St Margaret’s Pupils Debate their Way to the Final of National Competition

St Margaret’s sixth year pupils Sarah Mackay and Jessica McClure have made it to the grand final of the prestigious annual Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, which is organised by the Law Society of Scotland.

Sarah and Jessica will make the trip to Edinburgh for the event at the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, June 6, where they will be up against teams from Balfron High School in Stirling, Bearsden Academy in East Dunbartonshire and St Andrew’s Academy in Renfrewshire.

They will debate the motion, “This House believes that The Scottish Parliament should have an appointed second chamber”.

Head teacher Anna Tomlinson said the school was ‘hugely proud’ of the girls’ achievement.

“Preparation for a debate takes a great deal of time and commitment, and both Sarah and Jessica have invested a lot to get to this stage in the competition,” she said.

“They have done tremendously well to make it to the final four, especially given that 128 teams took part in the first round. Everyone will be wishing them the very best on Thursday and whatever the result, they will have done the school proud.”

To get to this stage, Sarah and the Jessica have competed in three debates over the past few months, the first round of which included 128 teams. The semi-finals took place in March in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and East Renfrewshire with pupils from 16 schools debating the motion – “This House regrets the #MeToo movement”. 

The semi-final was particularly difficult for the debaters as the motion was only announced one hour before the debate began and pupils were not allowed to access books, computers or mobile phones to prepare.

Earlier this month, four St Margaret’s girls took part in the Debater Trophy Competition at Albyn School, a competition for pupils who have never debated before.  Both the school’s teams won, with Ellie Lang and Orla scooping first place while Sophie Jennings and Deborah Esezebor came second.

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