21 Sep 2018: Bearsden Academy crowned Debating Matters Scotland Champions

An excellent team from Bearsden Academy beat five schools from across Scotland to win the coveted Debating Matters Scotland trophy at a flagship day of debate hosted at the Scottish Parliament.

The competitors engaged in a tough day of debate at Holyrood, sponsored by Ross Greer MSP and ACCA.

Ross Greer MSP introduced the day
Ross Greer MSP introduced the day.

Ultimately, the Bearsden team impressed all the judges and schools with their sharp ideas, broad approach to the topics and outstanding research, winning through a tie-break in the group stage and then coming out on top in thrilling final on Artificial Intelligence to be crowned Debating Matters Scotland Champions 2018.

Merchiston Castle School were Bearsden’s opponents in the final, and also argued intelligently throughout a day that included debates on ‘It is wrong for countries to offer tax incentives to attract investment’, ‘Monuments to controversial historical figures should remain’, ‘Universal basic income is not a solution to our social and economic problems’ and ‘Humanity should fear advances in artificial intelligence’.

Bearsden Academy with the judges and the DM Scotland trophy
Bearsden Academy receive the Debating Matters Scotland trophy from the judges - Ross Greer MSP, Anne Fergusson and Gordon Smith

During the day, Ross Greer MSP – the youngest ever MSP and himself a former competitor in Debating Matters – encouraged the students present to not shy away from the logical implications of their arguments and to dare to think. These qualities, he added, are especially important to highlight today.

Reacting to the day, Ross said: ‘Year after year I’ve seen an incredible quality of debate from the young people who take part in Debating Matters. As a competitor, chair, judge and now host it’s been a privilege to support the competition. DM allows students to really grapple with the ideas behind the topics of their debate, defend their position against robust challenge and offering equally robust interrogation in exchange, something not all competitions can claim to provide for. On a personal level, since years after my own experience of speaking in a national final, I’m absolutely delighted to see Bearsden Academy lifting the trophy once again!’

The judges also awarded Jonathan Smith from Bearsden Academy the prize of ‘Best Individual’ for his consistently penetrating questions, with Jordan Campbell of Bishopbriggs Academy and Jessica Campbell of Wallace High School picking up the ‘Highly Commended’ and ‘Commended’ titles respectively.

Best individual winner Jonathan Smith with the chair of the individual prize judges, Simon Knight
Jonathan Smith receives the prize for Best Individual from the chair of the individual prize judges, Simon Knight


Thursday 27 June:
Oxfordshire Championship at Oxford Union, in partnership with Magdalen College School and Oxford Festival of Arts

Friday 5 July:
North East Championship at Durham Sixth Form Centre


Find a list of all our previous championship events here.


Bernie Whelan, our DM coordinator, is raising money for Debating Matters. To stage one of our Championships for six to 12 teams costs £6,000. Find out more on Bernie’s Wonderful fundraising page.


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