Years 5&6 Debating Challenge

Latest competition news

Some activity in the Premier's Debating Challenge is postponed to support efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and maintain the safety and well-being of students and staff. Teams from an area where the current advice is to keep students at home if possible will need to wait before continuing in the competition, and we'll be in touch with teachers as soon as the health advice changes. Teams outside of those areas can continue to debate but must do so online as an added protection against COVID-19. If you have any queries about the competition please contact the Speaking Competitions Officer at (02) 8512 1172 or email

If you're wondering whether primary school debating has bounced back after 2020, the answer is yes: this year there are 949 teams (the most ever) competing across 156 zones (ditto) in 1,898 round robin debates (you get the idea). Thanks for jumping back on board to make this the hugest competition we've ever had the pleasure to run!

The 2020 Years 5&6 champions from North Sydney Public School
The 2020 state champions from North Sydney Public School

As to 2020, the Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 5&6 finally wrapped up on the last Monday of the school year! For the first time ever the final was held online with parents, classmates, and the odd quarter-finalist team Zooming in to lend their support to the Terrigal Public Tigers and the North Sydney Public River teams. In one of the closest finals we’ve ever seen, it was the North Sydney team who were crowned state champions for this crazy year! The video of the final is at the bottom of this page so that you can see for yourselves just how smashing Terrigal and North Sydney were, and you can also see how the the 2020 knockout finals series played out. Because there were so, so many teams involved it’s a bit hard to read the earlier debates but it’ll give you a good sense of where Terrigal and North Sydney came from, who they defeated along the way, and all the schools who made it through to the finals as well as the teams who have been named 2020 regional champions.

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 870 teams entering in 2018. At every level of the challenge the debates involve 1-hour unassisted preparation, which means that the 4 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 4 such round-robin debates and a series of knock-out finals, the remaining 10 regional champions meet at a 3-day camp for a series of debates to determine the state champion.

You can check out the list of past state champions by clicking here, and you can watch the 2020 final below or go 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.