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Supporting You

We’ll give you the practical, emotional and learning support you need when you first arrive and throughout your time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

As well as the support services available to you, you’ll find our community is very friendly and welcoming. RCS is a special place and one where we are sure, you will flourish and feel supported so that you can rise to the many challenges and intensive demands of your programme. Naturally, we operate an equal opportunities policy. We celebrate our differences and believe that our diversity is an important contribution to creativity.

Equal Opportunities

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland welcomes a diverse population of staff and students. We are committed to promoting equality in all of our activities and we aim to provide a performing, learning, teaching, working, and research environment free from unlawful discrimination against applicants, staff, and students on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Safe Space Statement

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is fully committed to creating an environment where all staff and students treat each other fairly and with mutual respect, and to providing an environment where all students and staff are free from discrimination and intimidation.

The following Safe Space Statement applies to all activity happening within the Conservatoire, from early years classes to our Masters programmes.

Everyone working and learning together in this room is entitled to do so in a safe space: a space free of bullying and harassment of any kind. We will honour our differences and collaborate in the true spirit of ensemble, promoting creative challenge whilst retaining the utmost respect for each other. We will treat one another with courtesy and respect at all times, and if we are subjected to or witness bullying or harassment we will speak out knowing that our voices will be heard and we will be taken seriously. We will actively promote a positive, optimistic and mutually supportive approach to work and study.

Together we can create a Safe Space.

Support Services Available to You

Our Counsellors are Dr Jane Balmforth and Manisha Gosar.

Jane, Manisha, and the Counselling Team are available to assist you with any issues that may be causing anxiety and distress.

Jane and Manisha are happy to answer any questions about counselling support. You can contact them via email using the links below:

Contact Jane

Contact Manisha 

Our Disability Advisor is Derek Powell. Derek is happy to help with:

  • Support for disabled students and applicants
  • The Effective Learning Service (ELS)

Derek is happy to answer any of your questions via email:

Contact Derek

Our Welfare Team includes Gillian Mackenzie and Pauline McCluskey.

Gill is our UKVI Compliance and International and Student Experience Manager, and Pauline is the Administrator for the team.

The Welfare Team can help you with:

  • Welfare and money advice (we have NASMA membership)
  • Financial hardship support
  • Accessing Higher Education Discretionary and Childcare Funds
  • Creating budgets
  • Securing emergency food vouchers
  • Healthcare and GP registration
  • Accommodation
  • Accessing support for care-experienced students, estranged students, & student-carers

Our team is happy to answer your questions via email:

Contact the Welfare Team

Please see the following guidance for Discretionary and Childcare Funds:

Higher Education Discretionary Fund Guidance 2023-2024

Higher Education Childcare Funds Guidance 2023-2024

Note: The International and Student Experience Team administers these funds.

This support service is dedicated to music students whose first language is not English.

One-to-one tutorials are available to music students who wish to improve their English level in a formal setting.

Judah Collins is the English Language Learning Teacher. He is happy to answer your questions about this service via email:

Contact Judah Collins 


Gender Based Violence (GBV) can include domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, stalking and harassment. Experiencing or recovering from GBV can have a detrimental impact on a person’s ability to work or study.

We will not tolerate GBV in any form and are committed to providing a learning and teaching environment which is safe and supportive for everyone.

If you have experienced misconduct or violence towards you from another student, please complete our digital anonymous disclosure form. The form is available here:

Anonymous GBV Disclosure Form 



Togetherall is an online support community that RCS students can join for free. It’s completely anonymous and can be accessed at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year.

On the website, trained counsellors are available. They create a safe place to express how you’re feeling.

To join, go to Togetherall:

  1. Click on Organisation in the drop-down menu
  2. Click on Universities
  3. Enter your email
  4. Create a username

Music Minds Matter is a support line dedicated to mental health for the UK music community.

They are available 24/7 and offer advice, information, and emotional support.

Care Experienced Students

The Conservatoire is committed to ensuring that those from all backgrounds feel able to apply to study with us. Applicants who have been looked after at home, in residential care, foster care or kinship care can access support via the International and Student Experience team at

Examples of support available are:

  • Assistance with your application to the Conservatoire.
  • Consideration for inclusion in our contextualised admission process.
  • Priority consideration for financial assistance from our HE Discretionary Fund if your student funding package is not sufficient to support you while you study. Scottish Students in the care of a local authority and under the age of 26 at the start of their course will be entitled to a total funding package of up to £8,100 per annum and can be paid over 9 months or 12.  This will be in the form of a non-repayable bursary in lieu of a student loan.
  • Scottish students previously in care can receive a grant of up to £105 a week to help with accommodation costs in the long (summer) vacation.
  • Advice on external financial support.
  • Other support including counselling, disability services, help with employment opportunities and academic support.

Useful Links

Student Carers

If you’re a student with caring responsibilities the Conservatoire would encourage you to get in touch with the International and Student Experience team to discuss how we can support you once you start your studies. We know that students with caring responsibilities may need extra financial support because they have higher than expected costs or they have a sudden financial emergency. They may also need pastoral and/or academic support. For further information please contact


Estranged Students

The Independent Review of Financial Support for Students in Scotland published in 2017 identified estranged students as being a disadvantaged group.   Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Young people in this position have removed themselves from a dysfunctional situation and often have no contact at all with their family. These situations can be caused by:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Mismatched expectations about family roles and relationships
  • A clash of personality or values including social and cultural expectations

Estranged students are not the same as care experienced young people who have had local authority and/or social service involvement. Although the situations may be similar, estranged students have had to go it alone. This may be due to age or because of family pressure. RCS have signed the Stand Alone Pledge and are now working towards better supporting our estranged students.  UCAS is also an excellent resource for estranged students.

If you’re interesting in apply to RCS or already have an offer of a place and you are estranged from your family do get in touch to discuss how we can assist you:

Estranged students at RCS currently benefit from:

  • Priority consideration for financial assistance from our HE Discretionary Fund if your student funding package is not sufficient to support you while you study
  • Access to monthly Estranged Student Drop-in Sessions with other estranged students and support staff

More Information