The number of schools still in the running to win the Law Society’s annual debating tournament has been whittled down to sixteen, following the second-round heats of the competition. 

The latest round saw 32 school teams put forward their arguments to the motion ‘This House would privatise the BBC’ in an attempt to secure a place in the semi-final. These teams reached this second round heat having successfully argued the motion ‘This House would introduce compulsory National Civic Service for all 15 and 16 year olds’ at the first stage.

Lyndsey Thomson, Careers and Outreach Coordinator at the Law Society commented: “The high standards of debating that we saw at the opening stage were again demonstrated by the teams. With each stage the tension builds, presenting an increased challenge for the teams to contend with. The pressure will be on for the semi-final, particularly as the teams only get sight of the motion an hour before the debate, with a total ban on access to newspapers, computers or smartphones. It will be a real test of their general knowledge, quick thinking and powers of persuasion.”

The semi-finalists are: Albyn School, Aberdeen; Balfron High School; Banchory Academy; Biggar High School; Broxburn Academy; Douglas Academy, Milngavie; Duncanrig Secondary School, East Kilbride; Fortrose Academy; Holy Cross High School, Hamilton; Our Lady & St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton; Peebles High School; The Royal High School, Edinburgh; Thurso High School; St Andrew’s Academy, Paisley; St Columba’s RC High School, Dunfermline; Wellington School, Ayr.                     

The Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament is now in its 21st year. It is open to all schools across Scotland and sees nationwide participation, with competing schools from the highlands down to the borders and east to west coasts.

The semi-final will be held in March, with the final scheduled for June. The Law Society awards first place a prize of £1,000, and the top two teams will share educational books to the value of £500 donated by the event sponsor, Hodder Gibson.

If you have experience of debating and would be interested in getting involved as a judge, please contact Further information about judging in the tournament can also be found at The semi-final heats will take place on Tuesday 17 and Thursday 19 March 2020.

Winning team 1

Winning team 2

Best Floor Speech

Albyn School

Simi Ogedengbe & Rachel Gallagher

Banchory Academy

Josei McGarvey & Yasmin Shiels


Albyn School

Biggar High School

Coll McCail & Fin Laing

The Royal High School

Emma Shopland & Laura Young


Our Lady & St Patrick’s High School

Eve Shiels & Aidan Lynn

Douglas Academy

Chloe Beardsley & Orla Vennard


Duncanrig Secondary School

Erin Stewart & Ross Cooper

Holy Cross High School

Holly Biggar & Kittie Maslanka

Mirren Mcivor

Duncanrig Secondary School

Fortrose Academy

Edie Matthewson &               Thomas Fox

Thurso High School

Aidan Urquhart & Ross Dunbar

Emily Keith

Meldrum Academy

St Columba's RC High School

Keira Bayne & Grace Dewar

Balfron High School

Curtis McLerie & Finn Thompson

Hamish Hamilton-Smith

Stirling High School

Broxburn Academy

Meg Wishart & Ruby Ferguson

Peebles High School

Mari Kinihan & William Adams


Craigmount High School

St Andrew’s Academy

Kate Quinn & Lucy Halliday              

Wellington School

Meera Mohankrishnan & Anubha Bal

 Leia Mciloy

 Rosshall Academy



Flip calendar

How the debate works

Learn about the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament format, rules and timescales.