Years 5&6 Debating Challenge

Latest competition news

The Years 5&6 champions from Hastings Public School with the trophy.

The 2018 Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 5&6 has finished up and it’s our great pleasure to report that the team from Hastings Public School are our state champions for 2018! If you’re not sure, they’re a school in Port Macquarie on the north coast and they’ve been a bit of a debating powerhouse for a while now thanks to some great coaching (and, y’know, brilliant kids!) so it’s fantastic to see them get their first state title. They went through the championships undefeated but were certainly pushed in the state final by the near-equally brilliant Summer Hill Public School team who deserve our congratulations as well. You can watch Hastings successfully affirming “That every school should put the smartest kids into a separate class” in a video at the bottom of this page, and that’s them in the photo with the Premier's Debating Challenge trophy.

By way of a wrap-up for the year, we once again broke the record for the number of teams entered in the Years 5&6 age division with 876 entries (we can’t really tell but it has to be close to the most teams that have ever entered any debating competition anywhere). That starts with 3,929 primary students attending one of the day-long debating workshops before taking part in the 1,746 regular round debates and nearly 200 sudden-death finals to determine the Years 5&6 champions. Of course that can’t happen without a lot of work from a lot of great teachers around the state so our thanks to all of you for keeping everything running along and for going the extra mile yet again to make sure your students get the chance to compete. It speaks volumes about all of you that such a huge competition can run so smoothly and to schedule, so on behalf of the department thanks for all that extra work you’ve taken on (be sure to pass that on to your principals as well)!

We’re already planning next year’s primary debating days in some regions so keep an eye out for information on that before term ends. Entries for the 2019 challenge will be open when you get back to school next year and I’m sure we’ll have even more teams ready and waiting to take over from the Hastings champs!

Years 5&6 information

The Years 5&6 competition started out in 1995 as a challenge issued by the primary school debating champion from the Hunter Region to other regional winners, which is why the trophy awarded to the state champion is called the Hunter Challenge Trophy. It's quickly grown since then to become by far the largest age division in the Premier's Debating Challenge, with over 800 teams entering in 2017. At every level of the challenge the debates involve 1-hour unassisted preparation, which means that the four team members only find out the topic 1 hour before the debate, and are then given an hour without any help from a teacher or anyone else to prepare their case. After four such round-robin debates and a series of knock-out finals, the remaining ten regional champions meet at a three-day camp for a series of debates to determine the state champion.

Competition timetable Topic area
Round 1 to be completed by Friday 25 May (Week 4 Term 2) Education
Round 2 to be completed by Friday 15 June (Week 7 Term 2) The media
Round 3 to be completed by Friday 6 July (Week 10 Term 2) Parents & kids
Round 4 to be completed by Friday 3 August (Week 2 Term 3) Health & fitness
Round 5 to be completed by Friday 17 August (Week 4 Term 3 - only if required) Sports
Zone winners to be finalised by Friday 17 August (Week 4 Term 3) General
Regional finals to take place in the second half of Term 3 and early Term 4 General
Championships to take place from Sun 18 to Wed 21 November, Stanwell Tops Various


You can see a list of past winners of the competition by clicking here, and you can watch the 2018 final below by either clicking play, or if you prefer you can click here and you'll be taken to Vimeo to watch the debate. There you'll have more options like being able to download the video or jump between speakers by clicking on their times. Congratulations again to these debaters and everyone who made the competition such a success.