Media release: Debaters off to Cambridge final

TWO fifth-year pupils from Aberdeen have taken their school through to the Finals Day of Cambridge University’s Debating Competition for the first time in recent years.

Morag Forbes and Tomas Sanders (both 16 years-old from Aberdeen) talked their way to the top when they won their regional round in Dundee last month. They will now compete in the UK final on Wednesday 27 February in Cambridge.

Pupil, Tomas, said: “It was good to receive feedback and advice from such experienced judges. I look forward to travelling to Cambridge for the tournament final where there is a rich history of controversial debates and influential speakers.”

Pupil, Morag, added: “I reached the Finals Day of Oxford University’s Schools Competition last year. It was a great experience to compete against top debaters from schools across the UK, so I’m really looking forward to doing the same in Cambridge.”

Mr Mike Elder, head of Sixth Year and in charge of Debating at the College, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our young debaters, especially as Morag and Tomas join Stewart’s Melville from Edinburgh as the only Scottish representatives at this year’s Finals Day.

“Given that 500 teams started this competition and they have been cut down to 40, I’m delighted at how well our debaters have done.

“The competition will really test them but I am sure that they will rise to the challenge as they are developing into a very good team, having also reached the semi-final stage of the Law Society Debating Tournament.”

Finals Day is hosted in the historic Cambridge Union building and Dulwich College won the event last year. Speakers who have addressed the Union in the past include: the Dalai Lama, President Ronald Reagan, and Sir Winston Churchill.

The tradition of high quality speakers continues to this day, the Union recently hosting, among others, the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and notable actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen.

Notes to editors:

  • Further information
  • Debates are in the standard British Parliamentary format.
  • For Finals Day, there will be four rounds of debating, with points awarded depending on a team’s position in each debate. After the first four rounds in which everybody competes, the eight teams with the most points will proceed to the knockout semi-finals. After these debates, the best two teams in each semi-final will advance to the grand final, where one will be crowned Schools Champion!
  • Robert Gordon’s College debaters reached the final of all six major debating competitions which the school entered last term. On two occasions, RGC had two teams in the final and a College team won the Aberdeen University competition on Saturday 1 December.
  • On Saturday 27 April, the College will be hosting the annual ‘Auld Hoose’ debating competition for S1-S3 pupils from across Scotland.

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Contact: Shelley Lee
Phone: 01224611239