This message has gone out to students from the principal of the Royal Academy of Music, in London.
TO ALL STUDENTS AND STAFF
The COVID-19 emergency is causing financial hardship for millions of people in this country
and elsewhere, students included. I, along with other UK University leaders, will be talking
with government about possible fee support measures, but I do not expect these
discussions to reach a conclusion for some time. In the meantime, a number of you are
asking about fees for next term.
Along with the Principals of our sister Royal conservatoires, I’m writing to you to outline our
position. Like almost all conservatories and universities around the world we are making the
transition to digital learning because we believe this is the best way of ensuring continuity in
your studies. While this does create new challenges (and all of us are on a learning curve), I
am enormously grateful to teaching colleagues and students for the positive way you have
embarked upon this.
The reality is that ‘on-line’ teaching costs the same as ‘in-person’ teaching, along with
almost all the activities and support provided for students’ learning. This covers those
aspects within the credited curriculum and those beyond it, such as the library, counselling
services and other student services and pastoral and academic support, plus all our essential
professional support services, like Registry, IT, Finance, Communications and HR.
All these departments are functioning as before, even if staff members are having to work
from home, and some are actually carrying additional costs to support the required
work. All are working extraordinarily hard and with dedication to make sure that the
forthcoming period of study is the best it can possibly be, in these highly unusual times. We
are also planning ahead for when we can return to the Academy’s buildings, and with plenty
of projects to make up for lost time.
All of us wish we could be in different circumstances, delivering our learning and teaching in
the way we do normally, in the learning and teaching spaces we love. But we can’t and, like
all conservatories everywhere in the world, we must operate digitally. We will do this the
best we possibly can and defer only those elements of the curriculum we must. The Registry
will be writing to you later today regarding all aspects of assessment in the coming period.
For those students who pay by instalment, fees will be due in the usual way. We ask as
many of you as possible to pay on time, to make sure that the Academy can continue with
its work. It is only with tuition fees that the Academy can continue to operate. If you will
struggle to be able to pay your fees on time and need to revise your instalment plan, please
contact email@example.com and we will help reschedule your fees.
We recognise that some students will have been relying on concerts, teaching and other
work, both to pay their fees and to cover their living costs, and most of this work will have
been cancelled. This is a reminder about the increased hardship fund that we have put in
place – please email […] for an application form. We know that
some of you who live in various different types of student accommodation have had to
return home. We will be contacting you shortly to clarify arrangements and help where we can.
To be resilient and withstand this crisis we rely on the commitment of our wonderful staff
and our incredibly talented students, who display all the best qualities of our communities:
flexibility, teamwork, creativity and innovation in all circumstances. We need the Academy
to be resilient – for you and for the future of the arts.
Coming full circle from my opening paragraph, the Minister of State for Universities has told
us that the UK Government is looking at all potential avenues for supporting students
through this challenging time. In light of the government’s recent announcements about
helping employees and self-employed workers, we hope that a package to help students will
follow. We will welcome any such move from the British Government, and will update you
as soon as we have news about this.
All best wishes,
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal