The government's much vaunted UniStats website was launched at the back of the week. It'll be interesting to see how students and sixth form institutions use them to make choices about where they want to study.
For Universities it's a chance to acknowledge where they're perceived by their own students as doing well and where the fault lines are.
An initial survey provided good news for Drama St Mary’s with all three of our pathway courses Drama and Theatre Arts, Drama and Physical Theatre and Drama and Applied Theatre recording overall satisfaction levels of over 90%, putting them all in the top 100 out of the 622 registered courses in the UK.
Drama and Theatre Arts did particularly well listed as one of the top ten programmes of its type in the UK. The courses also scored highly on graduate employment.
Where we really stand out is in the percentage of contact time our students receive. Drama students at St Mary's spend 43% of the working week (9 - 5pm) in class. This compares favourably (we believe) we other similar institutions who are offering between 15 - 20%.
Some students arrive here and are surprised by the commitment we expect. They occasionally shoot envious glances at their peers on other courses who rock up for a couple of lectures and a seminar a week and spend most of their time in the library.
It can particularly tough on cold, autumnal mornings to drag yourself into a rehearsal room, knowing your going to working physically for the rest of the day - but we're convinced that the training and investment students put in now makes the difference between disciplined, self-motivated practitioners and moaning, misunderstood artists later.
You only have to look at the Drama Schools, who continue to produce the vast majority of professional actors in this country, and the levels of training expected of their students to see that our continuing efforts to resource rigorous training conditions for our students is the right way to go. It's good to see our commitment to focused skills based training is reflected in these statistics.