The Schools’ Mace is the oldest and largest debating competition in the United Kingdom, contested since 1957 across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales; with over 600 schools entering annually.
Young Speakers Scotland runs the Scottish leg of the competition, aimed at senior secondary school pupils (usually S4 upwards). It is run as a knockout competition through the academic year, with preliminary rounds leading to a Scottish Final. The Scottish National Champions go on to compete in the International Final, held on a four-year rotation, in each of the member countries.
The competition follows the two-team Mace format, which is simpler than the British Parliamentary style but involves longer speeches, of seven minutes, and more advanced subject matter. 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 2023/2024 School’s Mace are now closed
After the success of the debating competitions last term, we’re happy to confirm that Young Speakers Scotland will be running the Mace again in 2023/2024.
The preliminary rounds were held on the 7th October 2023 & 4th November 2023.
Schools’ Mace 2023/2024 Motions
Prepared motion for round 1: This house would require all police officers in the UK to wear body cameras when on duty.
The other two preliminary rounds were unprepared. Teams were given one hour to prepare for these debates, and were not permitted outside help. They were also not allowed to use the internet for research, but were allowed to use any printed or written materials they had with them (e.g.: a case-file, almanac etc.).
Following two extremely high-quality heats, we are looking forward to the Grand Final. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and Grand Final will all be prepared motions and these will be released soon.
The schools taking part in the Schools’ Mace Final are:
St Columba’s School
Stirling High School
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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.
“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.
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.