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Craigmount High pupils win national debating tournament final

06 June 2014 | tagged News release

Pupils from Craigmount High have been crowned Scotland's finest young debaters after winning the final of the Law Society of Scotland's Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament last night, Thursday 5 June.

Liam Stewart and Michael Davidson debated the motion "This House believes that historic debt between Commonwealth countries should be written off'' in the Scottish Parliament's main chamber.

Amitai Gottleib and Rosie Duthie, from Douglas Academy, Milngavie, were runners up.

Also competing in the final were Robert Wilson and Issy Arnaud, from Glenalmond College, Perthshire, and Sean Cosgrove and David Campbell, from Trinity High, Renfrewshire. 

Alistair Morris, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "I  congratulate Liam and Michael for their excellent performance - it really was outstanding. Many congratulations must also go to the three other teams in the final. Getting to this point is a fantastic achievement, particularly when you consider that there were 128 teams in the opening rounds of this year's tournament. All of our finalists should feel very proud of their achievement.

"It is a real privilege for us to host the tournament final in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament for what was a very lively and topical debate. I would like to thank the Deputy Presiding Officer, John Scott MSP, for such an excellent job in presiding over the final. Thanks too, go to our judges who had the difficult challenge of selecting the winning team."

Heather McKendrick, Careers and Outreach Manager at the Law Society, said: "It has been a fantastic tournament once again and all the teams who have reached the final are to be congratulated - it was a very closely contested final.

"This year we included motions relating to the Commonwealth and as the games approach this summer, it's relevant for us all to consider what it means to be part of this group of countries. The debating teams themselves have been very enthusiastic about this theme and came up with thought-provoking arguments during the earlier heats when they debated whether the UK should have boycotted the Commonwealth heads of government meeting last year or whether Commonwealth countries which consider homosexuality to be a crime should be expelled from the group."

Pupils from many of the schools that entered the tournament this year were among the audience for the final and took part in a floor debate. Emily Wilson, from Dunblane High School, was awarded the prize for her contribution.


Note to editors:

Established in 1999, the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament is the largest annual school debating tournament and open to pupils in all Scottish secondary schools.

The winning school was awarded a trophy and prize of £1,000 from the Law Society of Scotland. Runners up received £250, donated by the Glasgow Bar Association. All finalists were awarded individual quaiches and certificates, and sponsors Hodder Gibson Publishers donated educational books to the value of £500, to be shared by the winning and runner-up school.

The four teams in this year's final were:

  • Craigmount High (Edinburgh) - Liam Stewart and Michael Davidson
  • Douglas Academy (Milngavie) - Amitai Gottleib and Rosie Duthie
  • Glenalmond College (Perthshire) - Robert Wilson and Issy Arnaud
  • Trinity High (Renfrewshire) - Sean Cosgrove and David Campbell                  

The judges:

  • Jon Dye, former Chairman of the English Speaking Union (Presiding Judge)
  • 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
  • Steven Docherty, Head of Conflict Resolution, Wright Johnston & Mackenzie LLP
  • Mark McDonald MSP

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 / 07825 206468 or Suzy Powell on 0131 476 8115.


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

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