Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 11 and 12

Years 11 and 12

The competition is open to senior students in NSW government schools. Teams compete in a series of knockout debates to decide the winner of the prestigious Hume Barbour Trophy.

debating team

Latest news

Entries have closed and debating is well underway in this year's Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 11 and 12! Teams involved in the competition need to be familiar with the 2024 Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 11 and 12 Information Guide (PDF 1.77 MB). Finally, you can use this link to see a summary of the teams involved and their win/loss record. Best of luck for the 2024 competition!

About the competition

This competition began in 1930 with the generous donation of a trophy by Miss Hume-Barbour, a descendant of Hume the explorer, after whom the Hume Highway is named. The trophy, depicting the Ancient Greek orator Demosthenes, was the work of the noted sculptor Rayner Hoff who was also responsible for the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park.

Teams take part in a series of one hour preparation debates with both sides having a choice of 3 topics. This age division of the challenge is supported by our Venue Partner University of Sydney.

Format of the competition

The Years 11 and 12 competition runs differently to the other age divisions with a more flexible draw to allow busy senior students to compete. Teams will compete in a knockout competition where they will be matched up against another team for their first debate as soon as they are entered, and they’ll debate online over Zoom with The Arts Unit providing the adjudicator. If they win that first debate, they’ll move on to round 2 and be paired up against another winner. If they lose, each team will have 1 life, so they won’t be eliminated but won’t progress to round 2 either – they’ll just be paired up against another team who needs a round 1 debate. Teams can use their life at any time during the first 4 rounds. If they lose a second debate they’ll be eliminated, but we’ll continue to match up teams for as many friendly debates as they’d like.

If 2 teams can’t agree quickly on date and time, the organisers will find them different opponents, and if things get too busy or the team starts to feel overloaded, teams can drop out without having to forfeit and cost someone else a chance to debate. The competition will begin in February with the state final to be held in early August.

The 2024 Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 11 and 12 State Final is proudly supported by University of Sydney and ACCO Brands Australia.

All Arts Unit programs are inclusive. If support is required to participate in the Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 11 and 12, please email so that we can assist.