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National Centre for Circus Arts

Image: Bertil Nilsson

Corporate Information

Organisational transition

Since January 2021, the Conservatoire and its Schools have been working closely with one another and with the Office for Students to move towards new arrangements, with each of the Schools pursuing an independent pathway outside of the Conservatoire. We are pleased to confirm that as of June 2022, each of the schools has achieved its desired outcome and the transition to new arrangements will be effective from 1 August 2022.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is entering a new partnership arrangement with the University of the West of England.

Following successful quality and standards reviews (QSR) outcomes from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Central School of Ballet, London Contemporary Dance School, National Centre for Circus Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and Rambert School have received confirmation of registration with the Office for Students, and will become independent higher education providers.

All students who are currently registered with the Conservatoire will transition to registration either with the University of the West of England, for BOVTS students, or to their School’s new registration with the Office for Students, from 1 August 2022. At that time, the Conservatoire will deregister as a higher education provider and will begin the process of a solvent winddown of its Charity and Company.

For the past two decades, the Conservatoire has provided a collegiate structure for its schools which has facilitated collaboration, sharing of learning and best practice, and the continued development and enhancement of higher education provision in dance, drama and circus arts. During this time, the higher education landscape has altered significantly, and the Conservatoire Schools are now able to take advantage of new opportunities available to small specialist providers. The Conservatoire will continue to support the Schools up to the date of transition in preparing for the next phase of their journeys as providers of world-leading higher education and training in the performing arts.

How we work

Throughout the period of transition, the Conservatoire will continue to work through the 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. Until 31 July 2022, all students on a higher education programme of study with a Member School will remain 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.

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