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Threatened performing arts degrees in Scottish college saved through university deal

The Motherwell Campus at New College Lanarkshire The Motherwell Campus at New College Lanarkshire
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Performing arts degrees at a Scottish college, that had been threatened with closure, are set to be saved following interest from Queen Margaret University.

More than 7,000 people signed a petition in November to save the BA (hons) acting and musical theatre degrees at New College Lanarkshire, after Northumbria University confirmed it would no longer validate the courses.

Students argued that aspiring Scottish actors would be left with “extremely limited options” without the courses, which are among only few performing arts degrees covered by the Scottish government’s SAAS funding, which pays for students’ fees.

Now, QMU in Edinburgh has agreed to partner with the college in order to take on the validation and accreditation of the courses, adding to its existing repertoire of performing arts programmes, which include acting and costume design.

The official documentation for the partnership is in the process of being drawn up. If it all goes to plan, it  the degrees will continue at Lanarkshire College’s Coatbridge and Motherwell campuses.

Matthew Smith, head of faculty for creative industries at New College Lanarkshire, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that QMU has stepped in to save our much loved BA acting and BA musical theatre degree courses, essentially securing the future of so many of our students across Scotland who hope to progress to it.

“I’d like to thank the team at New College Lanarkshire who have been working hard for months finding a suitable validator for the course and to QMU for handing our students a lifeline and for their ongoing support of performing arts in Scotland.”

David Stevenson, head of division of media, communication and performing arts at Queen Margaret University, said: “It is vital that young people, irrespective of their background, have accessible routes into the creative industries and we are very keen to partner with other institutions to help create even more opportunities for this to happen.”

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