Advice for Dance and Drama Award institutions for the 2015 to 2016 academic year.
The Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA) scheme offers income assessed support for tuition fees and living costs at a number of high quality private dance and drama institutions in England. DaDA funding is intended to provide a contribution to the costs of participating for individuals who want to become professional actors and dancers.
Information for 2015 to 2016
This guide provides information to institutions offering DaDA funding provided by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Only institutions who have successfully applied and been approved to administer the Dance and Drama Awards in the 2015 to 2016 academic year are eligible to offer DaDA funding to students.
This guide covers DaDA funding for students starting a course in the 2015 to 2016 academic year and students who started courses in, or after, the 2013 to 2014 academic year.
Only students enrolled on the Trinity College London (TCL) Level 5 and 6 Professional Diplomas in Dance, Acting and Musical Theatre are eligible to receive DaDA funding.
For the 2015 to 2016 academic year, an adjustment is being made to DaDA in response to the ongoing monitoring of the scheme. The maximum income threshold for DaDA support will be increased from £70,000 to £90,000 and minor adjustments to the amount of support the scheme will provide to students who have household incomes of greater than £42,000 will also be made. The changes will apply to new students in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.
DaDA funding in the 2015 to 2016 academic year
Students who are enrolling with the institution to start their course in the 2015 to 2016 academic year, have their eligibility for support and the amount of financial support they are eligible to receive assessed by the institution based on the nationally set income bands. Household income is used to determine the level of financial support for both fees and living costs (maintenance).
The income assessment undertaken by the institution for the 2015 to 2016 academic year will normally be used to confirm the amount of fee support for the whole of the student’s course. However, an income assessment must be undertaken each year to establish the amount of living costs support the student is entitled to receive. In 2015 to 2016 therefore, institutions are required to undertake income assessments for new starters using the income bands for the 2015 to 2016 academic year. For students who started their course in the 2013 to 2014 or 2014 to 2015 academic years who are returning to their second or third year in 2015 to 2016, institutions should undertake the income assessment for living costs using the income bands previously set.
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) will continue to be available in 2015 to 2016 academic year and students should apply for DSA support in the usual way. Institutions should note that the contact details for DSA applications will be changing. Confirmation of the changes will be sent separately to institutions in June 2015.
Institutions will receive an allocation of funding for the 2015 to 2016 academic year, from which they should support continuing students already in receipt of DaDA funding and new students enrolling and applying for DaDA for the first time.
In the 2015 to 2016 academic year, institutions may continue to use the element of flexibility introduced in the 2014 to 2015 academic year, whereby if they have funds remaining after all full income assessments have been completed but these are not sufficient to provide the full amount of support an additional student is entitled to on the basis of their household income, partial funding can be given.
The EFA will issue an allocations letter to each institution which confirms the total amount of DaDA funding given to the institution. Allocations were made to institutions in February 2015.
To be eligible to receive DaDA funding in the 2015 to 2016 academic year, students must be aged between 16 and 23 at the start of the academic year to apply for a dance course and aged between 18 and 23 at the start of the academic year to apply for an acting course.
DaDA funding can only be given to students who satisfy one of the following residency conditions:
- they are a British citizen and have lived in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of their course
- they have settled status and have been ordinarily resident in the UK, for at least three years prior to the start of their course
- they are a national of any European Union (EU) country or the spouse or civil partner or child of an EU national, and have been ordinarily resident in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for at least the three years prior to the start of their course
- they are an EEA migrant worker who has the right to work in the UK, or the spouse or civil partner or child of an EEA migrant worker, who has been ordinarily resident in the UK at the start of their course, and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland throughout the three years prior to that; or
- a child of a Swiss national who is ordinarily resident in the UK at the start of their course and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland for the three years prior to that; or
- a child of a Turkish migrant worker who has the right to work in the UK and who is ordinarily resident in the UK at the start of their course and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA, Switzerland or Turkey for the three year period prior to that
- they have been granted refugee status by the UK government, or are the spouse or civil partner or child of someone with refugee status, or have been granted Humanitarian Protection, or have EU Temporary Protection
DaDA living costs support is only available to students who are ordinarily resident in England, Scotland or Wales, in other words they are a permanent resident in the UK. Students from Northern Ireland and EU countries are not eligible to receive living cost support.
Allocations to institutions
DaDA funding provided by the EFA is intended to make a contribution towards the tuition costs of the training provided by institutions. It is not intended to cover the costs in full.
Institutions should manage the DaDA funding allocation at their own discretion, including deciding whether they wish to allocate all funding or hold a small contingency fund to respond to issues later in the year but in accordance with the criteria set out in this document.
The allocation of funding has been calculated based on historical trends in take-up by income band. Each institution should be able to afford to support a broadly similar number of students as they have done historically.
Allocations will be made in two instalments: approximately two-thirds (70%) will be paid in August 2015 and the remaining one-third (30%) will be paid in April 2016.
Institutions may use up to 5% of the total allocation of funding to meet their administration costs.
Institutions should note that any underspend in the 2015 to 2016 academic year will be reconciled by the EFA in-year in April and at end of the academic year. Underspends cannot be carried forward into future years. Full details of the reconciliation process will be issued separately by the EFA in March 2016.
As noted in the section above, DaDA funding in the 2015 to 2016 academic year, institutions may use flexibility in their allocated DaDA funding at their discretion to provide partial funding for talented student(s) where the institution is not able to provide the full support the student is entitled to on the basis of their household income due to insufficient funds being available.
Institutions must ensure they clearly communicate to students/parents how they are utilising this flexibility, if they choose to do so, in order to ensure their use of DaDA funding remains clear and transparent. Institutions must ensure that any partial funding awards are given only after all students applying for DaDA support have been fully income assessed and the full process set out from section, application, income assessment and payment of DaDA funding to confirmation of funding below has been completed.
Application, income assessment and payment of DaDA funding
The first and over-riding criterion for allocation of DaDA funding is that students are judged at audition to have the most talent and potential to succeed in the profession.
When auditioning students, institutions must implement the Auditioning and Interviewing for Dance and Drama Courses Code of Practice and Guidance on Devising an Appeals Procedure (2nd edition) produced by the Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET) and Drama UK. Institutions must clearly set out the procedures students must follow to audition for a place and DaDA funding.
Institutions may offer a) provisional awards and b) final awards. Provisional awards may be offered by an institution before a student formally accepts a place at the institution; however no provisional awards should be offered to students prior to the 1st March. Final awards can only be offered when the student has formally accepted a place at the institution and where the completed Dance and Drama Award application form has been fully income assessed.
The DaDA flowchart below sets out in broad terms the application and assessment process for funding. The flowchart is for indicative purposes only and the EFA recognises that individual institutions’ processes may vary in some measure from the process below.
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There are two types of application forms that institutions should use to assess the amount of DaDA funding a student is eligible to receive. The Self-Declaration of Income form should be used to initially assess the student’s household’s financial circumstances to determine an indicative level of support the may be eligible to receive. This form should be completed by the student when a provisional place at the institution has been offered to them.
Once a student has formally accepted their place at the school, they must complete the main Dance and Drama Award application form to determine the final amount of funding a student is eligible to receive. Funding can only be confirmed after the full income assessment has been completed and institutions should ensure that students fully understand this.
The student’s household income from the previous tax year is used to undertake the income assessment to establish eligibility for DaDA funding. For the 2015 to 2016 academic year this is the 2014 to 2015 tax year. Income can be evidenced by a tax credit award notice, receipt of benefits or evidence from employment (P60, P9D, P11D) or self-employment. Unearned income such as shares and investments, savings, pensions and income from rental property should also be taken into account when assessing a student’s application.
The income assessment undertaken at the start of the student’s course for tuition fees should normally last for the duration of the student’s course. However institutions have the discretion to re-assess fees at the end of the academic year (but not in-year) where the student can provide evidence that there has been a dramatic change of circumstances, for example, where there has been a long term change which affects their current circumstance or where the change has occurred for the whole of the previous academic year.
In-year reassessment can only take place in exceptional cases such as disability or death of a parent or carer.
Living costs (maintenance)
Income assessment for living costs funding must be undertaken on an annual basis and students are required to submit a new application for living costs support each new academic year.
Only in exceptional cases, such as disability or death of a parent or carer, can a student’s living costs support be reassessed in-year.
A student may also have their fees and living costs application reassessed in-year if their circumstances change and they can provide evidence that they have become an independent student, ie, they can evidence that they are either married; have financially supported themselves for three years or more; are the natural or adoptive parent of a child who lives with them; have no living parents; or are estranged from their parents. An independent student reassessment is undertaken on the student’s household income and that of their spouse or partner (if they have one).
Confirmation of funding
When the student’s application has been fully assessed and the evidence they have supplied has been checked, institutions should notify students who are eligible for funding in writing to confirm the amount of tuition fees and, if applicable, living costs funding they are entitled to receive. Where a student is not offered DaDA funding, the institution must write to the student explaining the reasons for this, setting out details of their appeals procedure. If the student believes that the process used to come to this decision contains irregularities, they must be given the right to appeal under the institution’s procedures. If the institution is found to be in error, they must compensate the student appropriately.
While written confirmation of DaDA funding should not be given by the institution until the application has been assessed and the evidence checked, institutions may wish to make provisional DaDA funding offers at an earlier stage (see section application, income assessment and payment of DaDA funding above). The provisional amount of DaDA funding can be communicated to the student by the institution on the basis of the information supplied by the student on the self-declaration form judged against the published DaDA income assessment scales, but it must be made clear that this amount is provisional only and is on the basis of the household income initially declared by the student. The institution must make clear that the funding amount quoted to them is not guaranteed but is subject to verification and confirmation via the main application form at a later date.
All students will be able to apply for DSA support in the usual way. From September 2015, the contact details for DSA applications will change; the new details will be confirmed to institutions in June. There will also be a minor change to the DSA process for general allowances with these payments - which are usually relatively small amounts of money - being paid directly to students by institutions from their allocation of DaDA funding.
Payment of DaDA funding
Institutions should make living costs payments directly to students once they have been fully assessed as eligible for DaDA funding. Institutions are free to determine the frequency of payments to students; however it is recommended that payments are made in instalments, for example, on a termly basis. This will ensure that students do not receive funding that they are not entitled to, for example, if they withdraw from their course part way through the year. Where an institution issues a large amount of funding to a student, they should be aware that this is at their own risk. No additional funding can be claimed from the EFA in the event of any overpayment to students by institutions.
Institutions should make clear to students that continued receipt of funding is conditional on the student meeting agreed standards set by the institutions, for example, relating to attendance, behaviour and progression.
Communications, governance and monitoring
Institutions are responsible for ensuring that information about DaDA is available to students through their literature and websites and that this information is up to date. The EFA will regularly review and update its’ student facing information on GOV.UK.
Management information returns
At the end of October 2015, institutions will be required to submit an in-year MI return to provide data on students in receipt of DaDA funding in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.
In July 2016, ie at the end of the 2015 to 2016 academic year, institutions will be required to complete and submit an end of year MI return to support the monitoring of the DaDA scheme. Reconciliation will be undertaken at the end of the academic year. An in-year reconciliation will also take place in April 2016 if institutions identify a significant amount of unused funding in the in-year MI return. Full details about the reconciliation process and the MI requirements will be communicated to institutions separately in March 2016.
Audit and scheme protection
Administration and allocation of DaDAs will be subject to the EFA’s audit process.
Institutions should maintain accurate and up to date records of students and funding for audit purposes and in order to provide accurate management information (MI). This includes recording students in receipt of DaDA funding on the budget management spreadsheet for the 2015 to 2016 academic year.
The EFA may withdraw, at any time, DaDA funding from any institution that fails to comply with all aspects of this guide, Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities or any other legal requirements applying to the institution or if it is not able to provide sufficient evidence that it is financially viable.
DaDA funding may also be withdrawn where the institution fails to meet the qualification requirements of the DaDA scheme ie it is no longer validated by Trinity College London as eligible to offer the Level 5 and 6 Diploma qualifications and to maintain levels of quality, relevance to employers’ needs and the standards of performance that are currently set for the DaDA.
Institutions will be subject to governance and audit regimes which include the requirement for Ofsted inspections and the publication of inspection reports. They must also permit any person authorised by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) to inspect the institution and afford to such person all the facilities they may reasonably require for making such an inspection as and when required in line with Ofsted powers of entry and access to documents and its Common Inspection Framework in accordance with section 131 and 132 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.
Only institutions whose provision is assessed as Outstanding (Grade 1) or Good (Grade 2) at Ofsted inspection will be eligible to offer DaDA funding. The EFA will cease to fund current institutions if they do not maintain their levels of quality unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Ofsted inspections are undertaken in line with the Common Inspection Framework and other guidance current at that time. The current Common Inspection Framework, handbook for inspections and the supplementary guidance for the inspection of dance and drama colleges can be viewed on Ofsted’s website. However, the Common Inspection Framework is currently being revised and a new Framework and guidance will be issued in summer 2015 (see the latest update on this: Better Inspection for All). All inspection reports are published.
Institutions should ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities for safeguarding all learners and also ensure they are aware of the Government’s Prevent Strategy about safeguarding young people from extremism and radicalisation: the prevent strategy.
In the event that an institution ceases operation, students will be allowed to transfer to another institution with DaDA funding with prior agreement of the EFA. In these circumstances the EFA will fund the remaining period of the student’s support at the same rate at that which applies at the new institution.
Further information for students
Further information on the DaDA scheme is available on GOV.UK.