Child poverty at heart of Holyrood debate


Students from schools and universities across Scotland will gather at the Scottish Parliament today to compete to win the St Andrew’s Day debating prize.

The fourth St Andrew’s Day Debates final will focus on issues affecting young people in Scotland today and in particular child poverty.

The debate, jointly organised by The Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and English Speaking Union, brings together university and school teams from across Scotland to debate their way through to the championship final.

Deputy Presiding Officer Aladsair Morgan MSP will officially welcome the participants to Holyrood and will chair the debating final.

The judging panel for the final debate includes:

  • Deputy Presiding Officer Trish Godman MSP
  • Reverend Neil Galbraith
  • Chief Political Correspondent, BBC Scotland, Brian Taylor
  • Honorary President of English-Speaking Union Scotland, Brian Monteith
  • Dennis Canavan

Deputy Presiding Officer Alasdair Morgan MSP said:

“Today we welcome young debaters from across Scotland to take part in the St Andrew’s Day Debate. The issues under discussion are of paramount importance to young people in Scotland and are sure to challenge the debating skills of our finalists. I look forward to listening to the young deliberators’ debate these important topics and can think of no better place for them to showcase their talents than in the parliamentary chamber. “

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, said:

"St Andrew's Day is when we celebrate our national identity. It is also an ideal opportunity to consider some of the important issues affecting Scotland, such as child poverty. The Scottish Government is already taking steps to address the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality and disadvantage and we are currently consulting on the development of our first Scottish Child Poverty Strategy. I am pleased that our young people will be debating such a significant issue in the Scottish Parliament on our national day."  

Brian Monteith, Chairman of the English Speaking Union Scotland said:

“I’m pleased that the Parliament and Scottish Government have again provided such valuable support to the ESU. Developing the speaking skills of Scotland’s young people is one of the key aims of the organisation and we welcome their continued support of this work. I’m sure all participants are looking forward to having the opportunity to debate in the debating chamber on these issues, which are so relevant to young people in Scotland today.”

Throughout day there will be discussions on a number of topics:

  • Round one – “This house would lower the voting age to 16 in any future referendum”
  • Round two - “This house would make the teaching of Scottish History compulsory in schools.”
  • Championship Final - the final topic will be revealed to finalists on the day but will relate to child poverty.

Background information

  • 18 schools participating are as follows:

-Aberdeen Grammar (Aberdeen Central)

-Abronhill High School (Cumbernauld & Kilsyth)

-Bearsden Academy (Clydebank & Milngavie)

-Boroughmuir High School (Edinburgh Central)

-Craigmount High School (Edinburgh Central)

-St Columbas of Kilmacolm (West Renfrewshire)

-Dollar Academy (Ochil)

-High School of Dundee (Dundee West)

-George Watson’s College (Edinburgh South)

-High School of Glasgow (Glasgow Anniesland)

-James Gillespie’s High School (Edinburgh South)

-McLaren High School (Stirling)

-St Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh Central)

-Mearns Castle High School (Eastwood)

-Milliburn Academy (Inverness east, Nairn & Lochaber)

-Nairn Academy) Inverness east, Nairn & Lochaber)

-Robert Gordon’s College (Aberdeen Central)

-Uddingston Grammar School (Hamilton North & Bellshill)

  • 5 Universities participating are as follows:

- University of Glasgow

- University of Aberdeen

- University of St Andrew’s

-University of Dundee

-University of Strathclyde

  • Scotland’s national day, St Andrew’s day, is 30 November. Celebrations for St Andrew’s Day begin on 25 November and herald the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals.
  • In support of the ‘Cross Out Child Poverty in Scotland’ campaign, the final motion for this year’s debating championship focuses on child poverty. For more information about the campaign, visit
This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.