Media Release: Highlands and Islands school pupils to debate hot energy topic at Scottish Parliament

SCHOOL pupils across the Highlands and Islands have been researching and debating the hot topic of renewable energy as part of the Big Green Challenge debating competition.

The Big Green Challenge, which is organised by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has been running in schools since March with pupils researching and debating the issues surrounding renewable energy.

A total of 32 schools have taken part in the classroom activities, with 17 schools putting forward 25 teams to compete against local schools to select the top eight teams from across the region.

Local heats have taken place across the Highlands and Islands throughout May and June.

The winners will now go forward to the finals to be held at the Scottish Parliament on 22nd June

The eight winning schools from the first heat are: Lomond School, Argyll and Bute; Plockton High School, Wester Ross; Shawbost Community School, Western Isles; Kirkwall Grammar School, Orkney; Aith Junior High, Shetland; Alness Academy, Alness; Charleston Academy, Inverness; and Lossiemouth High School.

The eight teams, made up of 24 finalists, will be competing for a trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Participating schools have received an information pack, and have been using these in cross-curricular lessons for Science, English, Geography and Modern Studies.

They have then held in-school debates and selected a team of three pupils to go forward to the local heats to compete against other schools.

A total of 25 teams from 17 schools have competed in the local heats, debating the motion. ‘This house believes that renewable energy can help us to beat the economic downturn’.  

Schools have had renewable energy experts visit to help them prepare for the competition.

The debating competition, open to all S1-S3 pupils across the region, is part of an education and awareness raising programme run by HIE, and aims to encourage pupils to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy developments in the Highlands and Islands.

Anna Allan, senior development manager in HIE’s Energy team, said: “The Big Green Challenge is all about engaging with young people on energy – one of the most important issues facing society today.

“As future decision makers, it is important our young people understand the opportunities and challenges renewable energy presents.

“They will have to make decisions about where our energy comes from and how we conserve this valuable commodity to ensure sustainability for future generations.

“In addition, it is important that our young people are made aware of the career opportunities in the rapidly-developing renewables sector prior to making decisions about their subject choices, future studies and career paths.”


Participating schools were as follows:

Aith Junior High School, Shetland
Alness Academy, North Highland
Buckie High School, Buckie, Moray
Charleston Academy, Inverness, Highland
Fortrose Academy, Highland
Golspie High School, North Highland
Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute
Kinlochleven High School, Lochaber (competed in North Highland heat)
Kirkwall Grammar, Orkney
Lionel School, Ness, Western Isles
Lomond School, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute
Lossiemouth High School, Lossiemouth, Moray
Plockton High School, Wester Ross
Portree High School, Skye
Sandwick Junior High, Shetland
Shawbost Community, Western Isles
Stromness Academy, Orkney

The eight local heats were: Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles, North Highland, Highland, Skye & Wester Ross, Moray, Argyll & Bute.

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Contact: HIE Communications
Phone: 01463 244238