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Sydney Speaking School

Learn by doing.

Student Centred

Safe. Fun. Educational. These are the three tiers that make up our core teaching philosophy, with our students at the centre of each.


Practice Makes Perfect

Central to our teaching philosophy is that students learn by doing.  We keep our classes small to ensure every student has their turn, and receives extensive personal feedback.


As our founders know, it is hard to build the confidence to speak.  We do our best to make sure every student is comfortable in their class to help them get over their fears.


The ability to speak in public is a lifelong skill.  We do our best to ensure that each of our students learns something that they will carry with them for years to come.

Our Story

Sydney Speaking School was the original Australian Speaking Schools group, one of the largest interstate providers of both public speaking and debating programs in the country.  The organisation, which began its life in late 2014, was co-founded by Mark Slaven and Daniel Dummer in response to the lack of good quality education in public speaking for school students on the North Shore of Sydney.  First opening its doors the following January to a small group of less than 30 students at North Sydney, it has since expanded to provide coaching services to thousands of students.

Using their combined skills honed through years of experience, the Sydney Speaking School team continue to bring excellence to the fore using fun and engaging courses targeted at improving the speaking skills of primary and senior school students in Australia’s biggest city.

Mark Slaven

Mark Slaven

National Director & Regional Director - NSW

Mark has been an avid debater and public speaker since high school.  He has competed in more national and international competitions than he can count, reaching the finals in at least a dozen tournaments and occasionally coming out victorious.  His personal experience in the debating scene has led him to (amongst other things) coach at a number of prestigious schools across Sydney, run the Macquarie Schools Debating Program for many years, and be appointed as the Chief Adjudicator of the FED Interschool Debating Competition.

Outside of public speaking, Mark has a Bachelor of Laws (with First Class Honours) and Psychology from Macquarie University, and a Master of Laws from the Australian National University.  Having spent many years practising commercial and environmental law, he now manages a number of small businesses, including his role as National Director of the Australian Speaking Schools.

His contribution to the public speaking and debating world was recognised when he was granted life membership of the Macquarie University Debating Society.

Amelia Taylor

Amelia Taylor

Communications Manager

Amelia is a law student at Macquarie University with a love for everything debating and public speaking.  Whilst at school, Amelia reached the finals of various public speaking and debating competitions, including the Grand Final of the SDN competition twice, and even started a regular debating club at her alma mater, Roseville College.  This success has continued since heading to university, where she has broken to the finals series of the Australian Debating Championships and regularly features as a Top 10 speaker in competitions around Sydney.

Amelia also really enjoys sharing her knowledge and skills with the next generation, in particular as a coach with Roseville College, Tara Anglican School and Knox Grammar School.  She is additionally very proud of her excellent organisational and written communication skills, which has most recently led to her election as the Secretary of the Macquarie University Debating Society.

Harrish Sathanesan

Harrish Sathanesan

Staff Manager

Harrish, a law student at Sydney University, is passionate about public speaking, debating and just presentation skills generally.  Holding an Associate’s Diploma in Speech & Drama from the IMEB, Harrish has been receiving formal coaching for public speaking since he was in Year 2.  Whilst at school his passion has led him to  win the Castle Hill Festival of Performing Arts and Inner West Eisteddfod, reach the Regional Finals of the Premiers’ Debating Challenge and become a state finalist in the UN Youth Evatt Competition.  In addition to this, he has also been recognised as a Highly Commended Advocate in the Bond University High School Mooting Competition and selected in the NSW Seniro Drama Ensemble, leading him to perform in the State Drama Festival.

Since leaving school Harrish has continued to share his wealth of experience with younger students, whether it be as a debating coach at Girraween Selective High School and Randwick Girls High School, an adjudicator for the NSW Premiers’ Debating Challenge or acting as an assistant adjudicator for the Parramatta Eisteddfod Society.  This passion also led to him sitting as a member of the Organising Committee for the UN Youth’s ‘The Voice NSW’, a state wide high school public speaking competition.  His exemplary character is also reflected in the number of awards that he has received, including being named the Holroyd City Council Young Citizen of the Year, receiving the John Lincoln Community Service Award and being names a Youth Ambassador for the Red Cross.