Two pupils from Bearsden Academy have won this year's Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament last night, organised by the Law Society of Scotland.
Matthew Burton and Michael Dunn were judged the winners for their opposition to the motion "This house believes the Scottish Parliament should have an appointed second chamber."
Andrew Spence and Julia Anderson from Balfron High School were the runners up. Katie Quinn and Lucy Halliday from St Andrew’s Academy, and Sarah MacKay and Jessica McClure from St Margaret’s School for Girls, also competed in the final.
To get to this stage of the competition, the students previously tackled topics such as whether "Google does more harm than good", whether "the National Minimum Wage should be abolished", and whether "the house regrets the #MeToo movement".
Many of the students from schools across Scotland who took part in one of the three previous rounds of this year’s tournament were in the audience for the final. Harry Mackle from St Andrews & St Brides High School and Mhairi Kinahan from Peebles High School were both awarded a £50 book token for the best floor speech.
The winning team receives £1,000 prize money for the school, along with the tournament trophy. The runner up receives £250, and both schools share educational books to the value of £500 from tournament sponsor Hodder Gibson.
Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh MSP, said: “I am always so impressed by the effort that pupils put into this event and this year was no different. It was inspiring to listen to the young people who articulated their arguments extremely well and proved themselves to be skilled debaters. All the young people put on an outstanding performance but particular congratulations to Matthew and Michael from Bearsden Academy.”
John Mulholland, President of the Law Society of Scotland added: “I have been absolutely amazed by the quality of debate displayed in this year’s final and am delighted to congratulate Matthew and Michael on their remarkable performances.
“Their success is well deserved and all of the 128 schools who have taken part in this year’s competition should be incredibly proud of themselves. I would also like to congratulate the six other finalists who were more than worthy opponents and debating their way all the way to the final is a fantastic achievement.
“Many thanks too, to the Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh MSP, for doing such an excellent job of chairing the debate, our judges who rose to the challenge of identifying the winning team, our parliament colleagues for hosting this tremendous event and of course everyone who took part and supported the tournament.”