Media Release: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland helping lead the way in widening access to higher education


THE Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is helping the way in attracting applications and entrants to higher education in the performing arts through its award-winning widening access initiatives, according to figures released earlier today (Friday, 3 February 2017).

The Royal Conservatoire’s number of full-time students from the 40 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland has gone from 26.9 per cent in 2015/16 to 28.5 per cent in 2016/17, an increase of 1.6 per cent. The number of people entering undergraduate programmes at the Conservatoire from the 20 per cent most deprived areas, has gone up by 2.7 per cent to 12.5 per cent from last year’s 9.8 per cent.

These figures relate to students of all ages currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire.

Our award-winning widening access initiative, Transitions 20/40, has shown that applicants applying to our undergraduate programmes via Transitions 20/40 have a 6.8 per cent higher success rate at audition.

These figures released today by the Royal Conservatoire highlight the Royal Conservatoire’s commitment to and success in widening access to performing arts higher education.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “The figures released today clearly demonstrate the success of our fair access initiatives.

“Our award-winning widening access programme, Transitions 20/40, has gone from strength to strength, transforming the lives of those involved.

“Now in its fourth year, we have seen the remarkable impact it is having on the lives of so many of our students and it is a credit to the Scottish Funding Council’s continued support and to our teaching staff for their commitment to the students.

“It is our belief that by nurturing the talent of more of Scotland’s young people, their choices and life opportunities will increase. In real terms, this is access to arts and humanities for all, enabling people from all walks of life to reach their extraordinary potential.”

The Royal Conservatoire, ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education, has a number of widening access programmes to support recruitment of exceptional entrants from a wide range of backgrounds.

These include:

Transitions 20/40

Transitions 20/40 is an award-winning performing arts initiative, which began in 2013. We believe that everyone with talent and potential should have access to training at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland regardless of their background.

We understand that for many people who want to pursue a career in the performing arts, finding and funding suitable training can be challenging. The Transitions 20/40 initiative aims to provide funded training for those wishing to study within the performing or production arts. Transitions 20/40 seeks to help people from key Scottish postcodes who would like to study dance, drama, music, production or filmmaking and offers mentoring and funded training.

T20/40 is funded by the Scottish Funding Council

Widening Access to the Creative Industries

Widening Access to the Creative Industries (Production and Performance) is run by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on behalf of FOCUS West and offers tailored support to S5 and S6 pupils who are interested in progressing in the performing or production arts.

Creative Pathways – Assistants in Dance and Drama

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow Kelvin College, with the support of Glasgow City Council, offer an one-year, work-based learning experience for S6 pupils at Glasgow’s secondary schools.

Young people studying dance or drama at Higher level and who want to continue to study at school, college and the national conservatoire can enter the Creative Pathways.

Students study part-time at school and at Glasgow Kelvin College, gaining experience of administration, communication, development of self and of others. The learning is put into practice alongside tutors within the programme for children and young people at the nation’s conservatoire.

Successful applicants have the opportunity to gain SQA qualifications from Glasgow Kelvin College as well as credit for an RCS short course called Pre-HE Creative Project.

Notes to editors:

* Figures released today, 3 February 2017, in response to the figures released by the SFC 2 February 2017

About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education and is ranked number one in Scotland for graduate employability, endorsing its status as a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts.

In 2017, the Royal Conservatoire is celebrating its 170th anniversary. During its existence, it has built on its roots as a national academy of music to become one of Europe’s most multi-disciplinary performing arts higher education centres, offering specialised teaching across music, drama, dance, film and production. The Royal Conservatoire is encouraging trans-disciplinary learning throughout its innovative curriculum and throughout 2017, the institution will host a series of performances and special events recognising its rich history and world class reputation for performing arts education.

Around 1,100 students are currently pursuing degrees at the Royal Conservatoire across its specialisms. The Conservatoire works in partnership with the national companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and BBC Scotland, to provide students with the very best learning experiences the Scottish landscape has to offer.

Based in the heart of Glasgow, the Royal Conservatoire is also a busy performing arts venue; it hosts more than 500 public performances each year and issues around 64,000 tickets from its box office annually. Additionally, the Conservatoire teaches over 3,000 part-time learners every year through its Junior Conservatoire and Lifelong Learning Departments.

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For more information, contact

Katie Bell – or 0141 270 8387.

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Contact: Katie Bell
Phone: 0141 270 8387