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The Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock and the adjoining Grand Hall complex are an unsung venue, as the recent conference on schools and technology showed (TESS last week).

The theatre has seen many glorious moments. Tom Farrell, East Ayrshire's education convener, recalled that "the last time I was up on this stage, I won a trip to Hong Kong - so I know you're going to have a good conference."

Not to be outdone, deputy education minister Peter Peacock announced: "The last time I was here, I was demonstrating against Michael Forsyth" - the former Scottish Secretary.

It's amazing the difference a few months can make.

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