A unique educational charity and membership organisation dedicated to helping people realise their potential through giving them the skills and confidence in communication to articulate their ideas and share them with others. 

Our vision is to provide people in Scotland and internationally with communications skills, confidence and opportunities to engage in an exchange of ideas and opinions. We believe that good communication and cultural exchange is essential to individual, community and global development and understanding. Education is at the very heart of our work.

Central to our mission is a commitment to working with schools and young people to narrow gaps in opportunity and assist in closing the poverty-related attainment gap.


Lockdown Debating Materials

As part of our Speak up Scotland programme, the ESU Scotland have put together materials to help teachers, pupils and parents keep debating during this lockdown period.​

You can find these materials on this page, and we'll also be updating our blog regularly with posts, videos and exercises. 

Debating During Lockdown.jpg
Intuitions and Examples.jpg

Debating During Lockdown: A Guide for Teachers

Intuitions, Examples and Analogies

YouTube Channel

We now have a YouTube channel! Follow English-Speaking Union Scotland for videos on debating, public speaking and communication. 

We'll also be uploading videos of our workshops and some of our debates on this channel. 

Screenshot 2020-06-18 at 17.14.41.png

Click this image to watch our Programmes Director deliver training on the World Schools Debating Style. 


Online Competition

St Andrew's Day Debate 2019

We're hosting an online competition! On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June schools from around Scotland will be debating online in an exciting tournament.

We're using this competition as an opportunity to run some training workshops too. These will take place on Saturday morning, before round 1. 

The motions for this competition are: 

This house believes that social media has done more harm than good. 


This house would allow parents to vote on what is in the curriculum at their children’s schools. 


This house would ban individuals from adopting children from outside their own country. 


This house would require politicians to only use public services (e.g.: public hospitals, public schools for their children)



This house supports the removal of statues of objectionable people from public spaces. 

On Saturday 30th November, we held the 13th annual St Andrew's Day Debating Competition.

The standard of debate was incredibly high- with pupils from around Scotland debating topics such as abolishing exams and granting prisoners the right to vote. University students mentored the young debaters throughout the day. 

The team that won the competition consisted of Meg Wishart from Broxburn Academy and Aidan Urquhart from Thurso High School, who spoke passionately against relocating people away from areas at risk of climate change damage in the exciting final at the Scottish Parliament. Congratulations to them! 

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 joined in judging the final, was Amber Richardson from Aboyne Academy. 

Scottish Team Results

On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June, we ran trials for the Scottish National Schools Debating Team. 

While World Schools won't be taking place in Mexico this year, this team will represent their country at the prestigious Online World Schools Debating Competition as well as a variety of precursor competitions. 

Our twelve trialists worked incredibly hard and made the final decision a tough one. They should all be very proud of their achievements. 

The team we eventually chose are: 

Emma Bell (Broxburn Academy)

Lachlan White (George Watson's College)

Eoghan Connolly (Douglas Academy)

Freddy Simonet-Lefevre (Craigmount High School)

Oscar Swire (Stewart's Melville College)

Keep an eye on our blog and social media pages for updates on the team's progress as we prepare for the World Championships! 

Judge Training Video

With the help of our friends at the Law Society of Scotland we've put together a training video for judges. 

This video outlines some of things to think about when judging a debate- how to tell if an argument is persuasive, how to choose a winning team and how to explain your decision to the speakers in your debate. Click the screenshot below to give the video a watch!

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 15.16.47.png



We have relocated to Norton Park, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY.

We shall look forward to working with you from our new office!


Please note our new phone numbers are: 0131 475 2332 and 0131 475 2606.

Norton Park, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY  0131 475 2332 

Scottish charity number: SC000653


© 2019 by ESU Scotland