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2017 Schools Debating (NSW)

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Frank Nicholson (4)
Thread for discussion and thoughts and news of different Sydney/NSW schools competitions.
Primarily dealing with the premier competitions of ISDA, Archdale, GPS, CAS and Premiers Debating challenge as well as their respective representative teams and state team. There are many more competitions. I will discuss them on this post later but here is the list for now:

Term 1:
ISDA (Independent Schools Debating Association)
The premier term 1 private school competition. On paper it is an A grade competition, in reality its more combined A/B grade. 32 schools divided into 4 pools. Each pool competes in a round robin over 7 debates. top 4 schools in each pool break to Octo finals. Some of the top teams enter into this competition but it also features schools that dont or have limited/no coaching programs and get stomped each round and probably dont benefit much being in it. The competition also has a waiting list involving some big name debating schools that would probably be better off in the comp instead but wont be able to join anytime soon due to imo, the politics of the association. People like to use it to predict Archdale/CAS/GPS debates but the problem is that with 16 venues with each friday night the adj pool quality is wildly variable at best. Some days teams draw some top uni debaters. Other days they draw judges who dont even know how to debate.
FED (Friday Evening Debating)
A smaller competition that runs concurrently with Eastside and ISDA. Its used by most schools as a development competition whilst competing in other competitions.
A eastern suburbs competition that features some really strong debating schools like Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls and SCEGGS Darlinghurst. These schools often put up some of their best teams making it an A grade competition but rumour has it that the quality is, like ISDA in decline.
HICES Debating (Heads of independent Co Educational Schools)
A B grade competition involving lots of smaller coed independent schools across NSW. Most of the schools are in various parts of outer sydney. Most schools have no coaching and barely established debating programs. Most adjudicators are teachers and the topic pool is as much a lucky dip as the adj draw. Competition is dominated by a handful of schools that actually have some coaching and institutional knowledge like Emanuel School.
PDC (Premiers Debating Challenge)
An A/B grade competition and the only established competition (other than Eastside) for Public Schools. PDC involves schools competing in zones of 4-6 teams across 3 rounds + tiebreakers and the zone winners compete in knockouts until the reach the regional finals before progressing to the state level finals. Competition is dominated by selective schools in the Sydney and Northern Sydney Regions (eg Sydney Boys, Sydney Girls, Manly Selective, Hornsby Girls).
Term 2:
CSDA (Catholic Schools Debating Association )
Catholic schools comp. A C grade competition. The metro competition is probably one of the largest private school competitions in Sydney if not Australia. However the competition is known for using its own weird metrics for judging debates, some really strange topics (like metaphorical topics) and the adj pool is a combination of teachers and ex students who volunteer and judge their own school's teams. Schools that do well here like Pius don't do well in other competitions because of how different the quality and approach is.
I heard they rebranded it but idk what it is called. A C grade social/development competition for 7/8 teams at some lower north shore schools.
An A grade competition for the Independent Girls Schools in Sydney. Involves 21 or so schools in a 3 pool competition and 7 debate round robin with break to Quarter Finals (or tiebreakers). The seniors in recent years have been dominated by MLC, Abbotsleigh, SCEGGS Darlinghurst, PLC Sydney and Monte. Seniors was won in 2016 by MLC. The Archdale Shield was won by Abbotsleigh.
Competition between the state teams. State team selections take place in March. Best speakers from nationals get selected for the Australian Schools team to compete at World Schools which is in Indonesia this year.

Term 3:
An A grade competiton of the Combined Associated Schools (Barker, Knox, Trinity, Aloys, Waverly and Cranbrook). The competition runs in term 3 and is known for attracting high quality adjes with its high pay rate for experienced judges. The competition picked up a new CA last year in the form of GPS wunderkind Jimmy Stratton. I dont remember who won 2016 though.
An A grade competition of the GPS Schools (Kings, Grammar, Scots, Shore, Newington, Joeys, View and High). The competition usually sees some top quality debates in the 1sts but the competition itself has been a bit rocky over the last few years with some changes to the format and rumors of tensions over certain changes that were pushed. If I remember correctly, the competition picked up a new CA last year after a rather long process.. in 2016 the 1sts was won by High. 2nds won by Grammar.

SDN (Schools Debating Network)
A B grade competition of various north shore schools. Used mainly as a development comp. The quality of the competition has picked up in recent years. Involves Abbotsleigh, Monte, Roseville, St Pius, Stella Maris, Riverview, Wenona and Redlands. Roseville and Abbotsleigh tend to be the favourites for this comp. In 2016 Senior A was won by Abbotsleigh and Senior B was won by Monte.

Reps (Archdale vs CAS vs GPS vs CHS)
A series of debates between the reps teams at the end of term 3. Wins earn points toward the tally and the team with the most points wins. In 2016, CHS and Archdale were joint victors.

A 9/10 regional reps competition for CHS students representing their respective regions. Students can only compete once and only one student from any school in the team making for some interesting lineups, though probably to the disadvantage of regions like west sydney that have less schools with strong debating teams.

Last year's thread kind of died off a bit so might be worth encouraging your debating peers to contribute. More information means for better informed discussion. Please be mindful of forum rules when posting and the always useful rule of thumb: Be Nice.


Peter Burge (5)
Nice to see a 2017 thread. ISDA, FED and Eastside have all started.
Someone posted the names of students in the NSW teams, are there any school names or year groups as well? See what kind of students they are taking this year.

Any predictions for teams for GPS, CAS or any others? Who are the favourites? I know it is a bit early in the season, but knowing who to look out for now is always nice.


Frank Nicholson (4)
The list in the 2016 thread was just callbacks. Im sure a squad list will be up by the weekend.

My ISDA Predictions for Senior A making Octos.

PLC Sydney
St Aloysius


Pymble or St Caths


Pool A is probably the most difficult this year. Pool C or D would be the most even. A lot of the GPS schools arent at their strongest this year though. Scots have like one strong speaker that will get them to the finals but I dont know if thats good enough to get to the grand final this time around. If View were in pool A I wouldnt count on them making finals. Im not aware of any strong speakers coming up through the ranks at Joeys or Kings and word is that Grammar while probably still a favourite isn't at the level it was a few years ago. Id lean towards some of the CAS/Archdale schools being contenders for the title this year. MLC and Abbotsleigh I'd rate as strong chances. Actually im not too sure on the CAS teams. Though Im sure some would disagree with this assessment.


Peter Burge (5)
Grammar reportedly have 3 year 11's in there 1st's team this year, something which may hold them back this year but would obviously pay off in 2018.

I can't speak for ISDA but for GPS the favourites have to be High. Grammar's got a young team, Scots, View are apparently weaker than last year so that really only leaves one tea,.


Allen Oxlade (6)
ISDA Round 1 Results (Round 2 Results out later in the week)

Group A

Grammar def. Stella Maris
Scots def. Loretto Kirribilli
Monte. def. St Aloysius
PLC Sydney def. Kings

Group B

Abbotsleigh def. St Augustines
MLC def. Queenwood
Kambala def. Wenona
Shore def. Kambala

Group C

Roseville def. St Andrews
Pymble. def Brigidine
Riverview def. Redlands
Knox def. St Catherines

Group D

Barker def. St Lukes
Kincoppal def. Trinity
St Josephs def. Ravenswood
Cranbrook def. Ascham

don't h8 just deb8

Stan Wickham (3)
Grammar have got to be kidding themselves with their team this year. MLC will surely cruise through ISDA, possibly having issues with Scots who have paid for their recent success and Abbotsleigh who somehow continue to have renewed talent, albeit not extraordinary.

Also, state team predictions anyone?

I hear Isabella Monardo and Ella Finlay are shoe-ins, but sources say that Daniel Yim is an overrated Stratton-wannabe who had every case written for him last year. In the absence of a Sydney Girls year 12 team, we may see a renewed Indigo Crosweller come to the fore...

I'm excited.


Bob McCowan (2)
Interestingly, despite High being the favourites, they don't seem to be represented as well in the state callbacks list in comparison to schools such as SGHS or Grammar, I doubt their new team is as strong as the last one.

#1 Rugby Fan

Bob McCowan (2)
A few points to note:
High has 1 firsts member who has rolled over from last year, the ever illustrious Hugh Bartley but it has excellent coaching (does anyone know who is Senior 1s coach this year?) so the whole team will be fine. SGHS has lost Eden Blair and SBHS has lost Thomas Shortridge but their spread and extent of talent and good quality coaching means that we will be seeing more of those schools this season.

Grammar 1s has 2 members back this year - Wyatt Batt (a lot of att's) and Daniel Yim who are both quite impressive. @don't h8 just deb8 seems to have a lot of h8 indeed, considering Daniel being on state team in year 10 and has been notably improving since that experience. Tbh, everyone's a stratton-wannabe anyway.

MLC has lost some of its very successful Archdale Seniors team to the HSC and IB but has a few interesting new speakers coming up - we will see what happens there, but Ella Finlay and Claris Foo are always, always excellent and saw a huge amount of success last season.

Abbotsleigh retains Maddy Rogers who was on Archdale 2s and is consistently good at all positions. Allegra McCormack from the same reps team is really well regarded by coaches and debaters alike for being a very astute 2nd and 3rd speaker - Kambala firsts could see some success. Isabella Monardo from Kincoppal Rose Bay (another unusual school!) could take that team very far - she is a brilliant and very well rounded debater.

In non-private school debating, Emily Kim from NSGHS was on CHS reps last year and has continued to impress - she's very bright. Emmie Mattana, also CHS reps, is now in Melbourne and didn't trial this weekend.

Interesting things to note here
- 29 callback debaters for State is an unusually large number - there are seemingly alternate 3rd affs as well as negs.
- Year 12 debaters to watch do not seem to be concentrated in the traditionally excellent debating schools - some very interesting names here from unexpected schools. We may see a few upsets in traditional debating hierarchies over the school season.
- Archdale's surprise co-win with the megapowered CHS (Tandee, Eden, Shortridge, Koslowski) in reps last year speaks to the strength of the year 11 (then) 1sts and 2nds, as well as the now-graduated 12s (1 speaking in 1sts, 1 speaking in 2nds). Possibly why we're seeing a surprisingly female dominated year 12 debating list.

Try not to drag anyone on here by name it's rather rude. Happy debating!


Peter Burge (5)
Interestingly, despite High being the favourites, they don't seem to be represented as well in the state callbacks list in comparison to schools such as SGHS or Grammar, I doubt their new team is as strong as the last one.

I don't really think High will have a team as strong as last year's team for quite a while. That being said, I believe it would probably be the illustrious Hugh Bartley, and some of the boys from the Seconds team last year.
Interestingly, Hugh is also the school captain of High this year, showing that debaters can get to high leadership positions. Also saw this in the news about him:



Bob McCowan (2)
The seconds from High last year lost to Grammar. I heard they also got knocked out early in the PDC competition; we could see a case of hard carrying from the ever illustrious Hugh Bartley.

That's a great initiative in High though.


Frank Nicholson (4)
The seconds from High last year lost to Grammar. I heard they also got knocked out early in the PDC competition; we could see a case of hard carrying from the ever illustrious Hugh Bartley.

That's a great initiative in High though.
Had PDC started already?
It is possible to lose a round and win. Though that is relying on the other teams each taking a loss and forcing a tiebreak. Manly did it last year. Lost one of their main rounds and still made it to the grand final.
Or were you referring to last year's pdc season?
Also the video was nice but I was disappointed that a bunch of men talking about women's rights was getting so much exposure at the expense of all the women doing their things and their stories. Anyway. O/T. So back to debating, correct that grammar 2nds won last year but idk if the teams are this year's 1sts.

Does anyone know how eastside is tracking?


Allen Oxlade (6)
Round 2 Results - ISDA Senior A

Group A

Grammar def. Loretto Kirribili
Scots def. Stella Maris
Kings def. St Aloysius
PLC Sydney def. Monte

2 Wins - Grammar, PLC Sydney, Scots
1 Win - Kings, Monte
0 Wins - Loretto Kirribili, Stella Maris, St Aloysius

Group 2

Abbotsleigh def. Queenwood (Forfeit)
MLC def. St Augustines
Tangara def. Kambala
Shore def. Wenona

2 Wins - Abbotsleigh, MLC, Shore
1 Win - Kambala, Tangara
0 Wins - Queenwood, Wenona, St Augustines

Group 3

Brigidine def. Roseville
St Andrews def. Pymble
Riverview def. Knox
Redlands def. St Catherines

2 Wins - Riverview
1 Win - Brigidine, Roseville, St Andrews, Pymble, Knox, Redlands
0 Wins - St Catherines

Group 4

Barker def. Trinity
Kincoppal def. St Lukes
Ravenswood def. Ascham
St Josephs def. Cranbrook

2 Wins - Barker, Kincoppal, St Josephs
1 Win - Ravenswood, Barker
0 Wins - Trinity, St Lukes, Ascham


Peter Burge (5)
So anyway Eastside topic was "That parents should not bring up their children with a particular religion"

Seems quite heavily neg-waited, seemingly came out in a lot of results


Peter Burge (5)
I know that High was Aff and Lost, and their Yr 11s were Neg and won. I think this also happened at a few other schools where their AFF teams all lost. Shame that such a topic, though somewhat relevant, would be made so heavily one-sided.


Frank Row (1)
Hello All. Sorry to crash your forum, but I'm hoping your collective expertise might be able to assist my team of debaters. A couple of years ago, I agreed to coach a debating program at Seaforth Public School. I'm a parent, not a teacher, with a bit of experience in the field. I coached the Tasmanian Schools Team to a grand final (2nd to NSW...) subsequent to having adjudicated to finals level.

The program at Seaforth has grown quite nicely and we now have a dedicated bunch not without talent. What they do lack, though, is formal competition. We entered the Premier's Debating Challenge last year with some good results, but I haven't been able to identify other competitions that our teams might have a crack at.

Any guidance most gratefully received.



Peter Burge (5)
So as far as I can remember when I went primary school there were two competitions, one was Premier's Debating Challenge which is where topics are given an hour beforehand and the second was the local area competition, where teams where given the motion a week before. So I would try see if there's a similar program in the North Shore. If not then that's probably it, primary school debating is pretty limited.

Still, good luck to your team!
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