National Centre for Circus Arts
Image: Bertil Nilsson
How we work
The Conservatoire works through a formal collaborative arrangement among its six member schools, as set out in a Members’ Agreement (agreed 11 October 2017).
Working through a shared consultative and decision-making structure, together with the leadership of the Conservatoire, the Member Schools agree the Conservatoire’s overall strategy and policy. While each of the Schools remains a legally autonomous organisation, all students on a higher education programme of study with a Member School are registered students of the Conservatoire, which has the same institutional duty of care and obligations to its students as all higher education institutions that are registered with the Office for Students.
The Conservatoire is also ultimately accountable for the proper use and stewardship of the public funds it receives. The Conservatoire’s main tasks are to:
- plan, deliberate and take decisions about the Conservatoire’s strategy and development
- facilitate collaborative working and joint activities between the Schools, their staff and students
- ensure equity of treatment of all Conservatoire students
- liaise with external funding and regulatory bodies such as the Office for Students (OfS) and Research England over funding, reporting and other relevant matters
- promote the collective interests of the Conservatoire and its Schools
The activities in support of the Conservatoire’s functions consist mainly of:
- deliberative meetings of a governing board, Senate, sub-committees, and working groups
- preparation of policy and other relevant papers
- academic quality assurance and enhancement
- quality assurance and enhancement of the student experience
- maintaining records
- data collection, analysis presentation and reporting
- financial planning and management
- overseeing joint projects, conferences and performances
- knowledge transfer and sharing of good practice
- administration of the above.
Conservatoire Executive Committee
The Conservatoire’s Board of Governors has delegated executive responsibility for the organisation to a Head of Institution who determines the direction and management of the Conservatoire and leads its central staff. The Head of Institution is the Conservatoire’s Accountable Officer and takes responsibility for the day-to-day conduct of the Conservatoire’s business.
The Head of Institution is supported by the Conservatoire Executive Committee (“CEC”). Together, the Head of Institution and CEC provide collective leadership for the Conservatoire. CEC is chaired by the Head of Institution and includes the Principal of each Conservatoire member school. The CEC is supported by the Finance Directors of the member schools and the Conservatoire’s shared services team.
The CEC considers matters relating to policy and the strategic direction of the Conservatoire, receives reports on the work of the Senate and the Conservatoire’s various committees and working groups, and considers recommendations from these bodies.
Recent changes in the higher education landscape have fundamentally altered the dynamics between the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD) and its six Member Schools. Having reflected carefully on the implications of these changes and the opportunities that they present for the member schools, it has become clear to all that it is most desirable for the schools to pursue independent pathways. The CDD and the member schools are now working closely with each other and the Office for Students (OfS) to set each on its own path and to perform an orderly wind-down of the Conservatoire no later than July 2023.
CDD is managing this time of change with a new Chair, Julian Roskill, who was appointed from the 1st January 2021 having served previously as Senior Independent Governor on the Conservatoire Board.
Julian Roskill commented: “I am very much looking forward to guiding the organisation and its schools through to pastures new. Working together with the OfS, our priority will remain to deliver the highest quality conservatoire and degree level training to our students for their forthcoming careers and for the artistic, cultural, and economic benefit of the UK. We aim also to ensure complete continuity for students so that these changes are not noticeable to their experience.”