Pupils from four schools across Scotland have successfully used their powers of persuasion to reach this year’s grand final of the Law Society of Scotland’s national debating competition.

The annual Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament is in its 21st year and is the biggest competition of its kind in Scotland. A total of 64 teams from schools across the country entered the competition in September and have been whittled down over the course of several nail-biting heats to the final four.

The teams going to the grand final are: Fortrose Academy, Highlands; Peebles High School, Borders; the Royal High School, Edinburgh; and Balfron High School, Stirling.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the tournament semi-finals were held virtually for the first time ever, with 16 schools pitting their wits against each other to argue whether reality TV does more harm than good.

Lyndsey Thomson, Careers and Outreach coordinator at the Law Society, said: “The Donald Dewar debate is an absolutely fantastic initiative and always a real pleasure to be involved with.

“Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, we are delighted that we have been able to continue the competition virtually and not let all the students’ hard work go to waste. Our student debaters coped incredibly well under the pressure of not only the competition, but the change in circumstances.

“The standard of debating was extremely high from all the teams and the students should be very proud of themselves. I can’t wait to see the arguments put forward by the teams at the final.”

The grand final of the competition will be held remotely on Thursday, 4 June.

The Law Society awards first place a prize of £1,000 and the runners-up receive £250, donated by the Glasgow Bar Association. The top two schools will share educational books to the value of £500, donated by event sponsor Hodder Gibson.

You can keep up to date with this year’s competition at www.lawscot.org.uk/debating or follow #DewarDebate on Twitter.

Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament

This year, our annual schools debating tournament will see 64 teams from across Scotland enter the first round, with just one team crowned the winner at the grand final.