Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition

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The Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition is an annual competition involving schools from across Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1993 by Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE during her time as Chairman of the Belfast Civic Trust. The final of the competition is held every year in the Senate Chamber of Parliament Buildings, Stormont. It is organised by the Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust (BBPT), and is sponsored by both the Telegraph Media Group and the T.E. Utley Memorial Fund. Lord Lexden of Lexden and Strangford OBE has been President of the competition since 1997 and Mrs. Jay-O'Boyle is Chairman. Lord Trimble and Lord Dubs are patrons.

An average of over seventy schools enter the competition each year, with the first round usually beginning in late October. Each team consists of two students, and each round's motion is chosen to reflect a particular civic, social, political or even economic issue of the day. Motions for the Final have included "This House would Tax and Spend", "This House believes that the power of the United States has increased, is increasing and ought to be diminished", "This House believes that Northern Ireland badly needs 'Bog Standard' Comprehensive Schools." In the 2010 Final the motion was, "This House would welcome being part of a European Federal State." In the 2011 final, the motion was, "This House believes that Northern Ireland requires an official opposition because it has reached political maturity." The 2012 Final motion was "This House Would Welcome the Break-Up of the United Kingdom." The motion for the 2013 final was "This House believes that Europe and America are no longer fit to compete with the rise of Asia and Latin America".

Guest adjudicators at the final have included Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education; Viscount Cranborne, now the Marquess of Salisbury and former Leader of the House of Lords; the historian, Andrew Roberts; Guy Black, Lord Black of Brentwood, Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group; author and parliamentarian Lord Dobbs, and the acclaimed journalist and leader writer of The Times, Rosemary Righter.


Year Winners Runners-up
1993/94 Belfast Royal Academy St. Malachy's College, Belfast
1994/95 Coleraine Academical Institution Portadown College
1995/96 Belfast Boy's Model School Bangor Grammar School
1996/97 Belfast Royal Academy Omagh Academy
1997/98 St Patrick's Girls Academy, Dungannon Royal Belfast Academical Institution
1998/99 Belfast Royal Academy Bangor Grammar School
1999/00 Bangor Grammar School Cambridge House Grammar School, Ballymena
2000/01 St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh Bangor Grammar School
2001/02 Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, Belfast Bangor Grammar School
2002/03 Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, Belfast Cambridge House Grammar School, Ballymena
2003/04 Bangor Grammar School Thornhill College, Derry
2004/05 Belfast Royal Academy Methodist College Belfast
2005/06 Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, Belfast Coleraine Academical Institution
2006/07 Royal Belfast Academical Institution Thornhill College, Derry
2007/08 St Marys CBGS Belfast Antrim Grammar School
2008/09 Bangor Grammar School Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, Belfast
2009/10 Rathmore Grammar School Royal Belfast Academical Institution
2010/11 Royal Belfast Academical Institution Bangor Grammar School
2011/12 Dalriada School Bangor Grammar School
2012/13 St Columb's College, Derry Bangor Grammar School
2013/14 St Colman's College, Newry Royal Belfast Academical Institution
2014/15 Belfast High School Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle
2015/16 Bangor Grammar School Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School

By School[edit]

Team Won Runner-up Years won Years runner-up
Bangor Grammar School 4 7 1999/00, 2003/04, 2008/09, 2015/16 1995/96, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13
Belfast Royal Academy 4 0 1993/94, 1996/97, 1998/99, 2004/05
Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, Belfast 3 1 2001/02, 2002/03, 2005/06 2008/09
Royal Belfast Academical Institution 2 3 2006/07, 2010/11 1997/98, 2009/10, 2013/14
Coleraine Academical Institution 1 1 1994/95 2005/06
Belfast High School 1 0 2014/15 -
St Colman's College 1 0 2013/14 -
St Columb's College 1 0 2012/13 -
Dalriada School 1 0 2011/12 -
Rathmore Grammar School 1 0 2009/10 -
St Marys CBGS Belfast 1 0 2007/08 -
St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh 1 0 2000/01 -
St Patrick's Girls Academy, Dungannon 1 0 1997/98 -
Belfast Boy's Model School 1 0 1995/96 -
Thornhill College, Derry 0 2 - 2003/04, 2006/07
Cambridge House Grammar School, Ballymena 0 2 - 1999/00, 2002/03
Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School, Newry 0 1 - 2015/16
Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle 0 1 - 2014/15
Antrim Grammar School 0 1 - 2007/08
Methodist College Belfast 0 1 - 2004/05
Omagh Academy 0 1 - 1996/97
Portadown College 0 1 - 1994/95
St. Malachy's College, Belfast 0 1 - 1993/94

(When sorted by years won or lost, the table is sorted by the date of each team's first win)

See also[edit]