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22 June, 2006

Holyrood Winners receive awards in Scottish Parliament

Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell and Presiding Officer George Reid today hosted a high-profile reception at Holyrood for students from Montrose Academy in Angus, Belmont Academy in Perthshire and Knox Academy in East Lothian as a reward for winning awards in this year’s National Youth Parliament Competition.

NYPC Holyrood winners' reception.
Montrose Academy beat teams from across Scotland to be awarded the top prize with their debate around a Bill to revise the sentencing procedures and facilitate the rehabilitation of prisoners back into society. In addition to winning the best team prize, Montrose’s Matthew Valentine also picked up a special award for the “Best Non-Executive spokesperson” for his role in the debate.

Andrew Welsh, MSP for Angus congratulated Montrose on winning the competition, saying: "This is an excellent competition which informs, educates and involves young people in the practical work of our Parliamentary democracy. I have seen at first hand the enthusiasm it engenders among those involved and the skills and knowledge imparted to them which can only be good for them and our country’s democratic system."

Runners up, Belmont Academy picked up awards for their debate on a mock Bill to ban chewing gum in Scotland. They also picked up four individual awards for Best Minister (Clark Russell), Best ‘Backbench’ MSP (Susan Mitchell), Best Presiding Officer (Fraser Sutherland), and Best Non Executive Spokeserson (Emma Lamb).

Knox Academy won the award for “Best Question Time”.

Tracey Crouch, Senior Political Adviser at Norwich Union, sponsor of the competition said, "Young people are often portrayed as uninterested in politics. The outstanding entries in this year's competition prove otherwise. The students tackled serious issues that their own elected representatives deal with everyday, demonstrating an extremely mature attitude on difficult subjects and at the same time an excellent understanding of the parliamentary process. The awards reflect the hard work of the students involved in the competition.”

The final was judged by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Lord James Douglas Hamilton MSP, Christine Grahame MSP and Ruth Connelly, from the Scottish Parliament Broadcasting Unit. Judges commended the high overall standard of the winning entries, in particular detailed research of the topics, understanding of the procedure and delivery of the debates.

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