Scotland’s most talented young debaters will take to the floor of the Holyrood Debating Chamber tomorrow to take part in the final of a national competition.
Taking place on Thursday 6 June, 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.
It is the culmination of a tournament which involved 128 teams from schools across Scotland. Along the way, pupils have debated subjects ranging from the internet giant Google, to the national minimum wage and the MeToo movement.
During the final the pupils will debate the subject of a second chamber for the Scottish Parliament. Appearing in the final are pupils from the following schools:
• Balfron High School (Stirling)
• St Andrew’s Academy (Renfrewshire)
• Bearsden Academy (East Dunbartonshire)
• St Margaret’s School for Girls (Aberdeen)
Speaking ahead of the final, Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP said:
“Every year the Dewar Debate provides a platform for pupils from all across Scotland to test their skills by debating their views on current issues.
“Over the past 20 years the Parliament’s Debating Chamber has seen some passionate and well-argued debates. So it is fitting that the floor of the Chamber will once again see some of Scotland’s young people take on this challenge.
“I’m always so impressed by the effort that pupils put into this event which promises to be a lively and topical debate.”
John Mulholland, President of the Law Society of Scotland said:
“Now in its 20th year, we have had yet another fantastic tournament. All of the 128 schools who have taken part in this year’s competition are to be congratulated and the four schools who have reached the final should be incredibly proud of themselves.
“They have come up against some stiff competition and proven themselves as confident and skilled debaters.
“This 20th anniversary year is particularly special and it will be an honour to host the final in the parliament’s debating chamber. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what the students have to say. It will be a memorable experience for everyone involved.”
The winning debate team will pick up £1,000 donated by the Law Society of Scotland for their school and the runner up will receive £250 for their school. The top two teams will share £500 worth of educational books presented by tournament sponsors Hodder Gibson.
Motions debated in previous rounds included the following:
First round - ‘This House believes that Google does more harm than good’
Second round - 'This House would abolish the National Minimum Wage'
Semi-final motion- ‘This House regrets the #MeToo movement’
The event will be webcast live on the Parliament’s website from 18.00 to 21.30 (www.scottish.parliament.uk/tv) on Thursday 6 June.
Photographs of the event will be available free of charge. Please contact the Scottish Parliament photographer Andrew Cowan on 0131 348 5878.