Statement on the PPAD pre-validation process for The Musical Theatre Academy

Statement on the PPAD pre-validation process for The Musical Theatre Academy

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BY: Trinity College London
16 August 2022

Trinity College London is aware of the enormous challenges that the arts education providers we work with have faced over recent years. We recognise that they have worked hard in response to the pandemic and the declining economic environment in which they operate, continuing to support their students. Seeing organisations close their doors is always disappointing for us and the wider arts community. 

Trinity is an educational charity established to advance education and the performing and creative arts for the public benefit. In our 150-year history, Trinity has supported a wide range of charitable activities around the world.  

Trinity is also a regulated awarding organisation, and our work is scrutinised, monitored and reviewed by a number of UK regulatory authorities in order to maintain standards and confidence in qualifications. In England, our qualifications are regulated by Ofqual. 

In order to offer the Professional Performing Arts Diplomas (PPADs), potential course providers such as The Musical Theatre Academy (The MTA) must first complete Trinity’s validation process successfully. PPAD validation is a 3-stage process: pre-validation, full validation and re-validation. At this point we are engaged with The MTA in the pre-validation process. Pre-validation includes a site visit and scrutiny of class work and organisational documentation. Additional assessment of performance work, sampled for evidence of standards, can be undertaken if required. In this case, we assessed one performance in-person and sampled online work. 

Pre-validation produces a list of recommendations to support an organisation’s journey towards full validation. The report may conclude that the validation process should be paused to allow recommendations to be addressed appropriately, as was the case here. Trinity is still working within the published timelines for this process, despite an unavoidable delay due to Trinity staff absence, and a final report in draft has been shared with The MTA. 

We wish to refute in the strongest terms possible any suggestions being made that the pre-validation report was falsified in any way or that initial findings were not included in the report provided to The MTA. 

Further, we wish to make clear that we will not tolerate any personal attacks being made against Trinity’s staff and assessors and any questioning of their integrity in their professional work. 

In response to a complaint received by the Principal of The MTAregarding their pre-validation, a review of their concerns is underway, carried out by an independent expert. We would ask for this review to be allowed to follow its course in the proper way.     

In addition to the Dance and Drama Award, to help with fees and living costs at one of 16 private dance and drama schools, there are various government funding streams for supporting students at colleges or training providers offering performing arts qualifications, including the Advanced Learner Loan for students aged 19 and above for a range of Level 3-6 qualifications.

Finally, we are very sorry to learn of the closure of The MTA but must clarify that the PPAD pre-validation process has not caused The MTA’s financial difficulties. 

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