ACM is committed to providing the highest standards of teaching and learning and an unparalleled student experience to those with a talent and enthusiasm for the music industry, regardless of their economic or social background.
To achieve this, ACM operates a range of activities and initiatives to support and guide students at all stages of the student life cycle; prior to application, during the application process, whilst on programme and after graduation. This is important not just to uncover talent in unexpected places, but also to ensure that students are retained and graduate, before ultimately succeeding in their career aspirations.
ACM believes that these activities and initiatives should be available to all and is therefore committed to an inclusive widening participation provision, founded on a culture that recognises mutual respect and individuality.
ACM’s statement on inclusivity is outlined in our Equality and Diversity policy. For further information please see https://www.acm.ac.uk/policies/
ACM’s outreach activity helps ensure that young people, including those from non-traditional backgrounds, are encouraged to apply to study Further Education and Higher Education programmes. Throughout the year, we visit many local schools to talk to pupils about careers in the music industry. We also provide support and guidance to schools with regards to music education resources, including setting up equipment, as well as accommodate visits from schools to show pupils of all ages what happens at ACM. To reach talented individuals that may not have access through traditional school outreach activity, ACM maintains a key presence on social media including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Additionally, a key presence is maintained in youth music magazines and websites. Each year ACM runs a Summer School alongside a termly part-time course provision enabling those students under the age of 16 to experience ACM and learn from industry professionals.
ACM has made a commitment to provide a range of programmes at various levels to improve the accessibility of music industry education offering talented individuals of all types the opportunity to study at ACM. This includes provision of Level 2 and Level 3 vocational Further Education programmes for those that are not yet ready for Higher Education. ACM’s Level 2 programme enables those who might not have GCSE level passes the opportunity to remain in education and work towards higher level programmes whilst retaking GCSE English and maths. ACM’s Further Education programmes provide excellent preparation for Higher Education and each year many of our Level 3 students progress to Degree level courses, with most choosing to remain at ACM. In September 2016, ACM launched a BA(Hons) Music Industry Practice programme, including a foundation year. This ‘1+2 year’ course provides access to Higher Education for those do not have typical university entry qualifications, but are able to demonstrate talent and potential for Degree level study.
To ensure ACM has the opportunity to fully assess each student and for them in turn to evaluate what ACM has to offer, we aim to interview/audition all applicants that meet the initial entry criteria. Where an applicant does not have formal education qualifications, ACM will provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for learning. The interview/audition is important to ACM, as it provides an opportunity to consider potential beyond that which might be evident from academic achievement records and a personal statement.
Access All Areas
To help applicants fully evaluate what ACM is and what it has to offer, we offer all applicants an ‘Access All Areas’ pass. This provides them with access to many ACM services and features in advance of the commencement of their studies. This includes access to the Industry Link team, tutorials, masterclasses as well as information via the ACM mobile app. ACM believes that a key element of retention is in understanding and managing expectation. (See 2017/18 Prospectus page 26 for more details). In early 2017, ACM delivered a number of networking events held at Metropolis Studios in London available to both prospective and current students.
Financial Support and Tuition Fees
From the very beginning, ACM has strived to provide access to its full-time programmes on the basis of ability and not financial background. ACM’s Further Education programmes are fully funded and are therefore available at no cost to eligible students aged 16 to 18. ACM obtains, on an annual basis, designation for its Higher Education programmes to ensure access to student loans. Tuition fees are set at a cost comparable, or in some cases lower, than that available within the university sector. For example, the total tuition fee of ACM’s 2-year accelerated degree qualification is much less than that charged for the majority of University Degree courses. In addition, ACM provides added benefit, including masterclasses, career development through Industry Link, access to studio and practice room, tutorials etc. at no additional cost.
ACM also makes available various forms of financial support, including payment plans, bursaries and hardship loans, to help support students in need whilst on programme.
Induction and Transition Events, Academic Support Tutorials
Prior to programme start and whilst on programme, ACM provides students with a range of activities to help inform them about their programmes of study and the support available to them. ACM recognises that there are various points during the student life cycle that benefit from additional support and guidance, including at induction, transition between Degree levels and progression from Further Education. ACM also provides on-programme access to one-to-one tutorials, including study skills, to give students individual support where needed.
ACM uses a wide range of learning methodologies, including the use of VLEs (via Canvas) to support individual learning preferences. Published course note materials are also made available to all students to support learning outside of the classroom.
Wellbeing, Mental Health and Student Support
ACM is conscious of its responsibilities to the holistic wellbeing and mental health of its students and recognises the importance of managing the wellbeing of students during their formative years of study and development. ACM’s approach has been to view this as a proactive activity rather than a reactive one. In addition to providing all students with access to being coached in wellbeing, ACM also provides access to various levels of student support, including counselling, with various mechanisms in place to help identify where there might be a particular need. Initiatives introduced for 2016/17 have seen a reduction in the number of withdrawals compared to the previous year.
ACM’s full-time Education Guidance team provides a range of targeted support for students with an assessed additional learning support need. The team provides a friendly and accessible service to assist students with Dyslexia and other specific learning differences to achieve their potential at ACM. Our approach is to provide support as needed, whilst recognising the importance of preparation for professional careers in music. ACM works with students at the application stage to help fully understand their needs prior to programme commencement. For details regarding the work of ACM’s Education Guidance Team, see https://www.acm.ac.uk/education-guidance/
Employability and the Industry Link Team
Preparation for a professional career in the music industry is an integral part of the student experience at ACM that goes beyond just providing access to state-of-the art facilities. All full-time students are provided with access to ACM’s in-house Industry Link team, which is dedicated to supporting the professional development of students, helping them take their first steps into the music industry whilst on programme and after graduation. In addition to one-to-one tutorials, the team also provide numerous masterclasses, networking events, developmental workshops, regular performance opportunities, festivals, performance showcases and auditions. For further details see https://www.acm.ac.uk/industry-link/
ACM’s unique partnership with Metropolis Studios, Europe’s largest independent recording facility, provides students with exclusive access to a range of opportunities and experiences enabling them to experience professional environments and situations and further develop their confidence and skill set. For further details see https://www.acm.ac.uk/metropolis/
The Academy of Contemporary Music
25th January 2017.