Debating and public speaking



Abbotsleigh has a fine tradition of debating and in recent years has established a reputation for consistent results in competitive debating. Our debating program offers girls the chance to participate in competition debating or to join the debating squad.

Competition debating

The School participates in the following major competitions:

  • Independent Schools Debating Association (ISDA), where 32 schools are divided into four zones
  • Archdale Debating Competition. Established in the early 1970s in honour of Miss Betty Archdale, former Headmistress of Abbotsleigh and strong advocate of educational opportunities for girls. Today 22 schools are divided into three zones
  • Sydney Debating Network (SDN) involves eight school from Sydney’s north.
Abbotsleigh debating
  • Debating squad is an internal debating program which runs throughout the year. Girls receive coaching and debate socially in internal debates and against local schools.
  • House debating is a great Abbotsleigh tradition and is an annual event.


Public speaking

The public speaking program teaches confidence, persuasive speaking skills and raises awareness of global issues. Students compete in a number of competitions including:

  • Rostrum Voice of Youth
  • Legacy Public Speaking
  • SMH Plain English Speaking Award

Many of these competitions provide the opportunity to progress to state and national finals. Within the School there is a weekly public speaking workshop open to all students from Years 7-12.