Donald Dewar Debating Competition

Huge congratulations to our debaters Grant Mackin and Christopher Wilson on another outstanding display in this prestigious competition, held in Kilsyth Academy.

The boys were drawn against the first of Kilsyth Academy’s two teams, arguing against the motion: “This House would ban Referendums.” Kilsyth’s second team then debated with St Maurice’s Academy on the same motion. The judges were very impressed with all four teams, making clear that the standard of debating on display was far in excess of that normally seen in a first round heat.

After deliberation, the teams from Our Lady’s and St Maurice’s progressed to the second round of this national competition. Well done boys! #pollitolhs

Debate success

Congratulations to our Debating team of Hayley Stevenson (S5) and Dominic Nolan (S6) who were successful in the first round of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament at Holy Cross High School, Hamilton, on 27th November.

Our team debated the hosts over the motion:

“This House believes that the UK should have boycotted the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting”.

Both Hayley and Dominic are looking forward to the second round, which wil be held in the New Year.

That Time We Pretended To Be Serious Debaters

Report by Gemma Grier

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison

Imagine a room full of people who are so much taller, so much older, so much wiser than you, talking quickly, wittingly, spouting off things right from the top of their head at a rapid speed that has your head spinning, heart caught in your throat. The room is a whirlwind of excitement and nerves. You almost can’t breathe.

That’s how we felt.

There were four debates, of which we were last to participate. So we sat there patiently, engrossed in the energy radiating from everyone as they spoke. Everyone had their own convictions, their own case to argue and you could see the passion: the hardwork they had put in burning behind their eyes like a flickering flame. Time was fleeting and lagging as we waited our turn and Hayley and I – the Our Lady’s High debaters – whispered worriedly to one another as we surmised the strength of our competition.

The schools passed in a blur, blazer colours blending together in a beautiful stretch, entwining silver tongues and bright, wild eyes. I was too mesmerised to catch the names.

The youngest there, our first debate, we were absolutely terrified. And as each person took to the lectern, our quavering glances grew more frequent, until finally it was our turn.

We took our seats and then the whole world seemed to turn on its axis and we knew nothing, everything we had prepared for was thrown to the side and not even Hayley’s perfect starting monologue that had even me, someone who is used to Hayley’s swiftness, on the edge of my seat, could save us from the polished, pressed predators from Abronhill High. (Lovely girls, but absolutely fierce.) They knew their stuff like the back of their hand and they had me sorely impressed- fair winners! For anyone who is actually interested, their final debate against Uddingston Grammar will be on December 4th, in the Chambers of Commerce. You will be absolutely enthralled!

We didn’t expect to win, in fact, I think we were just glad to have gotten as far as we did. And with eight debating teams competing that night, with only a place for two to advance, I think we did okay- a lot of stronger teams that us didn’t get through either, a small consolation to our grieving hearts. The finalists, Abronhill High and Uddingston Grammar, certainly deserved their places and Hayley and I can do nothing more than take this as a learning curve: all our mistakes can be smoothed out, we can take all the small tips and tricks from the other teams and apply them to ourselves. We didn’t fail, we simply studied.

And who knows? There’s always next year.

Debating success

Report by Mrs Millar

Congratulations to Hayley Stevenson and Gemma Grier of S4 who progressed to the next stage of the Scullion Law Debating Competition in their first ever debate on Wednesday evening.

The girls were debating the motion:  “This House would arm the police”, opposing Airdrie Academy. Both teams were knowledgeable and committed, and gave the audience much food for thought. After deliberation, the judges decided that teams from Our Lady’s would compete in the semi-final to be held on 14th November, alongside Taylor, St Andrew’s, St John Ogilvie and Uddingston Grammar.

The interesting motion for the girls to ponder next time is: “This House would only teach ancient texts in a modern form”, which they will be proposing. We wish them luck!

Future debates

Report from Mrs Millar

November is going to be a busy month for our debaters with the 1st round of the English Speaking Union’s junior competition taking place on 24th November in Bearsden.

Representing Our Lady’s, Dominic Nolan and Aidan Bonnar will argue the motion: This House would grant 16 year olds the vote. We are also looking forward to hosting the 1st round heat of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating competition.


The latest round of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament was hosted at Our Lady’s last Wednesday night.

The Debaters

The Debaters

Four S6 girls, Clare McDevitt, Colette Byrne, Danielle Lambert and Megan Kelly and their opponents from Taylor and St Aidan’s High Schools vigorously debated the motion

This House believes Scotland needs nuclear power.

The speeches covered a wide range of topics from the possibilities for renewable energy sources and the dangers of nuclear weapons to global warming and the beauty of wind farms.

The timekeepers

The Timekeepers

The topic was also open to floor debate which sparked discussions on the potential artform of the power station, and the difficulties of engineering in a salt water environment. The teams from Taylor and St Aidan’s progress to the next round, and we wish both schools well in the competition.

Many thanks to the judges, Douglas Carson, Alastair Cameron and Stephanie Christie, to Mrs Millar for chairing the debate, and to our timekeepers for excellent bellringing.


A team of four senior pupils are preparing for the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Competition, organised by the Law Society of Scotland.

6th years, Dana McMahon, Danielle Lambert, Clare McDevitt and Colette Byrne are working in two teams, coached by Mrs Millar. Both sets are opposing the first round motion:

“This House believes that Scotland needs nuclear power”

Our first round matches are against St Aidan’s and Taylor High Schools, on 3rd December, from 7-9pm in the Library Resource Centre.


Our debating teams recently took part in the second round of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament. Team 1, brothers Kenneth and Matthew MacDermid, faced Hutcheson Grammar School, soundly defeating their opponents in the motion, “This House believes that immigrants are a drain on Scotland’s public services”, an excellent result since Matthew only stepped up three days prior to the event.

The debate, which took place at Holy Cross, also saw the home team taking on St Aidan’s, with the latter going through to the next round.

Our second team of Kirsty Findlay and Daniel Canning, spoke on the same motion against Abronhill, and were unfortunately also put out. English teacher, Ms Mari Sneddon, who helped coach the teams, was obviously pleased with their performance, saying, “I’m so proud of my wee babies!”