Crana College Wins Inaugural Donegal ETB Schools Debate Forum

Group of students with a staff member holding a trophy.
Group of students with a staff member holding a trophy.
Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley presents Crana College with the Donegal ETB Debate Forum Cup.

The inaugural Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) Debate Forum Cup has been won by Crana College in Buncrana, while Deele College, Raphoe took the honours in the Plate Competition.

The debating event for Donegal ETB schools occurred in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Letterkenny on Tuesday 12 March.

Teams from eight schools battled it out in the opening quarter finals. The four successful teams in the quarter finals went into the Cup Competition while the four unsuccessful teams went into the Plate Competition. The eight quarter finalists were: Crana College in Buncrana, Errigal College in Letterkenny, Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, Deele College in Raphoe, Moville Community College, Magh Éne College in Bundoran, Mulroy College in Milford and St Catherine’s Vocational School in Killybegs.

Almost fifty students debated for and against a range of motions that reflected the five values of an ETB school: excellence in education, care, equality, community and respect. The motions included:

  1. Excellence in Education: Quality education should always focus on maths and science rather than the arts.
  2. Care: It is immoral for people to own pets.
  3. Equality: The voting age should be lowered to 16 to ensure that young people have an equal say in the democratic process.
  4. Community: Social media has improved human communication.
  5. Respect: Dress codes in schools should be flexible and inclusive to respect individual expressions of identity, provided they do not disrupt the learning environment.
Group of students with a staff member holding a plate.
Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley presents Deele College with the Donegal ETB Debate Forum Plate.

The idea for this inaugural competition amongst Donegal ETB’s schools came from Errigal College English teacher Jonathan Sellick. Jonathan said about the competition: “Debate is such a vital component of modern society, and it is exciting to give the students the opportunity to showcase their talents in a formal way like this. The standard on display has been exceptionally high, and the students deserve the utmost praise.”

The competition took place during national ETB Week, which celebrated Ireland’s sixteen Education and Training Boards and the education and training services their schools, colleges and Further Education and Training (FET) centres provide to primary, post-primary and FET students across Ireland.

Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools, Dr Martin Gormley noted, “It was a great experience for all our students who were well coached and prepared for the debates by their teachers. We were also delighted to welcome back many of our retired staff who with other ETB staff members helped to Chair and Adjudicate during the day. There were also students on each of the adjudication panels which helped to promote student voice.”

Donegal Education and Training Board manages fifteen of the county’s twenty-seven post-primary schools and is a trustee partner for eight Community and Comprehensive schools. Almost 6,000 students attended Donegal ETB schools in the last academic year.

More photographs of the event can be viewed on Donegal ETB’s Facebook page (

Group of people in front of a banner.
Donegal ETB Debating Forum judges, Chairs and organisers.