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Pupils to debate media coverage of terrorist attacks in national debating tournament final

02 June 2015 | tagged News release

Students from four Scottish schools are set to go head to head when they debate media coverage of terrorist attacks at the final of the Law Society of Scotland’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

The four teams will debate the motion ‘This House would restrict media coverage of terrorist attacks’ when they meet in the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber in Edinburgh on Thursday, 4 June.

The competing teams are:

  • Rachael 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)

To get to this stage the students have had to pit their wits against 128 teams from schools across Scotland which took part in the opening rounds of the competition. They have already tackled topics such as leaving the EU, abolishing immigration controls and banning opinion polling in the month before a vote.

Christine McLintock, president of the Law Society, said: “It has been a fantastic tournament once again. There were a number of schools entering for the first time this year, including one of our finalists, Prestwick Academy. It’s always exciting to see a team enter the tournament for the first time and go right through to the final, however all four teams who have reached this stage are to be congratulated, particularly when you consider just how many teams took part in the opening rounds and the calibre of our competitors. They have done incredibly well.

“It’s a real honour to be able to host the tournament final in the debating chamber of the Parliament again this year and I’m sure it will be a very memorable experience for all those taking part.”

Laura Gulliver from the Education and Training team at the Law Society, said: “This is now the largest schools debating tournament in Scotland. Getting to the final is no small feat and the teams have done tremendously well. All of our finalists really had to think on their feet to get this far and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

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. Runners up will receive £250 from the Glasgow Bar Association. All finalists receive individual quaichs and certificates to commemorate their success and tournament sponsors, Hodder Gibson Publishers, will donate educational books to the value of £500, to be shared by the winners and runners-up

Further information and a video about the tournament featuring the 2013/14 winners and runners up can be found at

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


Lanark Grammar School


Madras College

St Andrews

Prestwick Academy*


St Mary's Music School


ENDS                                                                          2 June 2015

Notes to editors:

The judges for the final of the Law Society of Scotland Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament are:

  • Steven Docherty, Head of Conflict Resolution, Wright Johnston & Mackenzie LLP. (Presiding Judge).
  • Jon Dye, Former Chairman of the English Speaking Union
  • Irene McGrath, Chair of the Scottish Schools International Debating Council.
  • Rob Marrs, Senior Policy Advisor, Law Society of Scotland, and formerly speech and debates officer, English Speaking Union.

The event will be webcast live on the Parliament’s website from 18.30 to 21.50 ( on Thursday 4 June.

Photographs of the event will be available free of charge. Please contact the Scottish Parliament photographer Andrew Cowan on 0131 348 5878.

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. The competition aims to promote an understanding of the importance of debate, advocacy and communication to the legal profession, democracy and society at large.  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

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