't named. In addition, there is a large amount of representative debating that takes place around Sydney, including fixtures between GPS, CAS, Archdale, and CHS merit representative teams. Perhaps most importantly, there is a NSW-wide representative team, the aptly named NSW Schools Debating team, which has won the most Australian Schools Championships (out of all the states and territories) by a fair margin. Beyond that, there is an Australian Schools team, which competes at a World Schools Debating Championship, which, thankfully, Australia has won the most of, again by a fair margin. On a side-note Sydney University are ranked number 1 in the world (out of all universities) and consistently perform well at World University Debating Championships, further reinforcing this idea that NSW is a strong debating state. For what it's worth, I think Riverview will have a very strong 1sts Debating side this year, so watch out for them in the ISDA Senior A, and GPS 1sts competitions. Sydney Grammar will obviously field a strong side, as they always do, and schools like Barker, St. Aloysius', Scots, Roseville Girls, SCEGGS Darlinghurst, PLC, Monte, Loreto Kirribilli, MLC, and many others, are bound to be incredibly strong. If you have any thoughts, contribute, I don't want to be the only person monitoring these forums.