Support for disabled students
The Conservatoire welcomes applications from disabled people and judges applicants solely on their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. We are committed to admitting and supporting disabled students and warmly encourage you to inform the school so that appropriate support can be put into place as soon as possible.
In addition to your legal rights under The Equality Act, the Conservatoire recognises that everyone is an individual and will do its best to develop your particular talents and skills. Our schools have found many imaginative and innovative ways to anticipate and respond to the needs of disabled people with the talent and enthusiasm for the highest level of training in acting, circus arts, dance and technical theatre.
Government Cuts to DSA
You may have heard about the government's proposed cuts to the DSA (Disabled Students' Allowance).
For more information about the proposed cuts and to view the Conservatoire's response, please view or download the PDF link below:
The Conservatoire has developed a number of resources about the work we are doing to support disabled students.
Support for Disabled Students guide
Our Support For Disabled Students guide provides information about the process of applying for a place at a Conservatoire school, the support you can expect at audition or interview, and if you are offered a place, during your course. You can download the guide below or via the link on the right of the page.
DVD: You will always surprise others, by just being who you are
If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you can view videos from our DVD You will always surprise others by just being who you are. The DVD features students with a disability talking about their training and the support provided by the schools.
Guidelines to mental health and wellbeing
The Conservatoire and the schools are doing ongoing work to promote mental health and wellbeing. You can download our guidelines to mental health and wellbeing and our leaflets for staff and students here:
- Guidelines to mental health and wellbeing
- Leaflet: Staff guidance on supporting students showing signs of mental distress
- Poster: procedure for supporting students with mental health difficulties
- Student leaflet: do you know someone who is experiencing mental distress?
- Student poster: are you worried about the mental health of someone you know?
Making Your Application
Applications should be made directly to the school (or schools) that you have chosen. You will be able to disclose any relevant information about your impairment or condition on the application form. The school will use this information to decide how best to support you during the audition/interview process, and will then contact you to discuss any adjustments or support that you might require.
If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss before you apply, please contact the school that you are considering. At this stage, you may not know precisely what you require; however, each school has a member of staff who will be able to discuss the audition process with you in order that you can decide together what kind of support would be most helpful.You will find the details of the person to contact either in the school’s prospectus or in the affiliate schools pages on this website.
We understand that some of the matters you may wish to discuss are personal: anything that you do raise will be treated in confidence and only discussed with other members of staff with your permission.
Support for auditions and interviews
The Conservatoire schools offer support for disabled candidates at both audition and interview. Past examples of this include:
- arranging for sign language interpreters to be present
- additional time for completing questionnaires or other written material (for stage management courses)
- written material made available in a different format or larger type face
- a tour of the building prior to audition
- arrangements made for candidates to be in a particular position during a workshop, or to have instructions repeated
Applying for the Disabled Student's Allowance
If you face costs in your studies because you are disabled, you may be eligible to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This can cover the cost of special equipment that is necessary for your studies, e.g. computers and software, assistance such as study skills tuition, sign language interpreters, readers or note takers. Unlike a student loan, the DSA does not have to be repaid. Applications for this allowance are made through Student Finance England.
Once you have contacted them, they will supply you with information on how to apply. Applying for the DSA can be a time-consuming process and it is important that you begin this process as soon as you have accepted a place.
You can download Student Finance England’s useful booklet 'Bridging the Gap: a guide to Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) 2013 to 2014' from the Gov.uk website here:
Or you may find it helpful to visit the section on how to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance on:
The Conservatoire has also produced a very useful booklet called Support for Disabled Students, which you can download by clicking here:
or you can telephone 0207 387 5101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a printed copy.
Support offered to students in training
The schools that make up the Conservatoire are small and specialist in nature. Although this means that we may not have all of the resources available in large universities, we do have the advantage that students are known personally by all their teachers and that wherever possible we offer support tailored to your individual needs. All staff at the Conservatoire schools undergo specialist training to help support disabled students.
We will work with you to identify potential barriers to developing skills in all aspects of your training and do what we can to remove them. Dyslexia is by far the most commonly disclosed impairment, but we also have experience of training students with a wide range of impairments and conditions. Schools can also assist students in their application for the Disabled Students’ Allowance and in finding specialist help. Our Disability Equality Scheme statement can be found in the Equality and Diversity section.