Each year the QDU selects and trains the Queensland Schools Debating Team for the National Schools Debating Championship. Queensland has a strong record in this competition, and are currently the reigning National Champions having won the tournament in Sydney in 2016. Two members of the 2016 Queensland team also went on to represent Australia at the World Schools debating tournament in Stuttgart. In 2017, the QDU hosted the National Schools Debating Championships in Brisbane. In 2018, the team will travel to Perth for the competition in May.
We encourage anyone who thinks they have talent as a debater and is willing to spend a few weekends getting feedback to become better to trial. The QDU Official Selectors will select what the best team possible regardless of age, year level or prior experience. For that reason, any debater who is enthusiastic or curious about trialling is encouraged to do so.
Senior A debaters are strongly encouraged to nominate. Teams are reminded that for schools to be eligible for Senior A, it is expected that at least one member must nominate for State selection in the same year or have trialled in the past.
Promising debaters in Years 10, 11, and 12 should definitely also trial. Debaters from these lower grades are often selected in the Queensland Team and a number of students have participated in the Queensland Team for more than one year. Participation in trials also provides valuable experience, giving students an advantage in both QDU competition and future trials.
What happens during trials?
Students nominating for the Queensland Team will be required to participate in a selection process consisting of a series of elimination debates. Selection trials will be held over successive weekends in February and March in Brisbane. This will involve the preparation, presentation and adjudication of a senior level debate. Each round of selection will run for a period of approximately three hours.
Selection debates are all short preparation debates. The preparation time will be one hour.
Debates are of the style used by the Senior A competition. Speeches are of eight minutes duration with warning bells at one and seven minutes, with the exception of reply speeches, which run for four minutes with a warning bell at three minutes. The debates include points of information. All participants will be coached in this style of debating at the Brisbane Summer School and this information is also provided in the QDU Official Handbook.
Where possible, debaters will be allocated to debate in their preferred speaking positions, although debaters may be required to debate in different speaking positions. Detailed adjudications of each debate will be given, with a strong view to improving debaters’ technique.
Twelve debaters will be selected to form a training squad, with the four member team expected to be chosen in late March or early April.
How does participation affect school results?
The National Schools Debating Championships have been run since 1971. Throughout that time, members of the Queensland Team have enjoyed great academic success. Often, all four members of the team have achieved the highest possible Tertiary Entrance Score or Overall Position. Participation in the Queensland Team and its trial process improves students’ skills of analysis and communication, as well as their general knowledge of current events and issues. This is generally recognised as assisting students’ personal and academic development, and is usually reflected in students’ school results.
What happens if I can’t trial on a particular weekend?
If you nominate early, and make us aware of any particular conflicts, we will do our best to accommodate you. We cannot, however, make any promises. It’s most likely that if you can’t debate when you’ve been allocated, unless someone else drops out, you’re unlikely to be asked back.
What to bring to trials
Applicants trial in casual wear – you do not wear your school uniform. You should bring pen, paper, palm cards to use in the preparation room.