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Six UK drama schools given top marks in new government rankings

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. Photo: Richard Mildenhall Sidcup-based Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance is adding Berlin to its study centres. Photo: Richard Mildenhall
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Six of the UK’s leading drama schools have been awarded gold status under the government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework.

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama – which encompasses Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, LAMDA and RADA – all received the rating.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Chicken Shed Theatre Trust were both given a silver ranking and the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts received a provisional rating.

The University of Essex, which encompasses East 15 Acting School, was also awarded gold status.

The TEF is intended to measure the quality of teaching at higher institutions in the UK, and ranks them gold, silver or bronze accordingly. Institutions submit a range of data such as student satisfaction, drop-out rates and facilities, and a 27-strong panel assesses based on the submissions.

LIPA’s principal and chief executive Mark Featherstone-Witty welcomed the rankings. “The TEF is one helpful decision by government: to acknowledge that teaching and learning is what higher education does, as well as research,” he said.

“For institutions like ours, where craft learning predominates, our often stated misgivings about the current rankings have finally been heard.”

However, the scheme has been criticised because it focuses on data and does not include actual inspections of lectures, seminars or other forms of teaching in the assessment of institutions.

Schools could choose whether or not to take part in the framework assessment. A total of 295 higher education institutions chose to take part, with all of them awarded either gold, silver or bronze, and some listed as ‘provisional’ because they do not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed.

It is expected that the government will allow institutions ranked bronze or higher to increase their tuition fees above £9,000 in line with inflation.

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