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Primary school debates

Primary school debates

The Concern Primary Debates is a fun educational programme aimed at senior primary students.

The Concern Primary Debates are run in conjunction with Education Support Centres across Ireland, and this year the debates will run both online and in person. We have free downloadable resources to get your class started below.

The Concern Primary Debates is open to senior primary classes. 

    If you have any questions, please contact us at primarydebates@concern.net and a Concern member of staff will be in touch with further information.

    Concern Primary Debates Calendar

    Please click on the document below to see the full Primary Debates Calendar 2023/2024.

    Concern Primary Debates Explainer

    Check out our video which will guide you through the Concern Primary Debates Programme!

    Motions 2023/24

    Below are the motions for the 2023/2024 academic year. Your local centre will advise you on which motions you are debating and whether your team will be proposing or opposing the motion. Once a champion has been crowned from each education support centre in February, schools will be entered into the national stages of the programme and new motions will be provided by Concern.

    • Homework should be a thing of the past
    • All children in Ireland should have the right to a local playground
    • Getting rid of plastic pollution in our oceans is just a dream 
    • Electric cars are the best way for countries to reduce their emissions 
    • Sport always brings communities together
    • The business sector has the most important role in achieving the SDGs in Ireland

     

    All Island Knockout Round Motion: 

    • Climate activists must give up eating meat

     

    All Island Quarter Final Motion: 

    • Young people in Ireland are indifferent to the Global South

    Motions Research Links 2023/24

    Don’t know where to begin researching for each motion? Check out link below which has articles, educational resources and videos to help prepare teachers and students for their debate.

    https://trello.com/b/ligsgZ1J/concern-primary-debates

    Virtual Motion Workshops

    These virtual workshops will help students and teachers preparing for the Concern Primary Debates with their research on each motion.

    Episode 1: Getting rid of plastic pollution in our oceans is just a dream

    Episode 2: Electric cars are the best way for countries to reduce their emissions

    Episode 3: Sport always brings communities together

    Episode 4: The business sector has the most important role in achieving the SDGs in Ireland

    Concern Primary Debates All Island Final 2022-23

    Concern's top prize for young debaters has been scooped by a Cork primary school team after they won the All-Island Concern Primary Debates final on the 15th of June 2023. St. Mary’s Senior Girls National School from Dunmanway were one of over 230 school teams from across the country who took part in the competition.

    The debating champions, who are all aged 12, defeated the Deravoy National School team from Carrickroe , Monaghan after successfully opposing the motion that ‘Primary schools are creating caring global citizens.’

    This is the second year in a row that the final was won by a school from Cork after Ardfield National School, Clonakilty became the 2022 Concern Primary Debates champions.

    St. Mary’s team captain Danielle Crowley-Healy praised her team members Lauren Mawe-Downey and Georgina Farr and thanked their families, teachers and friends for all their support. “We are delighted. It’s been a fantastic experience,” said team captain Danielle after the final.

    The team’s mentor and class teacher Mairead Twohig said the whole school and community are very proud of what they have achieved.

    “I cannot put into words how proud we all are of these wonderful girls. They did so much hard work and to see it rewarded is fantastic,” she said “These debates give children so much confidence. In this world today we have to be able to speak up and have that presence whether it is at a meeting or on stage and this gives them that opportunity and they learn from each other.”

    The Deravoy National School team mentor, Hilda McManus, also praised her team’s efforts saying “they did fantastically well” and that the entire community is proud of them. The runners-up were captain Leah McKenna (12), Emily Conly (12) and Niamh McKenna (11).

    Concern’s Head of Active Citizenship, Michael Doorly, praised all teams which took part in the programme and thanked their teachers and family members for their support.

    “We created this programme to get students thinking and talking about global issues and to give them skills and experiences that will benefit them through life,” he said. "You can see the skills they have developed like critical thinking and public speaking, and the empathy they have for other points of view, which is so important.​ Hopefully, they will become life-long advocates on behalf of the most disadvantaged people in the world.”

    All Ireland Concern Primary Debates champions from Cork's St. Mary’s Senior Girls National School Danielle Crowley-Healy, Lauren Mawe-Downey and Georgina Farr at The Helix in Dublin on Thursday
    All Ireland Concern Primary Debates champions from Cork's St. Mary’s Senior Girls National School Danielle Crowley-Healy, Lauren Mawe-Downey and Georgina Farr at The Helix in Dublin on Thursday

    Get registered

    Please note that all registrations are handled by Education Support Centres - not Concern Worldwide. Please see below for participating centres to register your team.  

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