This new performing arts school will open in London in 2025, offering a very arts-based education to 11 to 18 year-olds.
It is the latest school to be opened by the Alpha Plus Group, which owns 20 independent schools, nurseries and sixth form colleges in the UK (and one in New York) and is one of the largest providers of private education in London.Alpha Plus, which has an arts-based curriculum in many of its prep and senior schools, will partner with The BRIT School, the UK’s first free performing and creative arts school for 1,400 young people aged 14 to 19 years.
Mark Hanley-Browne, CEO at Alpha Plus Group, said:
“In our own schools we have seen, at first hand, how music, art, design, drama and dance enhance educational excellence and help children to grow and develop through self-expression. Alpha Plus prides itself on providing excellence in learning across all key subjects, and providing the Gold Standard in education, and we are fully committed to bringing these unique, life changing opportunities to the children of Hammersmith and Fulham, with our partners The BRIT School.”
Stuart Worden, Principal of The BRIT School said:
“Having developed a very successful performing and creative arts school in South London that is now known around the world, we are excited about collaborating with a world-class school in West London.
“We will create opportunities for local young people to train in performing and creative classes and we will be working with Alpha Plus Group on developing community classes, arts festivals and local projects that we hope will have a long-lasting impact.”
Wetherby Arts school will offer a broad and traditional UK curriculum covering the core subjects of English, maths, science, technology, languages and the humanities, as well as qualifications including GCSEs and A Levels. One of Wetherby’s strengths and distinguishing features will be its special focus on art, photography, design, film, media, drama, dance, music and musical theatre.
It’s most certainly a school for students with an interest in the creative arts, and their pathway to an arts-based degree or career will be supported by the school’s wide choice of arts-based GCSEs and A Levels, as well as vocational arts qualifications.
While the school promises plenty of academic rigour, it will offer an extended timetable that devotes more time to the arts than a typical independent school. This dual focus will be made possible by an extended day (lessons run from 8.30am-4.30pm) and a lesser focus on sport; weekly games afternoon will be replaced by arts afternoons, for example.
Far from being an academic hothouse, this will be a school with a very practical and vocational approach to learning. Students will spend at least 25% of their day studying practical subjects; they’ll wear dance uniform, leggings and polo shirts rather than a more formal uniform; and at least 25% of the school day will be allocated to the arts.
The curriculum will also include The BRIT school’s Community Arts Practice qualification, which focuses on training in theatre, movement, singing and acting. Students will have dedicated entrepreneurship lessons and opportunities to produce and promote live performances, exhibitions, TV programmes, podcasts and other media.
Students will have the option to study some parts of the curriculum remotely.
Wetherby Arts School is currently under development in the prestigious Olympia development, a £1.3 billion regeneration of the west London cultural and entertainment district. It will be based at Beaconsfield Terrace and Emberton House.
Facilities will include a 200-seat theatre, drama studios, dance studios, music technology suite, digital design studio, recording studio/podcast suite, TV studio, and specialist music, art and technology classrooms. There will also be a robotics lab, several science labs, and a gym.
The school will open admissions in June 2023 for Years 7, 9, 10 and 12, and there are 60 places in each year group. Students will be offered a place based on an entrance exam and audition.
Fees have not yet been announced.
The school will offer 12 bursaries and 22 scholarships to students, regardless of their means; half of these will be for students living in Hammersmith and Fulham. The deadline for bursary applications is December 2023.
Good for: This will be a specialist, vocational school most suited to students with a very clear idea about having a career in the arts, entertainment & communications industries. It will certainly appeal to this students looking for a school that can offer more than a typical state secondary or independent senior school for access to arts training, facilities and industry expertise.
Not for: While students will 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. Unlike The BRIT School, there are tuition fees to pay so students need to assess if it is affordable, and the audition will certainly require a certain level of talent in the arts.
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