One in 26 The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama students drop out within a year

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Five out of 155 students aged under 21 dropped out of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

One in 26 first-year students dropped out of courses at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama last year, figures show.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the latest statistics which show the proportion of students dropping out of degree courses fell to a record low last year across the UK.

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Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that around 155 students aged under 21 began a full-time first degree course at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2019-20 – and five quit before the second year.

That means the non-continuation rate for young entrants was 3.9% – up from 2.8% the year before.

The vast majority of students (94.2%) continued at the provider last year, while 1.9% transferred to another university.

The dropout rate across the UK fell to 5.3% – the lowest since comparable records began in 2014-15.

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The HESA said that while the increase in the proportion of students continuing with their courses after their first year cannot be directly linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is often a trend towards increased university enrolment in “periods of economic uncertainty”.

Minister for higher and further education Michelle Donelan said getting on at university is just as important in getting in, and providers must continue to focus on tackling drop-out rates.

She added: “This is real progress, impacting real lives – and I want to put on record my thanks to our universities for their hard work, especially through a challenging pandemic, in reaching this milestone.”

The data shows that the likelihood of a student not continuing their studies depends heavily on where they study.

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A third of students dropped out from London’s Arden University, while none did at the University College of Osteopathy, also in London.

The University of Cambridge had a dropout rate of 0.6%, while the University of Oxford saw 0.9% of students discontinue their courses.

The Office for Students said it was pleased that despite the challenging conditions of the pandemic, overall dropout rates have remained low.

A spokesperson added: “However, the gaps between different universities and courses remain significant.

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“It is vital that students, particularly those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds, have the support they need to complete their studies.”

The HESA figures show that the proportion of mature students dropping out last year also fell to a record low nationally – 11.9%.

Of the 50 mature students at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, five discontinued their studies before the second year.

Universities UK said: “Universities are committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring students from all backgrounds can succeed and progress.

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“This includes supporting students to achieve the best outcomes in not only getting into university, but flourishing while they are there. It is welcome to see this commitment being reflected in record continuation rates, including among the most disadvantaged students.”