United Kingdom / Greater London / Surrey / The BRIT School

The BRIT School Review

For students considering a career in the music or drama industry, this free to attend performing arts school in south London is seriously worth considering.
At a glance
School type
Comprehensive
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Status
Open
Opening year
1991
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr Stuart Worden
Community
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The BRIT School
School type
Comprehensive
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Status
Open
Opening year
1991
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr Stuart Worden
Community
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For students considering a career in the music or drama industry, this free to attend performing arts school in south London is seriously worth considering.

Like state boarding schools, The BRIT School is another one of the UK’s (not so hidden) gems. It’s a state-run school offering aspiring singers, actors and dancers a specialist and free education that prepares them for a career in the arts – and an education that is on a par with private stage and performing arts schools but without the cost.

Located in Croydon, south London, this is a secondary school and sixth form for boys and girls aged from 14 to 19 years, coming from all backgrounds, often from deprived areas. It has a cohort of around 1,400 students all coming with a very similar goal – to purse a career in the arts and to add their face to the school’s long Wall of Fame.

Founded in 1991, and partially funded by the BRIT Awards, The BRIT School has been the springboard for the likes of Adele, The Kooks and Amy Winehouse. It’s both highly regarded within the industry and free to attend, so unsurprisingly, competition for places is high.

While the school has produced some of the biggest names in the music industry, it is a vocational school with a wide choice of courses; students can study film making, TV production, fashion, lighting design, radio and sound engineering, as well as music.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Josh Berger CBE said: 

“The BRIT School takes young people from every background and turns them into our next generation of talent. I’ve seen first-hand the critical importance that The BRIT School plays in providing a free arts education and I am excited and proud to be able to help build on its legacy – the school is indispensable to the future of the creative industries in the UK and beyond.”

Principal Stuart Worden has been leading the school for the last 10 years. His career began as a theatre producer with credits including the National Theatre and Working Title Films.

The school was rated Good in its most recent Ofsted inspection in 2018. Inspectors praised the school for “embracing students’ individuality and providing a nurturing and highly ambitious environment for them to flourish creatively, socially and emotionally. As a result, many make outstanding progress, particularly in their chosen ‘strand’, and go on to highly successful careers in the performing arts, media, art and design, and technology industries.”

The school’s weakness is in academic areas, with inspectors saying that “the school needs to focus on ensuring that all students make “good progress from their starting points across all GCSE and A-level subjects”.

Curriculum

The BRIT School offers students the opportunity to study for UK qualifications (GCSEs, A Levels and BTECs) while studying a performing arts-related subject. Students can only join in Year 10 (aged 14) or Year 12 (aged 16), after they have completed their GCSEs.

Students who join at 14 years study a core curriculum typical of any English state school, which includes English, maths and science. This is studied alongside three GCSEs and a Strand or specialist arts subject (equivalent to one GCSE) which can be dance, interactive digital design, film and media production, musical theatre, theatre, and visual arts and design.

Students who join at 16 years, study for a UAL, Level 3, Extended Diploma in a Strand or specialist arts subject, and this is equivalent to three A Levels. Options include dance, interactive digital design, applied theatre, dance, music and music technology, production arts, musical theatre, theatre, and visual arts and design.

On both courses, students receive expert training (many teachers are industry professionals) and there are regular opportunities to take part in and produce performances, exhibitions and productions, with the support of specialist staff and professional facilities. The school also prioritises student social and mental well-being with onsite counsellors as well as timetabled yoga sessions.

Campus and facilities

The BRIT School is one of the UK’s leading performing and creative arts schools, and it has standout facilities that support the chance to learn and develop a wide range of practical skills. These include two fully equipped theatre, three fully equipped dance studios, recording studios, TV studio and radio suite, Costume design and construction rooms, make up and props workshop, print workshop and photography dark room, and a scenic construction workshop and paint frame.

Admission and fees

There are no tuition fees to pay. The school is hugely oversubscribed, so it’s tough to get a place. 

Firstly, you need to live locally, The school accepts students from most of Greater London and some parts of Kent and Surrey, and only a small number from outside this area “if they show unusual merit.”.

Secondly, you can only apply for one Strand or specialist arts subject, and there are individual application forms for each each one. To be considered, you will need to show a commitment and passion to the arts as well as talent and experience.

The closing date is either in November or January depending on the course you are applying for.

Our view

Good for: This is a specialist school which is hugely popular with talented, hard-working, committed and aspirational teenagers who are motivated to pursue a career in the performing arts industry. It’s a vocational school, so you should arrive here with a very clear idea about having a career in the arts, entertainment & communications industries. It’s a  school that is more focused on developing the creative ability and talent of its students than a typical state secondary or independent senior school – and can offer its students the very best access to facilities and industry expertise. To be fortunate enough to get a place, you will need to have experience in music, dance or another arts sector and be 

Not for: While students at The BRIT School study the national curriculum alongside the performing arts, this is not a school for academics who want to focus purely on GCSEs and A Levels. The school does offer a strong general education, and students go on to specialist colleges and universities, as well as straight into employment. However, the school has a greater focus on vocational training for the performing arts, media, art and design.

 

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