Junior State Debating Championships

Year 9 and 10

The Junior State Debating Championships involve representative regional teams. Teams engage in a series of debates and workshops with experienced adjudicators, before the winning regional team is awarded the Neil Gunther Shield.

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Junior debating team

What is the Junior 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 Years 9 and 10 debaters. That squad goes on to represent the region against the other nine regions at a championships debating camp which generally runs from Monday to Wednesday morning in early December at the Women's College of the University of Sydney. 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. You can see more detailed information on how the championships run by downloading the 2024 Junior State Debating Championships Information Guide (PDF 483.96 KB).

What are the rules of the championships?

  • Competitors must be from Year 9 or Year 10 and attending a NSW government school. Only one student may be selected per school and each student may compete at state level only once.
  • 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 an 8-minute speaking time.
  • Each team will debate five times in the round-robin section of the championships.
  • The teams will be placed into 2 pools of 5, and will debate the other 4 teams in their pool plus one matched team from the other pool. The 2 highest-ranked teams from each pool will proceed to the semi-finals, where the winner of one pool will meet the runner-up from the other pool.
  • 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 2024 information TBC
Illawarra and South East Thursday 19 September @ Illawarra Sports High School (click to apply)
New England 2024 information TBC
North Coast Wednesday 23 October @ Toormina High School (applications open soon)
Northern Sydney 2024 information TBC
Riverina 2024 information TBC
South Western Sydney 2024 information TBC
Sydney 2024 information TBC
Western NSW 2024 information TBC
Western Sydney 2024 information TBC