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Third Year Dance and Performance course at The Arden School of Theatre

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As current second year students on the Dance and Performance course at The Arden School of Theatre, we are writing to request a reconsideration on the validation of the third and final year of a top-up BA (Hons) degree. We are all incredibly happy where we are studying, and, as the course has been written and submitted, are very disappointed that we are going to have to continue our studies elsewhere. After looking into top-up years, it is evident that the only University that offers a course with similar modules to ours is Salford, but choosing to study there would have an enormous impact and disruption to our studies; causing us to miss out on the essential training and tutoring already gained from studying at The Arden. We are writing this petition with the hope that you will seriously consider how vital it is, to our education and to our training, that the third year is validated so that we can resume our honours year studies in the next academic year at The Arden.

Looking at the Annual External Examiners Report from 2014, it is clearly evident that the progression into a full degree would be hugely beneficial to all current students at The Arden. Within his report, Duncan Holt states how ‘impressed he was with the variety of assessment methods and the appropriateness of these to the aims and content of the modules concerned.’ He also compliments the staff members and their dedication and commitment to ensuring the best possible education and standard of teaching, as well as complimenting the noticeable development to the curriculum within the space of only a year. It is then mentioned that ‘the programme is limited in its two year structure’, and finishes his report by saying ‘he is very happy with the level and quality of the work of the team and hopes that the college is able to reward their work by progressing their careers and more particularly granting permission to convert the programme into a three year BA (Hons) degree.’ With this in mind, we hope that it is clear to see the necessity of a third and final year at The Arden School of Theatre.

Taking into consideration the huge effect and disruption studying elsewhere will have on our education, there is also the extensive impact it will have on individual’s personal lives. For some members of the class, there is the issue of finding appropriate and suitable child care, something which is not currently a problem due to the guaranteed hours on our timetable. We have set days and hours; 9-5 Wednesday – Friday; the hours are compact rather than spread out, meaning it is affordable for the students who commute each day, and don’t have the option of living closer to Manchester. However, if we were to go elsewhere, then this would become a problem with such severity that it could lead to several students having no choice other than to not complete their full degree. If the third year was to remain at The Arden, it would mean that all of the students currently on the course would be able to complete their BA (Hons) year successfully, with all the excellent support, help and guidance that is on offer from the staff and The Manchester College itself.

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