Public Speaking Competition

YSS runs two single-speaker competitions: a Senior Public Speaking Competition for pupils in years S4 to S6 (aged 18 or under), and a Junior Public Speaking Competition for S1 to S3 pupils.

Different themes are set for the preliminary rounds and the final, and the format allows pupils to present a creative speech of five minutes on a very broad topic. This provides a forum to develop their own personal speaking style and to build confidence in articulating and sharing their ideas; skills that will help them at school and throughout their everyday lives. Recent themes have included topical subjects and literary quotes.

Speakers are expected to answer questions after their speech, posed by the adjudication panel to help ascertain how well-researched the speaker is.

“I’m Magen. As an aspiring lawyer, I found the Public Speaking competition to be great fun. It not only helped to improve my overall public speaking skills, but gave me the opportunity to meet other young people and learn different styles of public speaking. “

– Magen, 2016-17 Schools’ Public Speaking Competition Champion


Entries to the 2023/2024 Public Speaking Competition are now closed. 

After the success of the debating competitions last term, we’re happy to confirm that that Young Speakers Scotland will be running both the Public Speaking Competition again in 2023/2024.

Preliminary rounds for the Public Speaking Competition were held in-person, in Edinburgh, on the 11th & 18th November 2023 for both junior and senior speakers.

Public Speaking Competition 2023/2024 Themes  

Junior Heats The theme for our junior heats is: 

Are our digital identities our truest selves? 

Senior Heats The theme for our senior heats is: 

Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? 

Following two extremely high-quality heats, we are looking forward to the finals of our Public Speaking Competition.  Themes for the Grand Final will be released soon.

The speakers taking part in the Finals of our Public Speaking Competition are:


Emily Mann – George Heriot’s School 

Megan Stuart – Gordonstoun School 

Annie McDowall – George Heriot’s School 

Ollie Brandie – Arbroath Academy 

Isabel Wall – Grove Academy 

Anastasia D’angelosante – Wellington School 

Rebekah de Groot – High School of Glasgow 

Tanisha Thapar – High School of Glasgow 


Harry Leadingham – Grove Academy 

Keira Richards – Braidhurst High School 

Evangeline Perry – George Heriot’s School# 

Ian Williams – Tynecastle High School 

Jaden John – Tynecastle High School 

Ralph Kelly – Edinburgh Academy 

Lila-Jane Folkard – Arbroath Academy 

Emily McGregor – Perth Academy 

Emily Taylor – Wellington School 

Finn McGrady-Strachan – Hillhead High School 

Heather Cook – Stirling High School 

Jabin Ravikrishnan – Graeme High School 

Katherine Taylor – Wellington School 


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at



The senior finalists of Young Speakers Scotland 2022/2023 Public Speaking Competition.

On March 4th, Young Speakers Scotland hosted the finals of our annual Public Speaking Competition.

This event sees young people from around Scotland deliver speeches on a set of themes. Speakers are divided into a junior and senior division, with the winning speaker in each division getting a coveted trophy and a chance to take part in the ESU’s International Public Speaking Competition.

Jabin Rivikrishnan, winner of the Junior Public Speaking Competition, with judges Jennifer Broadley and Elspeth Hough.

This year the speeches were of an extremely high quality. Our judges were treated to moving, humorous and inspiring stories that took inspiration from speakers’ personal lives, Greek mythology, contemporary politics and science.

After much deliberation, our judges awarded the junior prize to Jabin Ravikrishnan of Graeme High School and the senior prize to Kathryn Taylor of Wellington School. Congratulations to both winners and to all of our finalists!

Kathryn Taylor, winner of the Senior Public Speaking Competition, with judges Elspeth Hough and Jennifer Broadley.

Graeme High School takes part in our Speak up Scotland workshops, which use debating & public speaking to help young people gain confidence and the ability to advocate for themselves. It was great to see one of our workshop participants go on to win this prestigious competition.