Scottish pupils through to semi-finals of national debating tournament

Scottish pupils through to semi-finals of national debating tournament

Pupils from 16 schools across Scotland have battled their way to the semi-finals of the Law Society of Scotland’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

128 teams took part in the opening rounds of the competition, pitting their wits against one another as they debated the pros and cons of banning referendums.

The second rounds prompted dynamic discussion from the 64 remaining teams, as they argued the cases for and against the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports.

In the next round, the competition will ramp up another notch, as the students are presented with an unseen motion just an hour before the semi-final debates begin.

Heather McKendrick, Head of Careers and Outreach at the Law Society, said, “The semi-finals are really exciting for everyone involved and the tension is mounting for the pupils taking part.  Not only is there more at stake, but the teams only get sight of the motion an hour before the debate kicks off.  No newspapers, computers or smartphones are allowed in that final hour, which in this age of 24 hour digital information, really challenges the pupils and tests their skills as debaters.

“We’ve had a fantastic start to this year’s Donald Dewar Debating Tournament.  All of the schools should be very proud to get this far. I’m intrigued to see how the teams think on their feet in the semi-finals.”

The semi-finals of the competition take place in March and the final will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 8th June.

The Law Society provides the first prize of £1,000 and the top two schools will share educational books to the value of £500 donated by the event sponsor, Hodder Gibson.

You can keep up to date with this year’s competition online at or at #DewarDebate on twitter.

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 March. St Ninian’s High School is the only school taking part in the competition for the first time this year.

Winning Team Winning School Town  
Banchory Academy Banchory  
Douglas Academy Milngavie  
Duncanrig Secondary School East Kilbride  
George Watson’s College Edinburgh  
High School of Dundee Dundee  
Inverclyde Academy Greenock  
James Gillespie’s High School Edinburgh  
James Young High School Livingston  
Kelvinside Academy Glasgow  
Madras College St Andrews  
Queensferry High School Edinburgh  
St Andrew’s & St Bride’s East Kilbride  
St Ninian’s High School Hamilton  
Strathallan School Perth  
The High School of Glasgow Glasgow  
Thurso High School Thurso