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Royal Conservatoire has highest student retention rate in Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has the best student retention rates of any higher education institution in Scotland and is among the top five in the UK, according to a new study.

Research carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) showed that students attending Scotland’s national conservatoire were most likely in Scotland to continue their studies after their year of entry. The latest figures, covering the period 2015-2016, revealed a non-continuation rate of 1.7 per cent for Royal Conservatoire students, followed by the University of St Andrews at 2.8 per cent and the University of Edinburgh at 3.5 per cent.

The statistics also reveal that the Royal Conservatoire’s student retention rate is among the top five higher education institutions in the UK along with the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Durham. It comes after the institution recently cemented its place in the world’s top ten performing arts education institutions for the third year in a row (QS World Rankings).

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Students at the Royal Conservatoire are given the support to attain excellence across the performing and production arts in a welcoming, nurturing environment.

“I believe our retention rate is pleasingly high because of our students’ commitment to a range of support offered by RCS.  This includes a high level of contact time with teaching staff and a network of support services including guidance, mentoring and counselling, all of which are available throughout their studies in music, drama, dance, production, film and education.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland supports its students in a variety of ways:

  • Students learn from and work with, some of the best educators and performers in the industry, benefiting from their knowledge and experience
  • The International and Student Experience team provides advice and guidance on; welfare and mental health support, counselling, disability support as well as financial advice, applying to study and visas, ensuring every student has the best possible learning journey
  • The Royal Conservatoire is proud of its commitment to diversity, inclusivity and widening access, valuing and respecting the identities of students to help them fulfil their potential
  • Studying at the Royal Conservatoire provides opportunities for students to collaborate, create new work and grow their network of contacts across the performing arts
  • The Royal Conservatoire offers the only performance degree for D/deaf or hard of hearing students – the BA Performance in British Sign Language and English. The ground-breaking programme is creating a new language of performance and challenging industry perceptions.

The HESA statistics also revealed that retention rates in Scottish higher education institutions are higher than the UK average for the first time since at least 1997-1998.

Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said: “The fact that this is the first time in 19 years that the retention rate in Scotland is better than the UK average is significant and a cause for celebration. The sector and individual institutions have dedicated significant time and effort to ensure that students get the most of their studies and time at university.

“Retention is such an important part of the task of widening access. Universities’ goal is to support students to achieve successful outcomes and that’s a much bigger and more meaningful responsibility than just getting students into university.

“Unplanned exits from university can feel like a really big setback for students. We will take heart from today’s figures but we know the work to improve retention will continue at all our universities with continued investment in student support, creating a welcoming campus for students of all ages, background and experience.”

More information on studying at the Royal Conservatoire is available at rcs.ac.uk

The statistics are available at HESA.

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