"My partner was absolutely brilliant both in terms of guidance and support but also as an example of how debating should be conducted."

- Pupil competitor


The St Andrew’s Day Tournament sees school pupils compete in a day-long tournament, culminating in a Grand Final in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

The St Andrew’s Day Debating Tournament is supported by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.


Held annually at The Scottish Parliament this competition pairs pupils from different schools to compete in a day-long tournament, culminating in a Grand Final in the main Debating Chamber.

This competition allows pupils from 48 schools all over Scotland to compete and teams are mentored by university debaters. Teachers believe this to be a really valuable experience especially picking up tips and advice from working with experienced debaters and their mentors. 


The event is designed to provide the maximum educational impact, especially for novice debaters. Pupils are also involved in chairing and timekeeping for the debates,on the judging panels, and contributing to the floor debates. Another teacher explains, For both our debater and supporters, the skills witnessed from other schools and especially the university pupils were of great benefit to them.

The competition is open to S3-S6 pupils, and younger pupils may attend as supporters. There may be an opportunity for younger pupils to get involved on the day.

Schools can enter pupils as debaters, judges and chairs.

We are looking for university students to get involved with the competition as team coaches and as judges. If you would like to take part in this event then please contact us at debates@esuscotland.org.uk


The Scottish Parliament is delighted to host the St Andrew’s Day Debate. It is a great opportunity for young people from across Scotland to express their views on the issues that affect them, and hone their debating skills in our chamber.

The Scottish Parliament’s Deputy Presiding Officer, Christine Grahame MSP

2019 Competition

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. 

Listen to the final of this year's debate here:

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

Scottish charity number: SC000653


© 2019 by ESU Scotland