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Fortrose Academy smart talkers reach final of national debating contest


By Gregor White

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Pupils from Fortrose Academy have made it to the finals of a national debating competition.
Pupils from Fortrose Academy have made it to the finals of a national debating competition.

Pupils from Fortrose Academy have made it to the final four in this year’s Law Society of Scotland national debating competition.

Edie Matthewson and Thomas Fox from the Black Isle secondary won over the judges during their semi-final heat with their arguments on the motion ‘This house believes reality TV does more harm than good’.

The annual Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament is in its 21st year and is the biggest competition of its kind in Scotland.

A total of 64 teams from schools across the country entered the competition and have been whittled down over the course of several nail-biting heats to the final four.

Edie and Thomas will now battle it out to be crowned national debating champions against the other finalists from Peebles High School; the Royal High School, Edinburgh and Balfron High School, Stirling.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the tournament semi-finals were held virtually for the first time ever.

Lyndsey Thomson, careers and outreach coordinator at the Law Society, said: “The Donald Dewar debate is an absolutely fantastic initiative and always a real pleasure to be involved with.

“Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, we are delighted that we have been able to continue the competition virtually and not let all the students’ hard work go to waste. Our student debaters coped incredibly well under the pressure of not only the competition, but the change in circumstances.

“The standard of debating was extremely high from all the teams and the students should be very proud of themselves. I can’t wait to see the arguments put forward by the teams at the final.”

The grand final of the debating competition will be held remotely on Thursday, June 4.

The Law Society awards first place a prize of £1000 and the runners-up receive £250, donated by the Glasgow Bar Association. The top two schools will share educational books to the value of £500, donated by event sponsor Hodder Gibson.

You can keep up to date with this year’s competition online at www.lawscot.org.uk/debating or follow #DewarDebate on Twitter.

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