Hallmarks and Values


The FDS brings together established conservatoire training providers to develop discussion, strategy and projects around shared challenges, and to communicate to prospective students the options within and value of these training approaches. Access to training and indeed the value of training, particularly as a performer, are topics about which there is a great deal of anecdotal misinformation, conflicting advice and debate and lack of specific guidance/knowledge. We aim to provide the relevant info to prospective students, staff, parents and industry for clarity, accuracy and specificity

All our partners have a demonstrable track record of producing graduates with long term careers, providing professional training with recognisable identity and value in a complex market and have an emphasis on professionally focused opportunities and skillsets. All FDS partners have a commitment to widening participation.

The guiding hallmarks that underpin the training provided by partner schools are as follows:

  • A clear demonstration of compliance with the Core Principles as appropriate to the specific objectives of each programme
  • Can prove considerably more than 15 years of graduating 3rd year students on professionally oriented programmes, within an institution that is externally scrutinised by at least one independently constructed and authoritative body who is objectively able to adjudicate quality of provision
  • At least one full 3 year performance/ production arts programme that offers a recognised UK qualification with at least 900 hours a year of contact time/teaching, and is validated/accredited according to external criteria that are professionally and vocationally scrutinised by an external body
  • Can evidence that graduate destinations from all professionally configured programmes within the institution’s provision demonstrate specialised professional employment credits, facilitate direct access to employment gatekeepers/bodies, contribute to substantial long term career trajectories and recognise the plurality and entrepreneurialism that are intrinsic to 21st century creative careers
  • Able to prove a Faculty of Professionally experienced staff for the core Programme, who can demonstrate appropriate professional, vocational and academic skillsets according to their position and the specifics of the programme of study
  • Able to demonstrate adequate and safe studying environment, which acknowledges the particular remits of creative performance.

It should be noted that many schools run multiple courses which are conceived to provide different offerings, and so some courses will quite rightly not look at eg a showcase for agents as being a fundamental criterion of professional connections. All students are recommended to pay close attention to what the course information is and to pay attention to the specific objectives of the programme of study

FDS, as its current partners, is currently constructed from established institutions that were historically grouped as the constituent schools of CDS and subsequently Drama UK. We are aware that there are other training providers who also offer good options for prospective students, but we are not best placed to advise on or adjudicate this, we prefer to work within the grouping we feel informed about. The partner schools have decided to work together in respect of certain projects and common goals; this does not preclude working with other institutions in pursuit of similar. That said, FDS is not an expansionist organisation- we do not seek ownership or sector dominance, or to expect all other training providers to integrate with us.

Consequently, there is no formal process or methodology for FDS to adjudicate new partners. There are no particular criteria or agenda for other additional institutions to model, and we are not looking to own this in the future.

If as an institution you feel you would like to work with us, we would be very happy to open up conversations.

The core principles which underpin course design can be found here. Please note that all of us run courses which engage with these in different ways – a foundation course is not a professionally ready training, an MA may lead to research rather than stardom.

All partner schools are also expected to demonstrate working policies and practices which adhere to the FDS ethical guidelines, which can be found here.