Case studies: Pupils

The 2013/2014 finalists from Trinity High School and Craigmount High School share their experience of being involved in the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

David Campbell, Trinity High School

Personally, I only became interested in debating at the start of this school term. After taking part in a few debates within my Higher Politics class, I expressed interest in joining the debate team.

The best thing about debating has to be the confidence which I have gained from participating. In taking part with the debate team this year, I have found it has allowed me to improve my public speaking and other skills which will help me for years to come.

I would encourage anyone to join a debate club, as not only is it a lot of fun, it also helps you to improve skills that will help you in later life. To been part of Trinity's debate team this year has been a great experience, and I would recommend anyone who is lower down the school to sign up.

To reach the final of the Donald Dewar Debating Tournament has been a great surprise for me. To have only started debating at the beginning of this school year, I am proud that me and Sean have managed to make it this far in the tournament. I look forward to the final in June, which I'm sure will be a fantastic experience and a great night.

Sean Cosgrove, Trinity High School

I took up debating whilst at school as a result of my interest in politics and the way that politics works, which is of course through debating key issues. I'm quite political in the way I think about things, so getting involved in debating seemed like a good idea. The best thing about debating is probably being able to develop your public speaking skills and confidence, something I was a bit lacking in. The worst thing about it is definitely having to stick to all the little traditional rules like putting your hand on your head and standing up for a Point of Information-but at least they win you plus points with the judges, so it's worth it. I would encourage anyone thinking about joining a debating club to go for it. It can improve your confidence, help you meet new people and most importantly it can be a right laugh. It feels great to have reached the final of the Donald Dewar Debating Tournament, and I still can't believe I'm actually getting to debate in the Scottish Parliament. I hope I can do myself, my friends and my family proud.

Liam Stewart and Michael Davidson, Craigmount High School

We started debating at a Primary 7 induction event. We've been doing it ever since. The best part of debating is easily the friends you'll make. While some will say that it's useful for school or iniversity, we don't believe that's the most important thing.

The worst thing, we feel is that there isn't the diversity of schools that do competitive debating. Not nearly enough state schools like Craigmount offer it as an activity and we think it's a real shame that so many students don't have to opportunity that we did.

Debating is not meant to be elitist, and if people act like it is, then they're wrong. You should never feel disinclined to get involved, for any reason. Don't let inexperience discourage you, we all had to start somewhere.

It is quite simply fantastic to have reached the final of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament. This is the culmination of several years of debating and it feels so appropriate that we should finish my schools debating career in the Scottish Parliament of all places.