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Welcome to the DAV Website
The DAV is a non-profit association which exists to promote debate. It is the peak debating body in Victoria and runs large competitions for adults and for schools across Victoria. It provides training and resources for debaters, teachers and adjudicators.

Schools Competition
(Yr 9-12 Debating)

2024 Schools Competition

With over two hundred and fifty schools, fifteen hundred teams, four grades, twenty regions, five rounds and a seven-night finals series, the DAV Schools Competition is the largest English-language debating competition in the world.   Registration for the DAV Schools Competition is now open, with first round debates taking place from February 21st.  We welcome participation from all high schools, whether public or private, and our focus is to make the competition as inclusive as possible, providing a welcoming but competitive environment for students to hone their skills and build their confidence. The competition is open for students in years 9 to 12 (if you are interested in debating for students in years 7 and 8, please take a look at our Junior Secondary Program). The DAV is also able to provide a variety of training programs to assist students prepare for the competition ahead. If you would like to book one of our experienced trainers please see our training services.

The competition is divided into 20 regions encompassing both inner and outer Melbourne suburbs, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The format of the competition is Australian 3-on-3 style (see the Australia-Asia Debating Guide) – with three speakers to each team, debating over five rounds, spread across the year.  Students in years ten and above have the opportunity to debate a mix of prepared and secret topics (secret topics are announced only on the night of the debate), while students in year nine are introduced to the competition through a series of prepared topics.  At the end of the five regional rounds, eligible teams continue on into a six-night finals series.  

The DAV also runs a number of debating programs and competitions for students in regional Victoria.  For more information about these programs, please take a look at our Regional Debating Programs.

For more information about the Schools Competition, feel free to contact Kim Hitchcock.

Why Debate?
Debating is an invaluable skill for students:

  • it promotes confidence and effective public presentation
  • it encourages logical and critical thinking, social awareness and an interest in current affairs
  • it is multi-disciplinary: debating techniques can be used in all subject areas.its benefits extend through all aspects of the school curriculum
  • it is well directed to address the “critical and creative thinking”, “ethical”, “intercultural”, and “personal and social” dimensions of the Victorian curriculum.

Click here to access our Schools competition resource guides. 2024 topics and resource guides will be released in Term One 2024.


2024 Schools Competition (In Person)

To register please login to the website using your school coordinator details and select register for the Schools Competition. If you do not possess a login please e-mail debater@dav.com.au for more information.
  • As you will be aware, we have continued to experience adjudicator shortages. As such, the cap of 4 teams per grade will remain in 2024. We appreciate that this will limit participation in some school communities, but we believe that it is more prudent to cap participation before the season begins than disappoint students with cancellations at short notice. Coordinators will be able to enter more than 4 teams on the website, and we will notify coordinators if any additional accommodations can be made, but this is likely to be in rare instances.
  • Additionally, please note that unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate teams of students younger than year 9 in the senior competition in 2024. Schools who wish to enter year 7-8 students can submit an application for exemption if there is no proximate Junior Secondary Program region (JSP) or in other extenuating circumstances.
  • Teams must have a minimum of 4 students and may have up to 9 students
  • Teams will be allocated to their first preference where possible, and schools will be allocated in the order that their registration is received.

  • Registration closes on Wednesday 14 February.

    2024 Online Schools Competition

    We will once again be offering an online version of the schools competition that will run alongside the in person competition. Due to limited demand we will only be running online on Wednesdays in 2024. D grade debates will run at 4pm and all other grades will run at 5:30pm. Registration is open here

  • Schools will be able to enter up to 4 teams per grade
  • Teams may have up to 9 students

  • Dates are available here

  • All online debates will run on Zoom.
  • Protocols can be found here (these provide advice specific to Zoom software, but we will send further details to any teams using alternatives prior to debates occurring).
  • Video conferencing safety advice can be found here

  • Finals
  • As per the DAV's Rules for School Competitions, top ranked teams will progress to finals
  • Teams will join the in person competition teams for finals.
  • Teams must have participated in a minimum of 3 rounds to be eligible for playoffs.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Do the speakers in a team have to be in one location?
    No. We expect that most teams will prefer to debate from the same location, but there is no specific requirement for them to do so. The location of speakers will be up to the teams, their schools and their families.