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Madras College pupils win national debating tournament final

05 June 2015 | tagged News release


Madras College pupils win national debating tournament final

Pupils from Madras College have been crowned Scotland’s best young debaters after winning the final of the Law Society of Scotland’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament last night, Thursday 4 June.

Donald Dewar Memorial Debate Winners , Sponsors And Law Society President June 2015 Copy

Jamie McLeod and Ewan Redpath debated the motion ‘This House would restrict media coverage of terrorist attacks’ in the Scottish Parliament’s main chamber.

David Cameron and David Laird from Prestwick Academy were runners up after their school entered the competition for the first time this year.

Also competing in the final were Anna Michels and Richard Montgomery from St Mary’s Music School and Rachael Miller and Rhianna McGrath from Lanark Grammar.                  

Christine McLintock, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “I congratulate Jamie and Ewan for their outstanding performance – it really was impressive. Many congratulations must also go to the three other teams in the final. Getting to this stage is an incredible 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 success.

“It was a privilege for us to host the tournament final in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament once again. I would like to thank the Deputy Presiding Officer, Elaine Smith MSP, for such an excellent job in presiding over the final. Thanks too, go to our judges who had the challenging task of selecting the winning team.”

Laura Gulliver, careers and outreach manager at the Law Society, said: “It has been a fantastic tournament and all the teams who have reached this stage are to be congratulated – it was a very closely contested final.

“Each of the teams presented articulate and convincing arguments both for and against restricting media coverage of terrorist attacks and I’m sure that everyone who attended found the debates interesting and thought-provoking.

“Debating is a great skill to have; as well as helping pupils learn how to build convincing arguments it gives them a chance to express their views and opinions. In the earlier rounds we included motions relating to EU membership, immigration controls and banning opinion polling in the month before a vote and it’s been great to see young people in Scotland engaging with these issues.”

Pupils from the schools across Scotland that entered the tournament this year were among the audience for the final and took part in a floor debate. Craig McCulloch from Lanark Grammar was awarded the prize for his contribution.

ENDS                                                              5 JUNE 2015

Note to editors:

Photo left-right names: Christine McLintock, president of the Law Society of Scotland; Lindsay McPhee, Glasgow Bar Assocation; Jamie McLeod and Ewan Redpath, Madras College; John Mitchell, Hodder Gibson; Elaine Smith MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer

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. The competition aims to promote an understanding of the importance of debate, advocacy and communication to the legal profession, democracy and society at large.  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.

The winning team was presented with the tournament trophy and £1,000 for their school from the Law Society. Runners up received £250 from the Glasgow Bar Association. All finalists received individual quaichs and certificates to commemorate their success and tournament sponsors, Hodder Gibson Publishers, donated educational books to the value of £500, to be shared by the winners and runners-up

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

The four teams in this year’s final were:

  • Rachael Miller and Rhianna McGrath from Lanark Grammar (Lanark)
  • Jamie MacLeod and Ewan Redpath from Madras College (St. Andrews)
  • Anna Michels and Richard Montgomery from St Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh)
  • David Cameron and David Laird from Prestwick Academy (Prestwick)

The judges:

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

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

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