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Local pupils win through to national debating tournament final

30 March 2015 | tagged News release

Local school pupils have won through to the final of the Law Society of Scotland’s national debating tournament after pitting their wits against schools across the country.

Just four of the original 128 teams that entered the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament will take part in the final of the competition. To get to this stage the students have already had to tackle topics such as leaving the EU, abolishing immigration controls and banning opinion polling in the month before a vote.

The finalists are:

  • Rachel Miller and Rhianna McGrath from Lanark Grammar (Lanark)
  • Jamie MacLeod and Ewan Redpath from Madras College (St. Andrews)
  • Anna Michels and Richard Montgomery from St Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh)
  • David Cameron and David Laird from Prestwick Academy (Prestwick)

Teams from 97 Scottish schools put their powers of persuasion to the test in the opening rounds of the competition and the second round prompted dynamic discussion from the remaining teams but the semi-finals stepped the competition up a notch as the students were only presented with the motion an hour before the debate took place.

Heather McKendrick, Careers and Outreach Manager at the Law Society, said: "The semi-finals are very tricky as the teams have just one hour to prepare after receiving the motion. They are not permitted access to any newspapers, computers or smartphones during that time. It really tests their skills as debaters.

 “The teams that have made it through to the final really had to think on their feet to get this far and they should be very proud of what they have achieved. Getting to the final of this year’s Donald Dewar Debating Tournament is no small feat, especially for Prestwick Academy pupils, David Cameron and David Laird, who are taking part for the first time. I’m looking forward to hearing what the teams have to say when they take to the floor in the grand setting of the parliament’s debating chamber.”

The final of this year’s competition will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 4 June.

The winning team will be presented with the tournament trophy and £1,000 for their school from the Law Society and the runners up will receive £250 from the Glasgow Bar Association. Tournament sponsors Hodder Gibson will present the winners and runners up with educational books to the value of £500.

Further information and a Law Society video about the tournament featuring the 2013/14 winners and runners up can be found at www.lawscot.org.uk/debating.

All schools through to the finals are listed below:

4 of the original 128 teams have qualified for the finals which will take place on 4 June in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament. Schools taking part for the first time are marked *.

 

Name of School

Town

Lanark Grammar School

Lanark

Madras College

St Andrews

Prestwick Academy*

Prestwick

St Mary's Music School

Edinburgh

ENDS                                                                          30 March 2015

Notes to editors: Established in 1999 and now in its 15th year, the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament is Scotland’s largest annual schools debating tournament and is open to pupils in all Scottish secondary schools. Organised and run by the Law Society of Scotland, the tournament is dedicated to the memory of the former First Minister Donald Dewar MSP, who died in 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Sarah Sutton on 0131 476 8170 or email sarahsutton@lawscot.org.uk.

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