Debating 2014/15

The enthralled audience at last year’s final debate.


Spanish Debating Cup & Plate Format 2014/15


There are 19 teams in the competition. We will have a “World Cup” type competition with every team guaranteed to have a minimum of 2 debates. The teams for the Cup and the Plate will be split after the quarter finals. The groups are as follows:

  Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5 Group 6
Team A Coláiste Pobail Setanta St Andrews Mt. Anville Rathdown Belvedere Loreto on the Green
Team B St Wolstan’s Ashbourne CC Loreto Dalkey Castleknk Comm (CCC) St Comlcilles Knocklyon Joseph Cluny
Team C Mac Daras Sandford Park Kings Hosp Templeogue Dominican CUS

**Group 6 only, there are four teams. The fourth team is Castleknock College; they are TEAM D below.

Round 1 – Nights 1 -3

Night 1 oct. 1st            Teams A vs Teams B (from each group)

Night 2 oct 15th            Teams A vs Teams C (from each group)

Night 3 nov 5th            Teams B vs Teams C (from each group)

*Group 6: Night 1: team A vs team B and Team C vs Team D

                 Night 2: Team A vs Team C and Team B vs Team D

                 Night 3 : Team A vs Team D and Team B vs Team C

So, all teams in group 6 are required to attend the first 3 nights of debates.

Round 1, Night 1: ‘Todos los colegios en Irlanda deberían ser publicos’


Round 2 – Quarter Final – Night 4: Nov 19th

A free draw of all teams will occur here. The top teams from each of the 6 groups plus the top two defeated teams (on points) from all six groups will qualify for this round. The scores of all teams will be added up throughout the competition and the two teams with the highest scores in 2nd place will qualify for the quarter final.

QF A: QF 1 vs QF 2 QF B: QF 3 vs QF 4

QF C: QF 5 vs QF 6 QF D: QF 7 vs QF 8




Semi Final – Cup & Plate – Night 5: Dec 3rd

Cup –            SF1: Winner QF A vs Winner QF B                                    SF2: Winner QF C vs Winner QF D

Plate – SF1. Runner-up QF A vs Runner-up QF B                        SF2: Runner-up QF C vs Runner-up QF D


Final – Cup & Plate – Night 6: January – Instituto Cervantes


Cup – Winner Cup Semi-Final 1 vs Winner Cup Semi Final 2


Plate – Winner Plate Semi-Final 1 vs Winner Plate Semi Final 2



Updated Debating Rules Sept 2014

  • Each competing school selects one team of four students (from TY /5th/6thyear) supported by a sub.
  • The motions for debate generally reflect the topics on which students may be asked to give their opinions as part of their Leaving Certificate oral and written exams. Every effort is made, however, to be topical and to ensure that the topics chosen will give rise to fruitful debate and be fair to both sides of the argument
  • Speeches are 2-4 minutes. A bell is rung at both the two minute and the three minute mark to indicate the time to the speaker. There will also be a bell to show that time is up – the speaker is penalised only if the speech is less than two minutes or exceeds 4.30. The captains are granted up to a 5 minute speech to allow for introduction of the team.
  • Proposition start. Their captain speaks first then the opposition’s.
  • After all 4 speakers on both teams have spoken, their captains sum up, arguing their point based on what they have heard during the debate itself, i.e. the captain’s summary should NOTbe a “prepared” speech. It must deal with arguments brought up by the opposing team on the night. His/her summary should not exceed 2 minutes. Speakers will be penalized for relying on prepared material, bringing in new arguments and/or exceeding the time limit.
  • There is a ‘mejor orador/a’for each debate.
  • No heckling during speeches, this is kept for questions at the end.
  • After the 2 captains have summarised there is a rebuttal. Each team is allowed 2 questions each and they are addressed to the opposing team, not to an individual. All members of team should be involved in the rebuttal to achieve maximum points in this section.
  • Judges, teachers and teams should be aware that both content and language ability (the relevance of the question and how well each team answers and defends their argument as this is where the students’ true language knowledge is apparent) will be considered during the rebuttal section. Rebuttals shall not last longer than 2 minutes to include the original question and some discussion. The marking scheme has been adjusted to include more emphasis on the rebuttal section.
  • If all speakers actively participate in the question and rebuttal section ie each speaker contributes in Spanish to the spontaneous interaction between the two teams, there will be a five point bonus. A team may not receive this if one or more speakers does not participate during the rebuttal section (over the four question and answer rebuttal sections). NB Asking the initial question is not considered active participation.
  • Teachers correct grammar only, not ideas.
  • No props of any sort allowed (this includes dictionaries, pictures, graphs etc).
  • Native Spanish speakers may not participate. Students with Spanish parents, or who have lived for a year or longer in Spain will be judged to be native speakers, and they and their school may be asked to withdraw from the competition.
  • Punctuality is essential, as debates run simultaneously.
  • Please share these rules with your teams, so that the students themselves are also aware of them.
  • Judges should judge separately. They should come to a decision individually as to a winning team according to their points. The winning team is decided on points by combining both sets of judges’ calculations. If there is a draw on points, then and only then, discussion is permitted. Best speaker is decided by both judges after conferral.
  • You must be prepared to judge if entering a team, which means that it is possible you might not get to see your team debate if you have no one else to judge in your place. If you do not wish to judge, you must bring someone who will judge in your place.


As always, you don’t have to be participating in the debates to judge. We are interested in opening the judging panels to people who might not have teams in the event or are interested in seeing how the competition works, so if you are free to attend from just before 6pm until about 7.30pm, we would be very grateful for your help!

Please contact Nicola at ncronincastleknock[AT]hotmail[DOT]com if you would like to participate as a judge.