Some of Britain's most promising dance and drama students are unable to join the top schools of their choice because a national scheme designed to support them is underfunded, says a report published this week.
Many schools are excluded from the Dance and Drama Awards Scheme, introduced last year to provide mandatory support for trainee actors and dancers.
The scheme has provided support for more than 800 students and has been welcomed by the National Council for Drama Training, which commissioned the report. But cash limitations have created a two-tier system that excludes many students.
The report, written by arts consultant Graham Marchant, says the decisions on which schools are included in the scheme "do not stand up to independent scrutiny". Such decisions are over-determined by history rather than based on current assessments of quality by bodies such as the NCDT, says the report.
Problems have also arisen because many of the most respected schools have been placed in the further education sector, which means that their students do not qualify for student loans.