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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)

Schools Competition:

Frequently Asked Questions

The questions and answers compiled here are intended for debating coordinators.  To navigate to a particular topic you can use the links below:

Registration for the Schools Competition
Resources for New Coordinators

General Questions about the Schools Competition


Questions about Registration:

1) How do I register on the website?

You will need a username and password, which is included in your registration pack which is emailed during the first fortnight of the school year.  If you did not receive this or your school has not previously participated in our programs, let us know and we will send you a copy.

- Go to: https://dav.com.au/members/
- If you are not already logged in, you will be redirected to the log in page. Select "school coordinator" and enter your credentials

- You will be redirected to a page with a link “start registration for the Schools Competition”, click here.

- Now select your two region preferences and select “continue”.

- You will then need to indicate the number of teams you would like to enter in each grade and you will be directed to enter student names.

The whole process should take five minutes.  If you encounter any difficulties, please let us know.

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

2) When will schools be invoiced and what are this year's fees?

Invoices for team registration and this year's membership fee will be emailed in the week following close of registration. The 2024 fee table is published on the DAV website.

3) How many students can I have on a team?

The minimum number for any team is four and the maximum is nine. We encourage schools to register fewer teams with more students on each individual team, as this helps to prevent forfeits due to student commitments and illness. This year we will be strictly enforcing team numbers, so please ensure you meet these requirements.

4) Do I need to enter student names when I register?

While it is fine to leave student names blank at the time of registration you must enter these by the time your first round debates begin.  This information is used to calculate speaker scores for our annual Swannie Awards and to monitor teams throughout the competition and during finals. Teams that do not have registered speaker names by round one may be withdrawn from the competition.

5) What do I do if I need to change my registration?

You have until the registration cut-off date (14th February) to add or remove teams from your registration. If you wish to add or remove a team after this date, you will need to discuss this with us. Teams removed before the first round of debates will not incur a registration fee, however, if the team is removed less than a week before the first debate, you may be levied a forfeit fine.

6) Which region should I register in?

This is up to you, but we strongly recommend you select your region based on convenience of dates rather than convenience of location. Regions marked with an asterisk on the 2024 Schools Competition Dates sheet in your registration pack are likely to fill to capacity (it is first come, first served).

7) Can I register mixed year level teams?

Students in lower year levels can compete in higher grades (for example, a year eleven student who would normally debate in the B grade, can compete in the A grade), however the reverse (a year 12 student debating in B grade rather than A grade) is not usually allowed. Mixed teams can be an excellent option if you do not have enough students in one year level to field a team - just remember you will always need to enter that team in the grade of the oldest student. Exceptions can be made to this rule, but you must apply for a dispensation by writing to our Vice President (Schools).

8) Which key dates should I have in my diary?

Registration for the Schools Competition closes: Wednesday 14th February
Draws and topics published on DAV website: TBA
The DAV Annual General Meeting: 24th March 2024


Questions about first time coordinating:

9) Help! It's my first time coordinating and I'm not sure how this works!

A good place to start is the Schools Competition Handbook, available for download here.  The guide covers a lot of the administrative aspects of the competition, including a run-down of the overall structure of the competition, speaking times for each grade, forfeit procedures, secret topic rules and an explanation of adjudicator scores.  Also available are the complete Rules for DAV Competitionswhich apply to all DAV Competitions and programs.

Another helpful resource is the Australia-Asia Guide to Debating, available to download on our website and is also available for purchase in hardcopy through the DAV. The Guide outlines the technical rules of debating and all DAV adjudicators refer to and follow this when judging debates.  Each year, the DAV also publishes brief resource guides for prepared topics in the Schools Competition.  These guides are designed for students help guide their research.  They are a starting point, but students should certainly undertake independent research for prepared topics!  Guides are available at least a week before each debate and are published on our website.

If you have never coordinated debating, our annual Teacher Inservice offers a friendly one-day crash course on all things debating! Call us in the office (03) 9348 9477 if you would like more information about this program.

Finally, if you have limited experience in debating or you are unsure how to coach your students, the DAV offers a range of student training services.  Our coaches can work with your students in a one-off session or can be engaged to run a series of workshops or ongoing training sessions.  For more information, please download our 2022 Training Menu.


General Questions about the Schools Competition:

10) My team can't make it to the debate. What do we need to do?

If you know a certain date will be an issue well ahead of time (for example - your school has a camp on that date), email us as soon as you know to discuss your options. If your team is unable to attend a debate, you can attempt to arrange a postponement with your opponent.  Please note: your opponent is not obliged to agree to a postponement and the DAV does not arrange postponements on behalf of schools.  If a postponement is agreed to, you and your opponent must find a time and venue for the debate and contact the DAV to arrange for an adjudicator to view the debate.  The team arranging the postponement will be levied a fee to cover the adjudicator's time.

If you are unable to arrange a postponement, then you must follow the forfeit procedure outlined on our website. You must alert the Schools Coordinator, the host school coordinator and the opposing school coordinator by email using the forfeit form (other forms of communication such as fax or a phone conversation will not be counted as formal notice).If you do not adhere to the forfeit procedure, your school will be fined for a forfeit without notice. 

Forfeits are monitored throughout the year. If your school repeatedly forfeits, you may be placed on probation and you risk having your teams withdrawn from the competition and your future registration in the competition limited.

11) Where do I find the contact details for other schools in my region?

Following the close of registration, you should have easy access to the contact details for other coordinators in your region. Just log in to the DAV website using your school account and the first page you see after logging in will contain all the details. If you are unable to see this information, please contact us in the DAV office.

12) Are there other ways students can congratulate each other besides shaking hands?

Please note that for numerous reasons students may elect not to shake hands when congratulating their opponents. While we expect that students maintain a spirit of friendly competition, DAV values also enshrine diversity and inclusion, so there is no requirement for students to shake hands if they don't want to or are not allowed to. In recent years, we have seen many creative and supportive choices such as thumbs up, a polite nod and smile, and verbal congratulations becoming more common than the historical shaking of hands.

Please encourage your students to select their preferred method of passing on congratulations, and to respect the choices of other participants.

My question isn't answered here, what do I do?
We are always happy to answer any questions you have about our programs! Feel free to give us a call (03) 9348 9477 (our office hours are 10 am - 5 pm) or send an email through to our Schools Administator, Kim Hitchcock.