Combined High Schools Debating

Year 11 and 12

Nominations for the Combined High Schools squad for 2021 are now open!

Teams comprise 4 members, who compete in debates against government and non-government schools. Medallions and CHS ties are awarded to team members of both the Firsts and the Seconds, and the NSW Representative Debating Cup is awarded to the champion representative team.

Debating team

How to apply

This year we will be selecting a firsts, seconds and thirds team, and for the first time, talented debaters from rural areas are invited to try out for the squad!

Register interest and nominate a student by Friday 25 July.

  1. Register your school's interest via 2021 Combined High Schools Debating Competition in the new TAU Community portal. Your principal will approve your application. Download the Quick guide for help on applying for this program and the Quick guide for Principal approval for help.
  2. Create a CHS Debating – student nomination form to provide student information, and an audition URL for regional students unable to attend the trial in person. Please enter 4 students max. per school. Include any relevant speaking competition experience and awards/recognition in the biography. 
  3. Add The Arts Unit Community tile in Staff portal (My websites > Add to my essentials).

We encourage regional entrants to submit a video URL of the student delivering a prepared, impromptu, or debating speech of 6-8 minutes if unable to attend the trial in Lewisham. Students attending the Lewisham trial do not submit a URL but participate in 3 debates on the trial day.

Rules of competition

  • Competitors must be from Years 11 and 12.
  • Teams are comprised of 4 members.
  • Speakers are to speak for 8 minutes with a warning bell at 6 minutes, 2 bells at 8 minutes and a continuous bell at 9 minutes.
  • The topics will only be disclosed, and agreed upon, immediately prior to preparation time.
  • Teams must prepare their debates within a predetermined time limit of one hour.

Stages of competition

  • Students are nominated by coaches and adjudicators and selection trials take place on Saturday 17 July, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the beginning of Term 3 at The Arts Unit, corner of Toothill Steet and The Boulevarde, Lewisham.
  • Selected students participate in a series of coaching sessions.
  • The 3 competition debates take place in Term 3.
  • Firsts, Seconds and Thirds debates are held simultaneously in the evening at a host school. Social distancing restrictions permitting, parents and teachers are encouraged to attend.


Medallions and CHS ties are awarded to team members of the Firsts, Seconds, and Thirds. The NSW Representative Debating Cup is awarded to the Champion representative team. 

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