St Andrew’s Day Debate

The St Andrew’s Day Debating Tournament is the premier event in YSS’s debating calendar, giving Scotland’s young debaters an opportunity to speak in the Scottish Parliament. The Grand Final of the St Andrew’s Day Debate takes place in the iconic Debates Chamber of Parliament, making it one of the most memorable debating events in the school debating season.

The Tournament is designed to provide the maximum educational impact, especially for novice debaters. Pupils are also involved in chairing and timekeeping for the debates, on the judging panels, and contributing to the floor debates.

The competition is open to S3-S6 pupils, and younger pupils may attend as supporters.

2024 COMPETITION 

Entries to the 2024 St Andrew’s Day Debate is now open. 

Entry forms for the St Andrew’s Day Debate can be found here.

The event will take place on 30th November 2024. Entry to the St Andrew’s Day Debate is free.

 

2023 COMPETITION

On the 30th November 2023, Young Speakers Scotland hosted the annual St Andrew’s Day Debating Competition. 

We were pleased to welcome teams from all around Scotland to this exciting event, with debaters traveling from as far as Inverness to take part. 

20 teams took part in three preliminary rounds, with debaters giving speeches on a variety of topics. 

Following the preliminary rounds, the best three schools were Broxburn Academy, Edinburgh Academy and Stirling High School.

After an excellent final on the motion ‘This house regrets the commercialisation of feminism’, Stirling High School was declared the winner, with Broxburn Academy the runners-up. Heather Cook from Stirling High School was declared the best speaker. 

“From aspiring to study law, arguing with my parents and taking part in competitions, debating has always been a major focus of my life. Participating in the St Andrew’s Day Debate 2023 for the first time was incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, and winning both the competition and best speaker was even better!” – Heather Cook (Stirling High School), winner of the 2023 St Andrew’s Day Debate.

“I started going to my debating club in school expecting to just enter one competition. I would have never expected that I would have been in multiple competitions and actually win one! I want to be a politician and have realised that by working hard you can improve any skill, including debating.” – Logan Henderson (Stirling High School), winner of the 2023 St Andrew’s Day Debate.

A unique aspect of the St Andrew’s Day Debate is the ability for pupils to take part as judges, sitting alongside experienced adjudicators and learning from them. The two best pupil judges on the day were given the chance to judge the Grand Final. The judges were Jonathan Dunn from Wellington School and Holly Neary from Tynecastle High School. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible. In particular, we would like to thank the University of Edinburgh debaters who volunteered their time judging this event and teachers, without whom schools debating in Scotland would not be possible. 

 

2022/2023 COMPETITION 

On the 30th November 2022, Young Speakers Scotland hosted the annual St Andrew’s Day Debating Competition.

This prestigious event sees schools from around Scotland gather to debate topical issues with one another. Unique to this event is the ability for pupils to participate as judges and chairs. This ensures the day is both competitive, and an opportunity for learning. For many young people, this is their very first debating competition.

‘The kids gained so much from the St Andrew’s day debate: they have learned so much, and I have too, and feel our fledgeling group will really come on over the next couple of years!’ – teacher, Tynecastle High School. 

The final of the 2022 St Andrew’s Day Debate.

This year, 20 teams took part in the debate. These teams hailed from all around Scotland- from Aberdeen to Ayr to Dundee. After three exciting preliminary rounds the best four teams broke to a final where they debated the motion ‘This house supports a boycott of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar’.

Click on the graphic to view a video of the final debate:

After a high quality and closely-fought final, the debate was awarded to a team from Broxburn Academy. The best speaker was Luke Robertson, also from Broxburn Academy.

The winning team from Broxburn Academy. 

The best pupil judge award was given to Zoe Campbell from Loretto School. The runners-up pupil judges were Holly Neary from Tynecastle High School and Henry Jaspers from Robert Gordon’s College. Both Zoe and Holly sat on the final judging panel.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the day possible; and in particular to the teachers who helped their schools take part and the volunteer judges, without whom the day would not have been possible.

The motions for the 2022 St Andrew’s Day Debate were:

Round 1: This house supports the use of academic streaming.

Round 2: This house believes that high-profile court cases should be televised.

Round 3: In a world where random members of the population are born with superpowers, This house believes that the government should require those with superpowers to make their identities publicly known on a registry

Final: This house supports a boycott of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar.

‘What a great time our pupils had at Wednesday’s St Andrew’s Day Debate! Well done not only to S4 pupils, Athena and Jake, who participated brilliantly in the debating competitions, but also pupil judges, Ali and Aveer (both S1), and Maddie (S6) who chaired three debates!’ – The High School of Glasgow