An Overview of the Competition
The SDN competition is a debating competition that is held between independent schools located in Sydney's North Shore. Debates are held on Friday nights during Term 3 and run for 7 consecutive rounds, with an additional 2 rounds for semi finals and finals.
Debates take place using the 'conflict' style of debating with a minimum of 3 speakers on each team and an optional team advisor (4th speaker). Participation in the SDN competition allows students to develop their speaking skills, confidence and understanding of the methodologies of debating, whilst engaging with contextually relevant topics.
The competition involves students from years 5 to 12, which are separated into the following divisions:
Timing of Debates and Prep
Structure of Debates and Speaking Times
The SDN competition uses the most common format for Australian high school debating, known as 'conflict debating'. In this model, each team (Affirmative and Negative) is allowed to speak 3 times during the debate. The affirmative team (the host school on the draw) will always speak first with the negative team responding.
At the completion of the debate, an adjudicator will deliver an oral adjudication to decide the winner and then provide feedback to both teams.
All debates in the SDN competition are 'normative' debates, where students will debate a change to a policy, a rule or a law.
Speaking times are as follows:
Seniors A - Warning Bell at 5 Minutes, Second Bell at 7 Minutes
Senior B - Warning Bell at 4 Minutes, Second Bell at 6 Minutes
Year 9 - Warning Bell at 4 Minutes, Second Bell at 6 Minutes
Juniors - Warning Bell at 3 Minutes, Second Bell at 5 Minutes
Years 7/8 - Warning Bell at 3 Minutes, Second Bell at 5 Minutes
Primary A/B - Warning Bell at 2 Minutes, Second Bell at 4 Minutes
A continuous bell will ring if the speaker exceeds the maximum time by more than 30 seconds.
Each round of the SDN competition has a different 'topic area' in order to assistant students' in preparation for their debates.
The topic areas are selected each year by the member schools in consultation with the Chief Adjudicator of the SDN competition.
Releasing topic areas before the season begins allows teams to prepare themselves well, which in turn allows SDN debaters to engage with more confidence and depth and complexity to their arguments.
In 2020, these rounds are:
Each team will have one hour preparation time.
Primary teams are allowed to have a member of staff or a coach in their preparation room to assist with the creation of their argument.
A maximum of four (4) students are allowed per team during preparation.
Teams are not allowed to bring prepared notes, structures or digital devices into the preparation room.
All teams are allowed:
Teams are expected to come prepared for their own preparation time and host schools are not obliged to provide any of the above resources.