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. 

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Debating During Lockdown: A Guide for Teachers

Intuitions, Examples and Analogies

2020/2021 Competitions & Events

St Andrew's Day Debating Tournament 

The St. Andrew's Day Debate is our flagship event, usually hosted in the Scottish Parliament. Pupils from around Scotland gather to debate issues pertinent to young people today, mentored by University students. 

This year we'll be running this competition online. More information here.

Public Speaking Competition  

The ESU's Public Speaking Competition is our long-running persuasive speaking competition. 

We've partnered with the U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh this year to deliver a programme focused on international relations and the bonds between Scotland and the United States. 

This year we'll be running this competition online. More information here

Schools' Mace Debating Competition

The ESU Mace is one of Scotland's most prestigious debating competitions. Schools around Scotland compete for the winning title and a chance to represent Scotland at the International Mace. 

This year we'll be running this competition online. More information here


Apply to be a trustee

The ESU Scotland is seeking out 2-3 new trustees!

This is a very exciting time for our organisation, and we're looking for trustees to help us realise and develop our vision further. In particular, we are interested in recruiting trustees under the age of 25 and trustees who have previously participated in our programmes. 

Find more information about this exciting opportunity here. The deadline for applications is 30th September 2020. 

Scottish Team Results

Over the Summer our Programmes Director, Jordan Pfotenhauer, took the Scottish Schools Debating Team to the Online World Schools Debating Competition. This prestigious event saw dozens of countries compete in a series of debates for the title of World Champions. 

Scotland performed exceptionally well, breaking to the elimination rounds for the first time since 2016 where we were knocked-out by Sri Lanka, who then went on to make it to the Grand Final. 

The team consisted of: 

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)

Congratulations to all 5 speakers- you've done Scotland proud! 

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

Scottish charity number: SC000653


© 2019 by ESU Scotland