The Concern Debates would not happen without our amazing team of volunteers across the country.

Getting started

The Concern Debates programme simply could not function without the support of our volunteer adjudicators. Adjudicators are responsible for marking student debates as part of the Concern Debates programme. Due to social distancing, we are moving the Concern Debates programme online for September 2020. One adjudicator is responsible for marking an online debate according to the Concern Debates marking sheet.

We are always looking for new adjudicators to join our amazing network. Generally, adjudicators will mark one or two debates per month during the school year, but they are free to adjudicate at as few or as many debates as they wish.

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 commences.

The Concern Debates online programme will commence in October 2020. The Concern Debates team will be in touch to see if you are free to adjudicate an online debate. If you are then available to adjudicate, Concern will send you all the details of the debate and a secure link to watch and mark the debate from your home. Once you have watched and marked the debate, please email the marking and feedback sheet to the Concern Debates team. Adjudicators are asked to promptly mark online debates and have the result to the Concern Debates team within 24 hours.

How are debates adjudicated?

For the 2020-21  Concern Debates programme, all debates will be held online. Adjudicators will be sent a link to view a prerecorded debate to mark at home. Adjudicators are asked to mark the debate promptly and return the marking and feedback sheet completed to the Concern Debates team.

We ask that adjudicators clearly mark on the feedback sheet which school won the debate.

Will I need to undergo Garda Vetting?

As of 2019, all Concern Debates Adjudicators must be Garda Vetted in line with Concern’s new safeguarding guidelines. Your Garda Vetting will last for three years with Concern. When you complete the volunteer sign up form, Concern will add your basic details to the An Garda Síochána’s online e-Vetting portal. You will receive an email communication inviting you to log on and enter additional information required by the National Vetting Bureau to complete the vetting process.

You can also request a manual form from Concern to complete and Concern can enter this information into the e-Vetting system on your behalf.

When you do this, Concern will submit the application to the National Vetting Bureau. The Bureau will conduct the check and Concern will receive a report of criminal conviction histories of those relevant volunteers (or not as the case may be).

For more information on the process, please contact

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.

Adjudicators at the 2018 Concern Debates Final. Photo: Ruth Medjber / Concern Worldwide.
Adjudicators at the 2018 Concern Debates Final. Photo: Ruth Medjber / Concern Worldwide.
Concern Debates 2017-2018 Semi Final Adjudicators (L-R Emmanuel George, Sandra Marie Donohoe, Marie Griffin. Photo: Ruth Medjber / Concern Worldwide.
Concern Debates 2017-2018 Semi Final Adjudicators. Photo: Ruth Medjber / Concern Worldwide.
Adjudicators watch on as a debate takes place. Photo: Concern Worldwide.
Adjudicators watch on as a debate takes place. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

This is also an excellent opportunity to hear the views of young people on serious issues and to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the world.

Geraldine Carroll - Concern’s Schools and Youth Programme Administrator

Why sign up as an adjudicator? 

Here are the top three reasons to get involved with the Concern Debates.




Interested in politics, current affairs, and international development? Concern carefully chooses motions to encourage critical thinking on complex issues relating to development, poverty, justice, and human rights. Through adjudicating you will get the chance to listen to fascinating viewpoints from a youth point of view on some of the most contentious issues facing our world today.




Empower young people


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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Adjudicator resources

We have plenty of resources for people interested in adjudicating our debates. You'll find everything from timekeeping sheets to speech templates in the list below.


Join our team

If you like what you’ve heard so far, please sign up below and a Concern member of staff will be in touch with further information.

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