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Royal College Of Art

Volume 78: debated on Tuesday 30 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withhold funding from the Royal College of Art pending an inquiry into its proposals to close down the environmental media studies course.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many other institutions offer a course comparable to the environmental media studies course at the Royal College of Art leading to an MA degree; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that there are no comparable courses in the United Kingdom.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has had any communications with the Royal College of Art over the proposed closure of the environmental media studies course.

I met representatives of the Royal College of Art, including the rector, very shortly after the college had formally decided to undertake a major restructuring of its faculties, part of which involved the closure of the department of environmental media. They explained to me the reasons for the restructuring.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has had from students from the Royal College of Art over the proposed closure of the environmental media studies course.

We have received four letters in all: three from hon. Members writing on behalf of their constituents who are students at the college, and one signed by a number of the students themselves.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek an assurance from the rector of the Royal College of Art, Mr. Jocelyn Stevens, that the number and quality of the fine art courses and the number of students taking fine art courses will be maintained or enhanced when the existing professors of painting and sculpture retire.

My right hon. Friend does not determine the provision of courses at the Royal College of Art. However, he has appointed a visiting committee to advise him on questions relating to the development of the college and their financial implications. The next report of the committee will be submitted in the summer and is expected to comment on the college's plans for its various departments. In advance of the committee's advice, it would be inappropriate for me to express a view about the future balance of work within the college.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withhold funds from the Royal College of Art pending an inquiry into whether Mr. Jocelyn Stevens is conducting the college (a) in accordance with its articles of government and (b) in accordance with appropriate academic standards.

No. The Royal College of Art is a self-governing institution within the terms of its Royal Charter.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withhold funding from the Royal College of Art pending an inquiry into complaints about the conduct of the rector, Mr. Jocelyn Stevens.