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(22 Posts)
FANTINE2 Fri 06-Oct-17 10:26:20

Is anybody able t tell me who actually inspects Drama School/Conservatoires? I'm thinking particularly about places such as Guildford School of Acting, and Central School of speech and Drama, who both fall under Universities. Where would I find such reports?
Also, how much expertise would the inspectors have to have regarding performance skills, and in particular the curriculum?
Many thanks.

Icouldbeknitting Fri 06-Oct-17 10:58:07

Icouldbeknitting Fri 06-Oct-17 11:01:33

Except that was before the merger and is of no use to the full post knitting before doing a copy and paste.

BubblesBuddy Fri 06-Oct-17 11:49:13

They are inspected under the Teaching Excellence Framework. The Stage has reported that Central is Gold standard. There are six schools that achieved this. You can google the info.

GiantSteps Fri 06-Oct-17 13:59:39

Universities (and their equivalents in the conservatoire system) aren't "inspected". They're not schools.

You can look at the QAA benchmark statements for the subjects you're interested in. You can look at the HEFCE REF reports for research quality. You can look at TEF, but those are audits at institutional level & don't tell you anything about the actual teaching. You can look at NSS reports, but those just tell you whether students liked their lecturers.

But all of those things together start to tell you something about the quality of the teaching day to day, and the expertise & quality of the staff.

In terms of performance skills, and in particular the curriculum? you should be able to find that on any institution's website, or ask about at an Open Day.

You need to dig past the glossy sales brochures that universities put up in their direct ink from the UCAS site, and go into the specific websites that Departments' staff & students use. There'll be information there, usually publicly available, that will give you a general idea about curriculum: what's in it & who teaches it.

FANTINE2 Fri 06-Oct-17 14:25:42

I can tell you that certain aspects of teaching at Central are far from excellent, and certainly could not be described as Gold Standard.

GiantSteps Fri 06-Oct-17 14:53:14

What's your evidence?

user918273645 Fri 06-Oct-17 15:18:05

They are inspected under the Teaching Excellence Framework

There are no inspections under the Teaching Excellence Framework.

TEF relies on benchmarking drop out rates etc against targets (which depend on intake), NSS etc.

Some low tariff institutions that achieved Gold actually have considerably worse data than high tariff institutions that were awarded Bronze.

I have no idea about teaching at Central but I would not use TEF to judge it.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 06-Oct-17 15:20:06

OFSTED inspect DADA schools & colleges but degree offering institutions come under the university banner.

titchy Fri 06-Oct-17 15:25:12

As others have said these are universities and there is no such thing as an inspection at university. Giantsteps has given you some good guidance.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 06-Oct-17 15:26:44

This is the the best you will get

GiantSteps Fri 06-Oct-17 16:24:19

Most universities will have internal evidence of teaching quality: External Examiners reports, for example. Again, like the TED records, the REF results, and the QAA and NSS information, you need to weigh up the specific data they give, against the kind of data collection they represent.

OTOH, if what you have is anecdotal evidence from possibly disgruntled students, then you also need to weigh that up - anecdotes about "bad" teaching against the disgruntlement and/or realistic/unrealistic expectations of a student. And so on.

If you think you have grounds for a complaint or an appeal, you don't need external "inspection" you need internal regulations of the institution. CSSD is a college of the University of London, so it will have pretty solid academic procedures, clearly laid out.

If you are more specific about your issue, you may get more useful answers.

GiantSteps Fri 06-Oct-17 16:24:41


FANTINE2 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:42:48

Thank you for your advice.

corythatwas Sat 07-Oct-17 12:22:22

There are two problems with TEF:

One is that they rely quite heavily on student evaluations and student evaluations are quite unreliable tools. Studies have shown that students will grade the same material differently if they think it has been produced by a male or a female teacher, and there is also evidence that suggests that the race of the teacher plays a part in evaluations.
(I have seen this in practice: students going away raving after a lecture by a middle-aged man which was blatantly unthought-through and poorly delivered, yet scarcely seeming to notice the excellent quality and delivery of some young female postgraduate teacher on the same course)

Also, student evaluations are almost invariably collected before graduation/exams: so what they are actually judging is their own confidence in getting good grades. In other words, they are likely to give higher marks to a course that is less demanding or even a course which they haven't understood (because they don't know, at that point, that they aren't going to pass the exams). What they don't get to do is evaluate a few years later how much a certain course helped them to get on in life. We never see that.

Secondly, as user91 mentioned, the TEF grades are not absolute grades: they are weighted against expectation in a manner that can seem quite random. Some institutions who got Bronze had in fact performed much better in absolute grades than some other institutions who got Silver (or possibly even Gold): it was just that for those particular institutions the handicap had been set so high that they had no chance of reaching the targets.

corythatwas Sat 07-Oct-17 12:25:04

As for drama schools, though, surely the best criterion is alumni? Looking at who makes a career in performing arts, and what kind of career they make?

Is your dd at Central atm, Fantine, or is she approaching the audition stage?

GiantSteps Sat 07-Oct-17 13:49:28

Well, Central has a pretty gold standard list of alumni. You could start with Judi Dench ...

corythatwas Sat 07-Oct-17 13:52:55

Just remembered that OPs dd is already at Central. So is this about dissatisfaction with the actual course, FANTINE?

errorofjudgement Sun 08-Oct-17 08:51:05

Looking at her Wikipedia page, Judi Dench graduated in the mid-1950s, I suspect the teaching practice, and indeed the teachers themselves, have, ahem, "moved on" since then .... 😂

HouseholdWords Sun 08-Oct-17 11:46:43

Yes one would hope that. Of course ( oh I wish there were a lighthearted/this is joke emoticon)

BubblesBuddy Mon 09-Oct-17 16:46:37

Most students are just over the moon to get offered a place at one of these institutions. The employment rates might sway me but talent of the students would alter this stat!

cathyandclare Tue 10-Oct-17 18:02:48

DD applying this year and Central is on the list, obviously the chances of getting in are slim, but has your DD had a bad experience @FANTINE2 ?

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