Debating and public speaking have a proven track record at helping young people gain crucial skills. The ability to speak confidently, think critically and engage in argument is invaluable in a wide variety of situations – from the schoolyard to the board room, from a film set to a job interview.
Scotland’s schools currently suffer under a large poverty-related attainment gap. The pupils who live in the most deprived 20% of communities are just as likely to leave school with one Higher as the pupils in the least deprived 20% are to leave with five. This disparity has only increased as a result of COVID-19. At Young Speakers Scotland, we believe that the school a pupil attends should never dictate their chances of success, and that through debating we can empower schools and the young people in them to achieve their potential.
Debating has been shown to deliver these results. From America to South Africa, India to China, debating has improved educational outcomes for the young people who take part in it. These young debaters are more likely to go on to study at tertiary institutions.