Accessibility in Music Education

Addressing the UCAS undergraduate report

Do Leeds College of Music course places only go to the advantaged musician?
A 2015 UCAS report outlined how students from advantaged backgrounds are six times more likely to receive a place at a UK Conservatoire, but is there a skew in the average figures?
According to recent news, despite a 250% rise in applications from 18-year-olds from disadvantaged areas since 2009, UCAS performing arts course places are six times more likely to be offered to students from an advantaged background. These statistics come from the first UCAS report on the eight institutions covered as part of UCAS Conservatoires. However Leeds College Of Music, one of three of the conservatoires to not hold the Royal title, has been addressing the challenge of accessibility for most of its 50 year existence in Yorkshire.
2013-14 data on UK undergraduates – young people actually taking courses – shows that 44.7% of LCoM students qualified for a bursary as well as the full or partial maintenance grant. This means that almost half of the conservatoire’s students are from households with an OFFA defined low-income, of less than £42,620 per annum. The students still had to participate in a rigorous audition process and hold the same high level of entry qualifications before attending Leeds College of Music as expected at other conservatoires.
The conservatoire addresses barriers for students who aren’t in a financially advantageous position to follow the application and audition process for study. Rising costs of doing a degree also include, for performing arts, audition fees and travel costs, funds that students from low-income backgrounds sometimes struggle to find. To ensure that applicants from lower income households are not deterred from applying to LCoM, the college refunds or waive audition fees and refund the travel costs for those with incomes under £21,000.
In order to reduce financial barriers to those aiming to reach the required entry standard, Leeds College of Music provides free individual instrumental tuition and Music Theory classes to Further Education students who are studying on the BTEC Extended Diploma. They provide bursaries for talented children from low-income families to receive free tuition at Saturday Music School, which provides a unique array of study for young musicians aged nine to eighteen. The conservatoire also has multi-million pound facilities for students to use, including studio space, in-house.
Leeds College of Music continues to be committed to widening participation, an integral part of its ethos. With national and international student numbers increasing year-on-year, they are proud to stand out amongst conservatoires for excellent accessibility figures.

Read the full 2015 UCAS Conservatoire report here.



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"To ensure that applicants from lower income households are not deterred from applying to LCoM, the college refunds or waives audition fees and refund the travel costs for those with incomes under £21,000."

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