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Here endeth the league phase

After 182 debates, the league phase of the Concern Debates is nearly finished. Well done to everyone who took part – it was great to see so much enthusiasm and hard work from everyone involved.

A lot of people are asking us whether they are through to the next round, and the answer is, we don’t know yet! Anyone who came first or joint-first in their group is definitely through. And teams that come second in their group are entered into a draw for the remaining 20-plus places. 

There are still a few debates which have had to be postponed, but we hope to have most results in by Tuesday 18 December. The Round Four pairings for the first stage of the knockout competition will be available on the website on Wednesday 19 December.

In the meantime, if you think there is a good chance your team came first or second in your unit you can start reading up on the topic for Round Four. The motion is “Without a war on poverty, terrorism cannot be defeated”. A few people may think that sounds a little familiar, and that’s because it was the motion for the National Final last May. It was a very popular topic, so we wanted to open it up to give more teams a chance to debate it. Research links will be available soon, but at this stage you should all be aware of websites and books where you can start to do some research of your own.

In the New Year, as the knockout phase begins, Gráinne will be hitting the road again to gather some feedback from teachers, students and adjudicators on what they thought of the league phase and where they think it could be improved. This year there seem to have been a lot of cancelled or postponed debates and it has been difficult to fit three debates in for each school before Christmas. Do you have a solution you’d like to share with us? How do you think we could organise things better?

We’d also like to make sure that any teachers or students who haven’t made it through to the knockout phase feel that you can still be involved. If you are a teacher, would you like to volunteer to do some adjudication in other debates in your area? If you are a student would you like to get involved in our Global Challenge Quiz, or one of our campaigns? We will be sending out information on how to do this in the New Year, but you can also contact us at any time on

Happy Christmas everyone, enjoy your holidays and see you back here in 2008.