“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

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

We were pleased to welcome schools from across Scotland to this exciting event, with debaters travelling 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. For many participants, this was their very first debating competition. 

Following the preliminary rounds, the best three schools made it through to the Grand Final. These 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. 

The winning team: Heather Cook and Logan Henderson from Stirling High School

“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. These judges were Jonathan Dunn from The 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 the teachers, without whom schools debating in Scotland would not be possible.