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Participatory democracy expert to serve as judge at Debating Matters Scotland Championship

Sixth-form students from six schools across Scotland will battle it out for the title of Debating Matters Scotland Champions 2018 at a flagship day of debate hosted by Scottish Parliament at Holyrood and produced in partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Green MSP Ross Greer – a previous competitor in the Debating Matters competition and the youngest ever MSP –  is sponsoring the event and excited to see students engage in the Debating Matters format. “As a former competitor, chair, coach and judge I know just how demanding the competition is of young people. Showcasing the talents of our school students in Scotland’s Year of Young People seems very apt.”

The 16- to 18-year-olds will take part in a series of debates on major contemporary issues with particular relevance to Scotland - the use of tax incentives to encourage investment, the removal of controversial historical monuments, universal basic income and artificial intelligence - in what has been dubbed ‘the UK’s toughest debating competition’.

With content ruling over style to decide the winners, the participants are encouraged to leave no stone unturned in a day of fierce, frantic and, most importantly, free debate.

The Scottish Parliament’s iconic building will welcome Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh; Wallace High School, Stirling; St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow; Bishopbriggs Academy; Craigmount High School, Edinburgh; and Bearsden Academy. The teams will battle it out for the crown of Debating Matters Scotland Champions.

The students will face judging panels of adults from a wide range of professional backgrounds - including local business leaders, scientists, authors and academics - who will quiz them on their arguments and challenge them to defend their research and thinking. Among the judges on the day will be Craig Vickery, Head of ACCA Scotland; Oliver Escobar, published poet and lecturer in public policy at the University of Edinburgh; Colin MacKay, Holyrood Editor at STV.

ACCA is the world’s most forward-thinking professional accountancy body and partner of Debating Matters Scotland. Craig Vickery, Head of ACCA Scotland said:

“ ACCA is excited to be supporting Debating Matters, hearing directly from young people in a format which delivers participation from a diverse range of backgrounds.  We value that that we can draw insights from the young people as they debate and explore topics that are of increasing importance to the world of work and their future.””

The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national legislature of Scotland. Ross Greer, MSP for the Scottish Greens and former Debating Matters competitor said:

“I’m excited to welcome Debating Matters to the parliament and am grateful for ACCA’s sponsorship to make this happen. As a former competitor, chair, coach and judge I know just how demanding the competition is of young people, allowing them to really develop their skills in taking on challenging topics, constructing robust arguments and challenging those of their competitors. Holyrood was envisaged as the people’s parliament so showcasing the talents of our school students in Scotland’s Year of Young People seems very apt.”

Claire Fox, Director of The Academy of Ideas, said:

“The competition prides itself on taking young people seriously, valuing ideas and allowing free debate. Some of the brightest and best students in Scotland will be taken out of their comfort zone by tackling these topics. We’re delighted to be able to work with the ACCA, an organisation who share

our belief that debate is an essential tool for the world of work. And we’re delighted to be able to host the Scotland Championship at the Scottish Parliament, a place where debate sets the agenda of a country.”


[1] Limited permission granted to use this photo in a press article

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