Complaints about ALRA

ALRA (the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) has announced that it is no longer able to continue to teach students. It closed on 4 April 2022.

We understand this is a very distressing situation for students and ALRA staff.

If you have been studying at ALRA in 2021/22 you may have questions about what happens next and about whether you can complain to us.


Why has ALRA closed?

ALRA has closed because it is no longer financially viable (it has run out of money). Although we understand ALRA explored a number of different options, unfortunately it was not able to find a way to stay open.

I am in the middle of my studies at ALRA. What should I do now?

ALRA and the Office for Students (OfS) have been talking to other organisations to implement a plan for all students.

We understand that all ALRA students will be offered a place to complete their studies at another higher education provider.  You will have different options open to you depending on which course you are studying and how much of your studies you have already completed.

Almost all of the courses offered by ALRA lead to an award of St Mary’s University, Twickenham. St Mary’s University, Twickenham is providing information and support to ALRA students about what you can do next and you should contact the University for more information. 

It is important that you seek advice about what will be best for you individually to do, as different students will have different circumstances (e.g. if you are an international student with a visa, if you already receive DaDA funding).

It is likely that more information about your options will become available over the next few days. You should contact St Mary’s University to get the most up to date information. 

It is also important to seek advice quickly. You may be able to keep studying in this academic year if you feel able to make a decision within a short time.

I am studying the MFA Linklater course. What should I do?

If you are studying on the MFA Linklater Teaching Practice course, the award you are studying for is validated by Arts University Bournemouth. You can contact them to find out more information about your options:

Can I complain to the OIA?

Yes. ALRA is a member of our Scheme and so ALRA students can complain to us. But because ALRA has closed, we may not be able to fully review your complaint, and if we were to uphold your complaint it is likely that ways to put things right would be very limited.

Before you fill in our Complaint Form, it may be helpful to talk to us first. You can call us on 0118 989 9813.  Or you can email

Tell us briefly what you are unhappy about and what outcome you are hoping for. You can ask us to call you back, or we can reply by email if you prefer.

If you already have a Completion of Procedures Letter from a complaint you made to ALRA before it closed, and you want to bring your complaint to us, you should fill in our Complaint Form as soon as possible.

Can the OIA stop ALRA from closing?

No. Unfortunately ALRA’s decision to close on 4 April 2022 is final. Even if we receive complaints from a lot of ALRA students, we are not able to stop this happening, or re-open ALRA after 4 April 2022.

Will I get my tuition fees back because ALRA is closing?

No. The fact that ALRA has closed does not mean that you will get a refund of tuition fees for any tuition delivered before the closure. This is because up until the closure, ALRA had been delivering teaching and assessment as usual. 

Will I get financial compensation because ALRA is closing?

We understand that ALRA closing will be very distressing for students. Your options might mean that you need to consider relocating or moving to a course which doesn’t quite match what you hoped to receive at ALRA. You may decide that you are not able to continue your studies immediately.

ALRA is closing because it does not have enough money to keep going. Unfortunately, this means there is no money to pay compensation to students for the distress and inconvenience the closure will cause. 

Do I still have to pay my tuition fees for this year?

If you owe fees for tuition that was delivered before ALRA closed, you are still liable for this debt. It is possible that you will be asked to pay this money, even though ALRA is closing.

I am worried about money. Will I get my next student loan and/or DaDA payment?

Your financial arrangements will depend on what your current situation is and what you decide to do next. You should contact St Mary’s University for advice about this (details above) 

You can find details about how to contact the Student Loans Company here: Guidance on contacting the Student Loans Company. 

If you are very worried about your financial situation, then you could speak to:

I am an international student. Is my visa still valid?

You should contact St Mary’s University, Twickenham for advice as soon as possible. Now that ALRA has closed, it can’t continue to sponsor international students. You will not have to leave the UK immediately, but you will need to change your visa promptly to be able to stay.

You can find information about some other sources of support for students on our website.

Statement on ALRA

It has been announced that ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) has closed.

Sources of support

A helpful list of telephone numbers and websites for helplines and support services.