St Andrew’s Day 2019

by | Dec 3, 2019 | Blog


On Saturday 30th November the English-Speaking Union Scotland held the 13th annual St Andrew’s Day Debating Competition in partnership with the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and Education Scotland. This is always such a highlight of our calendar and this year was no exception.

We were lucky to have teams from around Scotland at the event- from the Highlands to Ayr. The standard of debating was exceptional, with pupils taking speaking, judging and chairing roles. University student mentors gave our debaters feedback and guidance throughout the day.


The winners of this year’s St Andrew’s Day Debate with Gayle Bell, Executive Director of the ESU and Christine Grahame MSP


The team that won the competition consisted of Meg Wishart from Broxburn Academy and Aidan Urquhart from Thurso High School, who spoke passionately from Opening Opposition in the final at the Scottish Parliament. Congratulations! The final was ably chaired by Christine Grahame MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and the judging panel consisted of Charles Holmes, Maxine Muirhead, Jennifer Broadley, Amber Richardson and Jordan Pfotenhauer.


One of our mentors helping a team prepare for their debate

The best speaker at the competition was Anish Sumbramaniam from Robert Gordon’s College and the best pupil judge was David Logan from the High School of Dundee. The runner-up team consisted of Joseph Scott from Kelvinside Academy and Rosie McCrone from Perth Academy. The runner-up pupil judge, who sat on the final judging panel, was Amber Richardson from Aboyne Academy.

The motions for the competition were:

Round 1: This house would introduce a quota in the Scottish Parliament requiring 50% of MSPs be women.

Round 2: This house would abolish all school exams.

Round 3:This house believes that inmates in prisons should be allowed to vote.

Final: This house believes that the government should prioritise relocating people away from areas at risk of climate change damage (eg: coasts) over making these areas safe to live in

You can listen to the final here.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped make the day possible:

  • The Scottish Government and Education Scotland. Particular thanks to Ian Sirrell and Lynne Robertson.

  • Douglas Millar and his team at the Scottish Parliament.

  • Our volunteer judges.

  • Our University student mentors.

  • The teachers and parents who chaperoned participants to the event.

We wouldn’t have had a St Andrew’s Day Debate without you.

Here’s to 13 more years of this wonderful event!

Jordan Pfotenhauer

Programmes Officer, English-Speaking Union Scotland


Finalists and the judges for the final with Christine Grahame MSP

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