Circomedia’s Access and Participation Statement
At Circomedia we are passionate about supporting access and participation for higher education students from all social classes, including through providing equality of opportunity for degree course applicants and driving success and progression outcomes for our current students.
What our students say
Our latest National Student Survey results demonstrate our success in supporting all students during their time with us. Some of the results (taken from feedback on our Foundation Degree) include:
Teaching on the course
- 93% of students feel staff on the course are good at explaining things
- 100% of students feel staff on the course have made the subject interesting
- 93% of students feel their course has challenged them to achieve their best work
- 93% of students feel they have been able to contact staff when they needed to
- 93% of students feel they have received sufficient advice and guidance in relation to their course
- 100% of students feel their course has provided them with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth
- 93% of students feel their course has provided them with opportunities to apply what they learn
Learning and community
- 100% of students feel they feel part of a community of staff and students
- 93% of students feel they have had the right opportunities to work with other students as part of their course
More information about these results can be found on our website here.
We are committed to increasing rates of students from underrepresented groups enrolling on our courses, as well as improving non-continuation rates, attainment gaps and progression rates amongst students from underrepresented groups. We strongly believe that diversity is key for success and strive to increase the levels of diversity in our student cohorts.
Our strategic efforts within this remit can be broken down into three areas: access, success, and progression. The paragraphs below detail our approach to these three areas.
We are currently working to enroll more students from underrepresented groups to our higher education courses, including by:
- Increasing participation in circus and physical theatre activities amongst local school-aged children in Ashley and Easton wards, the diverse communities on our doorstep, and working with our neighboring communities in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire.
- Establishing an associate artists’ scheme that brings artists of African and Asian diasporas, LGBTQIA+ and people who identify as D/deaf and/or disabled into Circomedia as role models, change agents and producers.
- Increasing the number and diversity of local people engaging regularly with our established classes programme and applying to our educational courses.
- Working in partnership with people from diverse cultures in the planning and delivery of our engagement programme.
- Increasing involvement with external artists, including through offering artist advice, use of development space, residencies, and artist mentoring.
- Working closely with our students to share ideas for improving access and participation, including through our student representatives’ staff liaison meetings, regarding course content, productions, and community initiatives.
- Relaunching our in-person open days (after covid), immersing our prospective students in Circomedia life for a day through seminars, guided tours, and student performances.
With a requirement for physical fitness and ability, we require three grade Ds at A Level or MPP from a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma (or equivalent), along with some experience in circus, theatre, dance, or another physical activity, for admission to our Foundation Degree. We also allow prospective students aged 21+ who do not have these qualifications to discuss Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL), to make enrolment possible for a wider variety of prospective students.
Through Bath Spa University, some students are eligible for bursaries and laptop funds to help them with their studies, and we provide computer equipment onsite that all our students can use.
Of our current Higher Education students, 30.2% are from the lowest participation neighborhoods (POLAR4 Q1 or 2 – for more information about POLAR4, please click here).
We are working to improve non-continuation rates and reduce attainment gaps amongst students from underrepresented groups. Our strategy for this includes:
- Reducing barriers to participation for disabled people and those from the global majority.
- Adapting our services to make reasonable adjustments for those who are disabled.
- Providing inclusive facilities such as baby changing facilities, accessible toilets, showers, parking, special dietary requirements, hearing loops and improving on these to meet individual needs.
- Ensuring our buildings are accessible to all and ensuring that our building and maintenance plans are inclusive of all persons and do not exclude anyone from access to our services.
- Providing professional-standard training and performance facilities.
- Having an exceptional staff team with world-leading experts in their fields, comprising a wide variety of circus and physical theatre disciplines.
- Use our links with international organisations for performance and training opportunities, particularly through our membership of FEDEC (the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools).
- Encouraging student feedback and engagement to help improve our services and students’ experience with us.
At Circomedia we are committed to welcoming and supporting neurodiversity, and our Student Support Office is open every day during term time to offer students a variety of support and guidance. We celebrate diversity and our staff are trained to provide advice on how to enhance the learning experience of students, however they learn best.
Our goal is for all our students to progress into graduate-level employment or further studies, and to reduce gaps between underrepresented groups and other students. Our strategy for this includes:
- Ensuring that our programme of professional performances overtly reflects our commitment to diversity.
- Prioritising student choice in our programmes, with flexible study options, meaning that students can specialise in and practice the discipline(s) that they are most passionate about.
- Creating an environment in which all students have access to the support they need, both personally and academically, and encourage students to speak to our staff team (our dedicated student support staff, and/or their pastoral tutors) about their plans post-graduation and how we can support them.
- Maintaining our facilities and campuses in Bristol, a vibrant city with an exceptional performing arts scene.
- Continuing our full membership of the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools (FEDEC) to keep our higher education course content up-to-date and reflective of current and best practices.
- Aiding networking opportunities through offering opportunities for residencies, mentoring, and rehearsal and training space to visiting professionals and graduates.
At Circomedia we have a clear statement encouraging applications from all sections of the community on our jobs page and job adverts. Our current workforce is 62% female, and the board and management team 64% female. To diversify the staffing, we aim to create progression routes for graduates into the organisation, keeping the average age low and increasing diversity, while not excluding others. The nature of our work is welcoming to LGBQTIA+, and this is reflected in our staff overall, and we are taking steps to ensure that over time our management also reflects that. Our planned youth board will ensure that all voices are heard within our Youth Circus Community that they have a voice in our future direction.
Our recent Matrix assessment stated that Circomedia is, “a vibrant and caring organisation, where students are supported to progress with their individual career plans and to make their own choices, with access to IAG from professional staff who have current expertise and knowledge in the sector.” Our current artist development plan, running since 2016, has guided our support for recent graduates, alumni companies, other Bristol-based practitioners and national or international companies. We will continue with this plan, given its success in supporting graduates amongst other performers and companies, and have supported 30 young companies under this policy since 2019 (including during the COVID pandemic).
Our overall ambition is to continue providing world-leading courses in circus performance and physical theatre, with increased diversity amongst our staff, students, and our graduates, free from inequality in outcomes, success, and progression.
For more information about how we address equality and diversity, please see Bath Spa University’s Equality Policy.