020 7529 1577
FIND YOUR BRANCH
ESU ON TWITTER
The Chapel of Glasgow University was the pleasant setting for the International Schools Mace final.
The Schools Mace competition is the largest of its kind in the world with teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland competing to become the national debate champions in their own country and getting the chance to represent their nation abroad. The contest is open to students aged 15-18 and is a proving ground for some of the best university debaters of today as it will be for the best of tomorrow.
Almost unique among debate competitions for this age group, the topics are released in advance and the students have time to research and prepare. For the competitors, this is a mixed blessing as it allows them to explore many of the interesting aspects of each debate but also means that the judges have very high expectations on the knowledge and understanding of each student. The English champions this year were from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and both students are also members of the England national debate team who reached the World final in Qatar this year.
They faced the Welsh champions, Ysgol Friars and debated the topic; ‘This House Believes the United Kingdom should abandon its nuclear weapons programme’. Also fighting for the international title were the Irish and Scottish teams from Castleknock Community College and The High School of Dundee, respectively. Their motion was ‘This House would introduce a sin tax on tabloid newspapers’. All eight young people gave outstanding performances deftly melding questions of morality and public good with cold rationality and practical reality.
The audience was lively and engaged (many of them having just come from a debate training day organised by the Glasgow University Union). It was satisfying to return to Scotland for this rotation of the international final and it was only after a long and difficult deliberation that the judges awarded the win to the England champions, Edward Schwitzer and Hasan Dindjer of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, adding to the multiple wins Habs have achieved over the years.