Media Release: Impacts of cuts felt immediately as Eden Court announce cancellation of SVQ qualification – National 5 Drama


IT is with great regret that Eden Court has to announce it is unable to run the SVQ National 5 Drama qualification in the next academic year.

We are acutely aware of the impact this will have on prospective school students who will be choosing their subject options in the coming weeks but we must accept that we can no longer afford to subsidise the delivery of this qualification.

This follows the surprising decision by Highland Council on 25 February (here) to cut Eden Court’s funding by £100,000 (17 per cent) rather than the £59,000 (ten per cent) that the Council had told us to plan for.

Around ten years ago, we started to teach Higher Drama at Eden Court and quickly added Higher Dance and Intermediate 2 Drama (superseded by National 5 Drama) as they were available only in a very few Highland schools.

The courses appear on option forms for pupils at many Highland schools. Over the years our pupils have done well with and achieved very impressive pass rates. This year, SQA asked us to provide them with pieces of work from our Higher Dance students as examples of a high standard work.

Some of our former pupils have gone onto dance and acting careers and our Creative Ambassador, and former Higher Drama pupil, Karen Gillan, is known throughout the world as the star of Dr Who and Guardians of the Galaxy.

These courses they were originally fully funded by Highland Council. However, successive grant reductions and rising costs mean that in the current academic year delivering these qualifications will cost Eden Court £15,000 more than the funding Highland Council has provided.

That gap is set to rise to £19,000 for the next academic year.

It is therefore with great regret that we have made the decision to not deliver National 5 Drama this year and to restrict some of the travel subsidy available to Higher Drama and Higher Dance students in an attempt to deliver these courses for closer to the amount of funding that Highland Council is able to offer.

This action will save us between £11,000 and £13,000.

We had to make this particular decision quickly as pupils are currently considering their options for next year. It is regrettable that stopping the National 5 course will impact on those students who have previously used it as a stepping stone to Higher.

However, because it is possible to undertake the Higher directly and National 5 Drama is still taught in a small number of schools, we judged it was more important to preserve the Higher provision as these exams are the gateway to further education and careers.

However, although we can commit to delivering both Higher Dance and Drama in 2016/2017 we may have to consider if we can continue to deliver these subjects beyond that point.


For further information or interview requests please contact Eden Court marketing manager, Teresa Bendoris / / 01463 239 841

Notes to editors:

Eden Court

Eden Court is the largest arts centre in Scotland with two theatres, two cinemas and two studios.

Eden Court earns around 80 per cent of its own income. This is unusually high for a UK arts centre and yet Eden Court serves the largest and most sparsely-populated land mass of any UK theatre. It also runs the largest Arts Education programme of any UK theatre. Of the remaining 20 per cent more than half comes from Creative Scotland with Highland Council providing around eight per cent.

Last year, Eden Court attracted audiences of over 160,000 for live performances and over 65,000 for cinema, we also provided over 90,000 creative learning interactions. This makes it by far the most popular cultural institution in the Highlands.


Eden Court has been at the forefront of arts education in the Highlands and throughout the UK for 20 years.

In 1996 there was very little drama and dance education in Highland Schools and Highland pupils interested in these subjects were struggling to get into further education.

To address this problem Eden Court CREATIVE was started with four drama workers located throughout the Highlands working alongside schools and in community settings.

Eden Court CREATIVE has since grown into the largest arts education programme delivered by any UK theatre. Highland pupils are now represented at drama and dance schools throughout the UK. Today there is compelling evidence of the benefit of studying dance and drama to a pupils overall confidence and ability.

There are several strands to Eden Court CREATIVE: Over 60 classes a week at Eden Court; work with vulnerable young people; work with people with additional needs; SQA classes; and Eden Court In Your Area. The last two receive Highland Council funding and both are funded at considerably less than their cost, with a growing year-on-year funding gap.

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Eden Court contact details…

Contact: Teresa Bendoris
Phone: 01463239841