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      Harris & Scalpay News

Pupils from Sir E Scott School in Tarbert triumphed in this year's pan-Scotland Gaelic debate. 

The final of the 2023 Loganair Gaelic Debate took place at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 29 November .  The teams taking part in this year’s final were James Gillespie High School, Edinburgh, and Sir E Scott.

For the proposal were Ellie Kate Johnson and Isla Scott from Sir E Scott and against the proposal were Finlay Penman and Matthew Wright from Edinburgh. Indeed, both teams had a really busy day as they prepared for a competition that has been running since 1999. The judges had a tough job – Iain MacAulay, Joy Dunlop and Angus MacLennan. But the night went well for the pupils of Sir E Scott School's B team!

There was also the Award for the Best Speaker to be given and it was Mathew Wright who retained the shield this year.  Matthew was presented with the award by Iona MacRitchie on behalf of BBC Craoladh nan Gàidheal.

Councillor Calum Munro, who chairs the Highland Council Gaelic Committee said, “This year’s Deasbad Nàiseanta (National Debate) was excellent in many ways, including the engagement of Secondary Schools across Scotland, the management and organisation of the event, and also the collaboration and partnership working between local authorities and the business sector.

"I am absolutely delighted that Sir E Scott School are the winners and are taking the award home to Harris."

He continued, “The pupils are excellent Gaelic and cultural ambassadors.  I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the teams, and teachers in secondary schools across Scotland who took part in this prestigious Gaelic initiative and hopefully see you all next year.”

Evelyn Coull McLeod said on behalf of the National Secondary School Debate Administrative Committee: "I would especially like to thank the following organisations for providing us with funding this year: Loganair, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland Council, Scottish Skills Development, Education Scotland, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. After the success of Sir E Scott's School and an excellent level of debate throughout the competition we are looking forward to 2024!”.

On behalf of the judges, Angus MacLennan said: "As judges, we were delighted with the standard of the debate this year. Interesting topics, pupils well prepared by teachers and parents, teams from rural areas and big cities taking part and it is obvious that they all have a special interest and pride in Gaelic.

"Congratulations to Sir E Scott School B who won the competition. They really deserved it but the other three teams that reached this stage should be very proud of themselves, too."

Luke Lovegrove, Chief Commercial Officer at Loganair added:  “It’s been our pleasure to support the National Gaelic Schools’ Debate again this year, which so brilliantly showcases Gaelic as a crucial element of Scottish heritage. Well done to all of the teams who took part for your hard work and dedication throughout the competition.