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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)

2022 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. 2022 topics and resource guides will be released in Term One 2022.


2022 Schools Competition (In Person)

We will be returning to in person competition in 2022.

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.

- Schools will be able to enter up to 8 teams per grade, depending on venue capacity

- 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 Friday 11 February.

2022 Online Schools Competition

We will once again be offering an online version of the schools competition that will run alongside the in person competition. D grade debates will run at 4pm and all other grades will run at 5:30pm.

- Schools will be able to enter up to 2 teams per grade
- Teams may have up to 9 students
- Teams will be allocated into regions according to the day and time they compete, dependent on registration numbers in each grade (ie you may be in the Wednesday Region). This will be clarified at the close of registration.
Register via this form by Friday 11 February.

- Our preference for video conferencing software is Zoom, but we are aware this will not be suitable for all teams. The registration form allows for a number of software platforms to be used, and preference to be noted.
- 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
- 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

Can I register more than 2 teams in different "regions"?
Two teams per grade is the number we chose as we are confident we have the technical and human resources to cover that number of debates. If registration overall is lower than expected or we have low availability on particular evenings, we will be able to offer additional teams to all registered schools, but at this stage two teams per grade is all we can guarantee.

Do I have to register all my teams for the same time slot? 
No. Note any specific team availability/preferences when you complete the registration form. As we will try to have even numbers in each time slot, your teams may be spread across more than one.

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.