HC Deb 18 January 1978 vol 942 cc430-1
5. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider sympathetically the funding of drama provision for Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh; and if he will make a statement as to the criteria he would use to judge such an application in this connection.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Frank McElhone)

Courses in drama have been provided at Queen Margaret College since 1972–73. The college has proposed an extension to provide a drama teaching wing; a decision on this project will have to wait until an assessment has been made of the suitability of the surplus accommodation which will become available at Dunfermline College of Education.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I am grateful to the Minister for his reply, as far as it went, but is he aware that £40,000 has been spent by the college, with the approval of the Scottish Education Department, to realign a road for the building of the drama teaching wing extension? Bearing in mind that this is the recognised centre of drama in the East of Scotland, will he give the college advice on what it should do in this connection?

Mr. McElhone

I understand the question about the £40,000. I suggest that the hon. Member cannot have it both ways. He wants us to save 10 colleges of education, with a falling school population. At the same time we have got to consider diversification and use of very expensive alternative accommodation. Discussions are taking place and a discussion with the SED is taking place at Dunfermline tomorrow.

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