Royal Conservatoire of Scotland commended by UK independent quality experts
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has created an environment where mental and physical disability is no barrier to achievement, and an impressive 97% of students from all backgrounds go on to employment or further study.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) appointed a team of five independent experts to review Scotland’s national conservatoire earlier this year.
Reporting on its vision to be ‘Scotland’s globally-recognised and inspirational leader in learning for the performing arts’, QAA commended the Conservatoire in six areas, including:
- the proto-professional environment and the many opportunities to study across disciplines, which is particularly distinctive for a Conservatoire
- a strongly student-centred and personalised experience that allows students to build their own curriculum from the modules and extracurricular opportunities available
- the Master’s qualification in learning and teaching, which leads the way in arts education in the wider community.
Reviewers also commended the culture of equality and diversity. The Transitions and Junior Conservatoire programmes have resulted in students being recruited from some of the most deprived areas of Scotland, with ongoing support from mentors for study and auditions.
More than a quarter of students have a disability or medical condition, compared to 11% of Scottish students overall, and QAA reports that the Conservatoire provides bespoke support for these students from application to graduation.
The Conservatoire has gone a step further by introducing a degree in Performance in British Sign Language and English, which provides an opportunity that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the UK for deaf or partially hearing performers and performance makers.
QAA’s review team made five recommendations, including:
- continuing with plans to ensure institutional strategies are aligned more closely with the Strategic Plan and with each other
- improving the communication of key institutional policies and regulations to staff and students by considering their content, format and mode of dissemination.
Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal, said: ‘It’s most gratifying for us all at Scotland’s national conservatoire to receive such glowing praise from an international panel of experts for the excellence of our educational experience and the quality and employability of our graduates.
‘Here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we are committed to ensuring that all students benefit from our distinctive learning and teaching environment, regardless of potential barriers. We are equally committed to excellence and proud to be world-leading and progressive in the performing arts education we offer.
‘It’s a core belief of this institution that the arts are for everyone, are essential to future economic growth and well-being and that the next generation of arts leaders, practitioners and teachers need to be just as diverse in terms of their backgrounds and life experiences as their audiences.’