Pupils from Balfron High School, Bearsden Academy, St Andrew’s Academy and St Margaret’s School are busy preparing for the final of Donald Dewar memorial debating tournament, to be held Thursday 6 June.
Andrew Spence and Julia Anderson, Matthew Burton and Michael Dunn, Kate Quinn and Lucy Halliday and Jessica McClure and Sarah McKay are the eight finalists from schools across Scotland to have won their places in the final of Scotland’s biggest schools debating competition which, like the Scottish Parliament, is marking its twentieth anniversary this year.
The Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament will provide a fitting backdrop as the students pit their wits against one another debating the motion, “This house believes the Scottish Parliament should have an appointed second chamber”.
128 teams entered the first round of the competition back in November and after two further testing heats, just four schools have debated their way to the final, which will be chaired by Presiding Officer, Ken MacIntosh.
John Mulholland, President of the Law Society of Scotland said, “Now in its 20th year, we have had yet another fantastic tournament. All of the 128 schools who have taken part in this year’s competition are to be congratulated and the four schools who have reached the final should be incredibly proud of themselves.
“They have come up against some stiff competition and proven themselves as confident and skilled debaters.
“This 20th anniversary year is particularly special and it will be an honour to host the final in the parliament’s debating chamber. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what the students have to say. It will be a memorable experience for everyone involved.”
Law firm TC Young and publishers Hodder Gibson sponsored the event. The winning debate team will pick up £1,000 donated by the Law Society of Scotland for their school and the runner up will receive £250 provided by the Glasgow Bar Association, for their school. The top two teams will share £500 worth of educational books presented by tournament sponsors Hodder Gibson.
The finalists in this year's tournament are
- Andrew Spence and Julia Anderson from Balfron High School (Stirling)
- Matthew Burton and Michael Dunn from Bearsden Academy (East Dunbartonshire)
- Kate Quinn and Lucy Halliday from St Andrew’s Academy (Renfrewshire)
- Sarah MacKay and Sarah McKay from St Margaret’s School for Girls (Aberdeen)
Schools taking part in the floor debate are:
- Peebles High School
- Inverkeithing High School
- St Andrew’s & St Brides
- Balwearie High School
- Balfron High School
- St Andrew’s Academy
Motions debated in previous rounds included the following,
First round - ‘This House believes that Google does more harm than good’
Second round - 'This House would abolish the National Minimum Wage'
Semi-final motion- ‘This House regrets the #MeToo movement’
Follow @lawscot #DewarDebate on twitter.
Established in 1999 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.