School pupils win through to national debating tournament final

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 leaving the EU, abolishing immigration controls and banning opinion polling in the month before a vote.

The finalists are:

  • Rachel 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)

Teams from 97 Scottish schools put their powers of persuasion to the test in the opening rounds of the competition and the second round prompted dynamic 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.

Heather McKendrick, careers and outreach manager at the Law Society, said: “The teams that have made it through to the final really had to think on their feet to get this far and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

The final of this year’s competition will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 4 June.

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