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Getting started and what's involved

The Concern Debates programme is open to students across the island of Ireland. The Concern Debates programme aims to introduce students to themes of development through the debating motions and encourage students to become lifelong advocates on issues relating to poverty, justice and development. Volunteer adjudicators are responsible for marking student debates as part of the Concern Debates programme.

Generally, adjudicators will mark one or two debates per school year, but they are free to adjudicate as many or as few as they wish. From October to January, the programme will be online and adjudicators can mark debates remotely. From March to May, the debates will be in-person and adjudicators will need to attend in-person debates. 

No expertise is required to become an adjudicator but an open mind is essential. You must be able to see both sides of an argument and be able to give constructive, positive feedback.

Full online training is provided for each volunteer adjudicator and the Concern Debates team are on hand to talk you through our support materials. We ask that all adjudicators, both new and returning, attend our online training each year before the Concern Debates programme begins.

Adjudicators must be residents on the island of Ireland to volunteer. All adjudicators must be Garda vetted. Vetting lasts for three years. For more information on vetting, please contact

Watch our training video below on what's involved in being a Concern Debates Adjudicator

Concern Debates: Volunteer Adjudicator Sign-Up Form

Please note that volunteer applications for this programme can only be accepted from people who are resident in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

This is a hybrid programme, with online debates in the initial league phase and face-to-face debates at the latter stages of the programme, where possible. 

Your details

For purpose of Garda Vetting

You can opt-out of all communication including postal communication at any point. To find out more and how you can do this, please view our Privacy Statement. 

The code of conduct and associated policies can be found on the codes and policies page.

Please see our Adjudicator Guidelines for guidance on volunteering as a Concern Debates Adjudicator.

How can I watch my assigned debate online?

Where can I find marking sheets, information on the marking sheet or what is expected of me?

Marking sheets, feedback sheets and information on rules etc can all be found below. Just click on the link and download to your PC/laptop.

Do you have any tips on how to deliver written and in person feedback?

Adjudicator Linda Golden gives some advice for adjudicators on how to effectively deliver feedback.

Interviews with our adjudicators

Our adjudicators have their say

If you need any more convincing, our wonderful past and present adjudicators got together to say why they got involved in the Concern Debates and how it has left an impact on them.

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