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.


2024/2025 COMPETITION 

Entries to the 2024/2025 Public Speaking Competition is now open.

The entry form to the Public Speaking Competition can be found here.

Entry for the Public Speaking Competition is £30 for one speaker and £15 for each additional speaker entered per school.

Preliminary Rounds

Preliminary rounds for the Public Speaking Competition will be held on the 9th and 16th November.


2023/2024 COMPETITION 

Preliminary Rounds   

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. The themes were:   

Juniors: Are our digital identities our truest selves?   

Seniors: Is it possible to separate the art from the artist  


Grand Final 

We were pleased to welcome the best speakers from our preliminary rounds to the Grand Final, held at Edinburgh Academy on 15th March 2024. 8 junior and 13 senior speakers took part, delivering brilliant speeches on the following themes:   

Juniors: The world would be better without….   

Seniors: My solution for the education system.  

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 and posed powerful questions.  

After much deliberation, our judges awarded the junior prize to Tanisha T of The High School of Glasgow and the senior prize to Lila-Jane F from Arbroath Academy.

Congratulations to both winners and to all of our finalists!


Lila-Jane F (Arbroath Academy) – Winner of the Senior Public Speaking competition.

“Debating has led me to participate in the Young Speakers Scotland competition where I could passionately express myself like never before. I’ve found myself becoming more confident in holding mature conversations with those decades older than me. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to express myself in this way.” – Lila-Jane F (Arbroath Academy).


Rebekah G, Junior Public Speaking finalist and Tanisha T, winner of the Junior Public Speaking competition (The High School of Glasgow).

 “Taking part in Young Speakers Scotland has been a fun experience and has helped me increase my confidence. I can’t wait until next year!” – Tanisha T (The High School of Glasgow).


Arbroath Academy 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.


Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible. In particular, we would like to thank the Edinburgh Academy for hosting this event and the wonderful teachers, without whom schools debating in Scotland would not be possible. We are also extremely grateful to our funders. Thank you for supporting us in our mission to help young people communicate with confidence through your kind donations.