Schools’ Mace

The Schools’ Mace debating competition follows the two-team Mace format. In the process of the competition, students develop their knowledge of the world, as well as their reasoning and presentation skills, in a fun and competitive environment.


Entries to the 2024/2025 School’s Mace are now open.

The entry form to the Schools’ Mace can be found here.

Entry to the Mace will cost £50 per school for state schools. For independent schools the cost is £60 for one team, and £30 for each additional team.

The 2024-2025 Schools’ Mace will consist of three preliminary rounds, with a break to a quarter-final.  The preliminary rounds will be held on the 28th September and 5th October. 

The format we will use will be as follows:

Each round will be run as one debate with two teams – a proposition and an opposition. One of these teams will be declared the winner. Each team has two speakers, with one speaker returning to deliver a summary speech.

We will not be running the Mace as a knock-out competition. Instead, the break will be decided based on the number of wins and speaker scores teams accumulate over the course of the preliminary rounds. This guarantees schools at least three chances to debate. Your school’s assigned Mace date will see your debaters take part in three rounds over one day.

If your school is new to the Mace Competition and would like additional information on the Mace format or debating in general, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 


The first of the three preliminary motions will be a prepared motion. Debaters are permitted to do research on this topic, can receive outside assistance, and are allowed to bring notes into the debate with them. Teams will not know the side they are on for this debate until one week before their round. Teams may request clarifications on the motion, and all clarifications issued will be made public to schools taking part in the competition.

The other two preliminary rounds will be unprepared. Teams will be given one hour to prepare for these debates, and will not be permitted outside help. They are also not allowed to use the internet for research, but will be allowed to use any printed or written materials they have with them (e.g.: a case-file, almanac etc.)

The quarter-finals, semi-finals and Grand Final will all be prepared motions. Teams will be given their sides in advance of these rounds.




On Saturday 4th February 2023, Young Speakers Scotland held the final of the Schools Mace Competition at the Faculty of Advocates, in Edinburgh. This is the longest-running schools debating competition in Scotland and one of the most prestigious events in the annual debating calendar.

Debaters from Banchory Academy taking part in the semi-final.

“The ability to analyse a case, craft a persuasive argument and then present it in public with passion and eloquence is a great life skill for young people to develop. Faculty is delighted to support Young Speakers Scotland in their work to bring debating and public speaking to schools across the country in a way which strongly promotes inclusion and diversity. We believe that hosting this debating competition, here in the Court of Session, is a fantastic way for us to engage with, and hopefully inspire, the next generation of advocates.”- Barney Ross, Clerk of the Faculty of Advocates.

Competing in the semi-finals were teams from Balfron High School, Banchory Academy, Broxburn Academy, Craigmount High School, St Columba’s School, George Heriot’s and the High School of Glasgow. Of these, three progressed to the Grand Finals: Broxburn Academy, St Columba’s School and the High School of Glasgow.

The winners and runners-up of the Schools Mace 2022/2023.

After a closely-fought, high quality final the debate was awarded to the team from Broxburn Academy. The runners-up were the debaters from St Columba’s School. Both teams impressed chair judge Lady Haldane with their sophisticated arguments about generative AI- a very complex topic- and their flair for speaking.

After several years of online debating it was wonderful to use The Faculty of Advocates as our venue. Participants also got the chance to watch a demonstration of a plea in mitigation in court; an exciting opportunity for those considering pursuing a career in law.

Lady Haldane, the chair judge of our Grand Final, announcing the result.

Thank you to everyone who made our Mace Grand Final possible: teachers, volunteers, the Faculty of Advocates and, of course, the debaters themselves!

The winning team, Emma Bell and Emma Crow from Broxburn Academy.

Participants taking part in the presentation from the Faculty of Advocates.