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Local pupils battle their way into debate tournament semi-finals

05 March 2015 | tagged News release

Local school pupils have won through to the semi-finals of the Law Society of Scotland’s national debating tournament after arguing the cases for and against the removal of immigration controls.

Of the 128 teams that entered the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, 16 teams from schools across Scotland are now preparing to take part in the semi-finals after debating the motion ‘This House would abolish all immigration controls’ in the second round heats.

97 Scottish schools pit their wits against each other in the opening rounds of the competition as they debated the pros and cons of EU membership. The second round prompted dynamic discussion from the 64 remaining teams but the semi-finals step the competition up a notch as the students are only presented with the motion an hour before the debate takes place.

Heather McKendrick, Careers and Outreach Manager at the Law Society, said: "The semi-finals are very tricky as the teams have just one hour to prepare after receiving the motion. They are not permitted access to any newspapers, computers or smartphones during that time. It really tests their skills as debaters.

 “We’ve had a fantastic start to this year’s Donald Dewar Debating Tournament and all of the pupils have done really well to get this far, especially those from schools taking part for the first time. I’m looking forward to seeing how the teams think on their feet in the semi-finals.”

The semi-finals of the competition take place over the next few weeks starting tonight, 5 March. The final will take place in Edinburgh in June.

The Law Society awards the first 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.

Further information and a Law Society video about the tournament featuring the 2013/14 winners and runners up can be found at

All schools through to the semi-finals are listed below:

16 of the original 128 teams have qualified for the semi-finals which will take place in the Spring. Schools taking part for the first time are marked *.


Name of School


Boclair Academy


Braes High School


Douglas Academy


Dunfermline High School


Grove Academy

Broughty Ferry

Hillpark Secondary


Lanark Grammar School


Madras College

St Andrews

Prestwick Academy*


Robert Gordon's College


St Margaret's School for Girls


St Mary's Music School


St Maurice's High School


St. Andrew's and St. Bride's

East Kilbride

Strathallan school


The Glasgow Academy



ENDS                                                                          5 March 2015


Notes to editors: Established in 1999 and now in its 15th year, 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Sarah Sutton on 0131 476 8170 or email

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