Which? Higher education: a review of providers’ rights to change courses with Response from the RCA


Dear member of the RCA student body,

WHICH? have released an analysis of higher education institutions’ (HEI’s) terms on making changes to courses. You can find the full report here. The report is based on responses to a number of questions made under the Freedom of Information (FoI) act and sent to all British HEIs.

HEIs were then graded into one of 5 categories:

Best practice; good practice; needs improvement; bad practice; unlawful practice.

The RCA was listed under the 4th: bad practice.

In response to a request for a response from the president of the SU, the College categorically rejects any suggestion that its terms are unfair. The RCA is committed to its offer at the time of admittance, insofar as is possible. There are no substantive changes to the curriculum without thorough consultation with students. In addition, any changes to course structure, content or curriculum have to be approved by the College’s Academic Standards Committee, of which the SU are full members.

Moreover, full-time MA students maintain the same fee for both years of their studies, even in cases where a student defers for several years. This is a key tenet of the College’s contract with its students.

The College responded to the FoI questions asked fully; however those questions failed to encompass the RCA’s academic standards & policies. While applauding WHICH?s stance on protecting students’ rights  to contractual fairness, the RCA feels strongly that WHICH’s assessment of the RCA is incorrect and misleading.

As Registrar, I very much appreciate the SU loaning us this platform to provide clarification in terms of how the RCA has been assessed.

Corinne Smith

Academic Registrar

Royal College of Art

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