Young Speakers Scotland is an exciting Scottish educational charity that aims to improve the lives of Scotland’s young people. Our goal is to advance and promote the education and communication skills of children in Scotland, particularly from disadvantaged circumstances, in order to lessen the poverty-related attainment gap and increase the employability of young people. We do this through a variety of debating and public speaking programmes, competitions and events.
Young Speakers Scotland (YSS) is a successor organisation to the English-Speaking Union Scotland, building on the ESU’s work and expanding its charitable purpose. In 2020, YSS was established as a Scottish Charitable Organisation (SCIO).
Education is at the very heart of our work.
At YSS, we believe that the school a young person attends should never dictate their chance of success. For that reason, our work is focused on expanding access to extracurricular debating and public speaking to all schools in Scotland, no matter where they are located. Our competitions have included schools from the Borders to the Highlands, from the central belt to Scotland’s islands.
Our programmes supplement the school curriculum by equipping young people to think critically, speak confidently and work as a team; all in a fun and supporting learning environment. Pupils who take part in debating and public speaking show a marked improvement in these and other skills.
Our work is varied and consists of workshops at schools, training for teachers and a wide variety of competitions and events. We are proud to partner with the Scottish Government and Parliament as well as a range of Scottish third sector organisations.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we equip the next generation with the ability to advocate for themselves and for the issues important to them. Debating and public speaking are crucial in achieving this aim.