El uniforme escolar debe ser abolido.

Last night saw the second debate of Round 1 hosted by Loreto on the Green.

Well done to everyone who spoke so well. It really is an amazing way to build your confidence in speaking Spanish.

Thank you to all the teachers for your time and effort. We could not do this without you.

The motion for our next debate is: “Es demasiado tarde para salvar al planeta”

It will take place on the 23rd of October. We look forward to seeing you then!

¡Hasta pronto!

Debating Results

¡Enhorabuena! to the finalists in both the Plate and Cup competitions of the Debating.

Congratulations to Rathdown School who beat King’s Hospital School to win the Plate.

Congratulations to Mount Anville School who beat MacDara’s Community College to win the Cup.

The ATS is extremely grateful to Euro Languages College for funding best speaker prizes for both competitions. These were won by Nadia Hourihan of the King’s Hospital School and Ella Fennelly of Mt Anville School.

Well done to not only the teachers of the teams who got to the finals, but to all of you who encouraged your team to participate and gave of your time all those wintry Wednesday evenings!

Thank you also to Nicola Cronin for coordinating the entire competition and to Frieda Burke for helping her. We were delighted to continue our collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes, where the finals were held.

Thank you to their Academic Director, Carlos García de la Santa Delgado, to Kenia Puig of the PPLI, to Adolfo Carbón of the Consejería, and to Isolde Coveney, Alvina Byrne Mulloy and Leticia Merín who all participated as judges.

We look forward to next year’s competition!

Debating Quarter Finals 2014-15

Hola everybody,

Loreto Beaufort - winners of the Plate Competition in 2014.
Loreto Beaufort – winners of the Plate Competition in 2014.

First of all thank ye all so very much for your help over the first three nights of debating and well done to all. It is hard work, first getting a team together and secondly trying to get them to do something!!!! On top of a day’s work, it’s not easy.

As I explained last night and in my first email, this is the end of the road for some schools, as we are now at the quarter finals stage. However, having said that, I would encourage your students to come along to the debates, especially if they are 4/5th yrs. and will be participating next year. It’s a good aural comprehension exercise. Likewise, they can do the topics as an opinion piece for homework!! Thank you to all of you for participating and helping out. Hopefully, we’ll see you in the competition again next year.

To all of the schools this year, I would be very grateful if you could send me on your school’s address as – in a new step and further development of the Competition this year – I have certificates for your team that I would like to send out.

Regarding the quarter finals, the following teams have gotten through. Congratulations and well done!!!! As I mentioned in my original email, it is a free draw for the next round, so the quarters are as follows:

Loreto Green v Mt Anville
Rathdown v Belvedere
Tralee v The King’s Hospital
Mac Dara’s v St. Andrew’s

Proposition are: Loreto, Rathdown, Tralee, Mac Dara’s
Opposition are: Mt. Anville, Belvedere, The King’s Hospital, St. Andrew’s.

The motion is: ‘el agua es una comodidad, no un derecho humano’.

The next round is Wed. Nov 19th at 6pm in Castleknock college.

if you no longer have a team in the competition but would be available to judge on that night, please let me know. As we all know, it is hard to get ‘neutral’ judges so it would be greatly appreciated if some of you would come to judge.

Thank you all again and hopefully see ye back next year. it doesn’t be long coming round, that’s for sure!!!!

Hasta luego,

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.



Debating Finals 2014

This post about the Debating Finals is long overdue but with the busy lead-up to Easter, it just wasn’t possible to get everything done.

A huge congratulations to the teams which reached the finals of both the Plate and the Cup Competition! The motion debated was the same for both competitions and the schools were as below:

Las redes sociales tienen un efecto negativo sobre la juventud.

The team from Templeogue College
The team from Templeogue College

Plate Competition 

Templeogue College v Loreto Beaufort

Cup Competition 

Castleknock College v The King’s Hospital School.

Both finals were incredibly closely debated and the students impressed all present with their speeches and their rebuttals. In the end, though, only one team could win each final. Well done to Loreto Beaufort and Castleknock College who were, in the end, the victorious teams!

The best speakers on the night were Seán O’Keeffe of Templeogue College and Liam Forbes of the King’s Hospital School. Both young men received vouchers from Euro Languages College, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eurolanguages for their generosity.

Thanks also to the Instituto Cervantes Dublin, who once again kindly hosted the evening, and to our judges for both debates.

Finally, a word of thanks to Nicola Cronin, who organises the entire Debating Competition for her hard work and dedication throughout the year, and to all of the teachers and ATS committee members who gave of their time to make this competition possible.

I can’t emphasise enough how beneficial this competition is for the students who take part. Keep an eye on the website and on your inbox as soon as the 2014-15 school year starts to see how to get involved next year, and – in preparation – read all about how the competition works here.

Debating Semifinals

Last Wednesday, we were delighted to hold the quarterfinals of the Spanish Debating Competition in Castleknock College. There were some extremely heated debates about whether or not school uniforms should be made obligatory and in the end, the judges had some tough decisions to make.

The winners from the quarterfinals proceed to the semifinals of the Cup and the losers from the quarterfinals proceed to the semifinals of the Plate competition.

In 2014, therefore, on January 15th in Castleknock, the following schools will be debating Hay que introducir una cuota de género en las elecciones parlimentarias, which should put them through their paces:

 Proposition                                           Opposition
Mt. Anville                   v                        Castleknock College
Mac Daras                    v                        King’s Hospital
Proposition                                             Opposition
Loreto Beaufort          v                        St Wolstan’s
Templeogue                 v                        Dominicans

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.

Quarter-finals: motion & date

¿Uniforme o no?
¿Uniforme o no?

The eager teams have already all received the motion for the next round of the debates. This round – the quarter-finals – is a key round for the qualifying schools, as the winners will go forward to the Cup Competition, and the losers will move to the Plate Competition.

The topic for this year’s quarter- finals is: el uniforme escolar no debería ser obligatorio –  a topic close to many students’ hearts, and which promises interesting arguments when it takes place in Castleknock College on December 4th.

For participating teams, it’s always worthwhile re-reading the rules and making sure you know the requirements for the different parts of the debate so that you don’t get caught out and penalised.

As always, we welcome new judges, so anybody interested in acting as part of the judging panel, please contact Nicola at ncronincastleknock[at]hotmail[dot]com.