Register for school debates

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Register for school debates

To take part in this year’s secondary schools debating competition, please fill out the form below. Please note that by registering, you are not guaranteed a place. A Concern Debates staff member will be in touch to let you know if your application is successful. If more than one teacher is involved in organising the debates, please include their name and contact details. If you are registering a DEIS school, please confirm this to qualify for a discount on the registration fee. Fees to enter are as follows:

  • Early Bird Discount (up until 31 August  2019) - €85
  • Regular Fee (from 1 September) - €100
  • DEIS School Discount (15% on either of the above)

A Concern Staff member will be in touch on how to pay your fee if your application is successful.

For Concern NI fees, please contact [email protected] for more information.


Terms and Conditions & Code of Conduct

By entering the programme, you are agreeing to complete all four of the debates assigned in the league phase. It is not acceptable to drop out halfway through the competition, or forfeit your final debate if you have already lost your other debates, as this has a knock-on effect on your opponent’s experience.

Schools must pay their Concern Debates Registration Fee in a prompt manner or risk non entry to the competition in subsequent years

Schools must give Concern two full weeks’ notice before rescheduling a debate unless there are exceptional circumstances. If at all possible, efforts should be made to secure substitutes for a debate so that it can go ahead on the original date as planned. When rescheduling a debate, the schools must agree on a new date/time and submit the revised date/time online here. Debates must be scheduled no earlier than 7:00 pm. Additionally, the dates scheduled for the Semi-Finals and the All Ireland Final cannot be changed as venues have already been booked.

During the debate, teachers must ensure they are respectful of all pupils taking part, remembering that it is an educational programme, designed to help pupils develop skills as well as learn about development issues. In any discussions that follow, teachers must allow the pupils the opportunity to discuss the topic without unnecessary interruption.

Concern offers overseas trips as prizes to the finalists in the competition. These trips are offered subject to Concern funding, and partner organisation and field office availability and dates cannot be changed for individual pupils or schools.

Concern Worldwide will provide volunteer adjudicators for each debate. These adjudicators are NOT police checked / Garda vetted (it is not currently required by legislation), but they will have accepted Concern’s Debates Adjudicator Volunteer Agreement (similar to this document) and be briefed on Concern’s Child Protection policies and guidelines.

It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that adjudicators are NEVER left alone with pupils, on any occasion. For example, if an adjudicator needs to be accompanied within the school premises, from room to room, it must be by a teacher or by more than one pupil.

Schools should ensure that any students attending debates workshops or fixtures outside of their own school have full permission of their parents/guardians if required by their own school Child Protection policy. It is not Concern’s responsibility to ensure they have permission.

Adjudicators are not permitted to share their confidential marking sheets with schools. If you are unsatisfied with the result, you must not confront the adjudicators, who are volunteers, after the debate; instead, you can contact Concern’s Debates staff for more information.

Schools must report any concerns they have about individual adjudicators to Concern Worldwide as soon as they arise, by contacting: Claire Marshall on 01 417 8078. In return, Concern will make every effort to ensure all participants have a fulfilling experience as part of the Debates Programme, including providing information and responding to requests in a timely manner, and provide as much support and training to participants as feasible. We will strive to continuously improve the programme for the benefit of all.


Terms and Conditions
Please ensure you read the terms and conditions as it details key pieces of information about the Concern Debates Programme.