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Local pupils win through to national debating tournament final

11 March 2016 | tagged News release

Local school pupils have won through to the final of the Law Society of Scotland’s national debating tournament after pitting their wits against schools across the country.

Just four of the original 128 teams that entered the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament will take part in the final of the competition. To get to this stage the students have already had to tackle topics such as compensation for historical injustice, whether the internet does more harm than good and if the BBC should be privatised.

The finalists are:

  • Laura Wood and Sarah Gardner from the Royal High School (Edinburgh)
  • Caitlin Sherret and Findlay Allmond from Nairn Academy (Nairn)
  • Andrew Buchan and Ross Heenan from Braes High School (Falkirk)
  • Adam McGirr and Luke MacPhee from St Maurice’s High (Cumbernauld)

Teams from over 100 Scottish schools put their powers of persuasion to the test in the opening rounds of the competition and the second round prompted heated discussion from the remaining teams but the semi-finals stepped the competition up a notch as the students were only presented with the motion an hour before the debate took place.

Liz Campbell, Executive Director of Education,Training & Qualifications at the Law Society, said: "The semi-finals really test the competitor’s skills as debaters 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 so they really have to think on their feet.

“The teams that have made it through to the final should be very proud of what they have achieved. Getting to the final of this year’s Donald Dewar Debating Tournament is no small feat and I’m looking forward to hearing what the teams have to say when they take to the floor in the grand setting of the parliament’s debating chamber.”

The final of this year’s competition will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 9 June.

The winning team will be presented with the tournament trophy and £1,000 for their school from the Law Society and tournament sponsors Hodder Gibson will present the winners and runners up with educational books to the value of £500.

For more information about the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, visit or follow @lawscot #DewarDebate on Twitter.

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