Author Archive

Covering Note to Public Statement by the Chair of the Trustees

Posted on: July 12th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

Covering Note to Public Statement by the Chair of the Trustees

 

A number of allegations were raised last year about bullying and favouritism at ArtsEd.  Given the nature of the allegations and the number of complaints, as well as the public attention, the Board decided that an independent investigation was necessary. In order to ensure a fair, thorough and impartial investigation, the Board appointed an experienced barrister: Ms Ghazaleh Rezaie of 12 Kings Bench Walk Chambers.

The purpose of the investigation was to enable the Board to understand the basis of the allegations and the nature and extent of any alleged misconduct at ArtsEd.  The Terms of Reference for Ms Rezaie’s investigation were published on the ArtsEd website.  Ms Rezaie completed her report and sent it to the Board on the evening of 28th June 2024.

The Board of Trustees would like to thank all of the participants who came forward to give evidence to Ms Rezaie. We acknowledge that this has been a challenging, and at times an emotional, process for those involved. As can be seen in the Public Statement, the Principal was not able to participate fully in the investigation for health reasons. The Board extended the investigation on two occasions but then asked Ms Rezaie to produce a report by 28 June 2024 on the basis of her conclusions to that date.

 As anticipated in the Terms of Reference, the full report contains confidential information about individuals who were interviewed. Therefore, the full report will not be published.  However, the Terms of Reference requested that Ms Rezaie draft a Public Statement – being a summary of the conclusions from her Report capable of being published without contravening data protection law.  That Public Statement has now been published on the ArtsEd website.

One of Ms Rezaie’s main findings was that the professional relationship between the Principal and current employees has been damaged beyond repair.  The Principal has considered this finding and decided to step down from her role as Principal and as a Trustee in the interests of her health.

The Board is still considering Ms Rezaie’s final full report. The Public Statement makes it clear that not all allegations have been substantiated but a number of allegations were, in Ms Rezaie’s opinion, suitable for referral to a disciplinary process for further examination.    We take these allegations very seriously. The Board is assessing the lessons which must be learned and changes which must be made. The latter will be carried out in consultation with the senior leadership at ArtsEd, which will include input into the next steps towards the recruitment of a new Principal.

At ArtsEd we are committed to a culture of inclusivity and transparency. The Board of Trustees will ensure that robust procedures and processes that create a safe environment for all of ArtsEd’s students and staff are embedded throughout the whole institution.

 

Farida Mannan

Acting Chair of the ArtsEd Board of Trustees

 

ArtsEd Independent Investigation – Public Statement: https://artsed.co.uk/news/artsed-independent-investigation-public-statement

ArtsEd Independent Investigation – Public Statement

Posted on: July 12th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

ArtsEd Independent Investigation – Public Statement

Ghazaleh Rezaie

Profile: Ghazaleh Rezaie | 12 King’s Bench Walk (12kbw.co.uk)

Introduction

 

1. ArtsEd is a charity overseen by a Board of Trustees. ArtsEd comprises a Day School and Sixth Form for 11–18 yearolds and a Higher Education arm which is split into the School of Musical Theatre and the School of Acting.

2. Following the publication of articles in Deadline in November 2023 making allegations of bullying and favouritism within ArtsEd, I was instructed by ArtsEd to carry out an independent investigation into the allegations.  

3. The purpose of the investigation, as set out in my Terms of Reference, was to enable the Board of Trustees to understand the basis of the allegations and the nature and extent of any alleged misconduct by the Principal and/or others during their employment at ArtsEd.  The reference to “or others” is important: my task was expressly not confined to investigating only allegations against the Principal.

4. Prior to my instruction to conduct this investigation, I had never had any dealings with anyone associated with ArtsEd including employees or Trustees. I had never received instructions to act for or against ArtsEd as a Barrister. I am, therefore, entirely independent of the Board of Trustees and of ArtsEd.

5. Throughout the course of my investigation, I received the full cooperation of the Board of Trustees through the Working Group (the composition of which changed as became appropriate) established under my Terms of Reference to act as a conduit between me and the Board.  I take this opportunity to thank the various members of the Working Group for their work.

6. My Report was prepared by me with no interference from anyone at ArtsEd. The findings I made and conclusions I reached are mine and mine alone.

7. As anticipated in my Terms of Reference, my Report contains confidential information about those raising issues and/or making allegations and those responding.  Given data privacy considerations and general confidentiality requirements, the full Report is for the Board of Trustees only and will not be published.  

8. However, given that the investigation was a response to criticisms made in the public domain, my Terms of Reference required a summary of my conclusions from the investigation capable of being published as a public statement.  This document is that public statement.

Overview of the investigation

 

9. I was formally instructed by ArtsEd on 11 December 2023.  My work began after Terms of Reference had been finalised and published on the ArtsEd website on 10 January 2024.

10. A designated investigation email address was established and those with information were encouraged to come forward before 22 January 2024. I received emails making allegations against the Principal as well as emails in support of her. Following that date, I formulated and particularised the allegations I would investigate and identified those whom I considered necessary to interview.

11. The first interview with a witness who had provided information via email took place on 31 January 2024. Interviews continued throughout the course of February, March and April.  In total I interviewed 30 witnesses, some more than once.

12. In some instances, despite insistence from the individual that they had information relevant to the investigation, their evidence during the interview revealed nothing of relevance to the investigation and was ultimately used as an opportunity to ventilate grievances against ArtsEd.

13. By April 2024 I was ready to interview the Principal to obtain her response to allegations made about her.  As is public knowledge, the Principal has been on sick leave since before my investigation began.  She remains on sick leave.  I understand that the sick leave has been supported by appropriate medical certificates.  I have not seen nor considered it appropriate for me to see those medical certificates.  

14. I am not a medical practitioner and unable to make any assessment of the state of the Principal’s health.  I have worked on the basis that the health issues and their effect on the Principal are genuine and as described to me by or on behalf of the Principal.  That said, I did not form the impression that the Principal’s state of health prevented her from participating in the investigation. The Principal participated in the investigation process in a meaningful way at the times that she was able to participate.  She articulated herself well, was able to recount events with clarity and specificity and was able to seek out evidence in support of her written and oral representations. That is not to say that she was unaffected by the matters she recalled.

15. I was able to interview the Principal on a number of occasions.  On one occasion it was clear to me that she was not in a fit state to participate in the interview. She appeared visibly unwell and unable even to speak without causing concern.  Overall, progress was slow and it is important to note that a significant number of the allegations were not directly responded to by the Principal in the time available.  Given the Principal’s health, even with the extensions, it was not possible to obtain the Principal’s full response to all of the allegations ahead of my final deadline of 28 June 2024.  

16. I am grateful to the Trustees for their agreement to extend the deadline for completion of this Report on two occasions given the difficulties set out above.  I believe that was a fair and appropriate response notwithstanding the external pressure to complete the investigation.  Although the extensions did not allow me to complete the investigation, they did at least provide sufficient time for me to hear from the Principal (albeit in a limited way) and to make the recommendations I have now been able to make and were worthwhile in that respect.  

17. My Report and the evidence I had considered was delivered to the Trustees on 28 June 2024.  

Summary of findings

 

18. Based on my interactions with the Principal and the wider staff, notwithstanding those who gave evidence in support of the Principal’s leadership, it is clear to me that the professional relationship between the Principal and current employees has been damaged beyond repair. This is notwithstanding the mentoring and coaching which the Principal has received from the Board and externally.  ArtsEd needs to consider whether, in those circumstances, there are sufficient grounds to maintain a sustainable working relationship between the Principal and a significant number of employees.  

19. My Terms of Reference required me to determine:

(a) whether there is enough evidence to support, on the balance of probabilities, any allegation(s) made; and

(b) if any allegations are supported by evidence against, in particular, any ArtsEd employee:

(i) whether I would then recommend that a disciplinary process be conducted; and

(ii) whether that means that areas of ArtsEd’s operational or reporting practices need to be improved.

20. Before saying anything further I make two important caveats:

(a) first, any recommendation that a disciplinary process be conducted or disciplinary action taken should not be taken as a recommendation that any disciplinary sanction be given.  Fairness demands that any disciplinary panel must be allowed to examine any evidence gathered, make its own enquiries and then make its own independent decision on whether or not to impose a disciplinary sanction.  That is all the more important in a situation where the allegations have been played out publicly, often with competing agendas and without the benefit of a further detailed examination of allegation and response, with time for reflection and consideration; and

(b) secondly, as described above, I was not able to obtain the Principal’s response to all of the allegations within the time available due to the Principal’s health.  I have had to reach a number of conclusions therefore without the benefit of having had any or any direct response from the Principal.

21. Having given those important caveats, I have recommended to the Board that a disciplinary process be conducted in respect of the Principal concerning two areas:

(a) I concluded that the Principal did call students “snakes” as later revealed in an audio recording which had been made public; and by denying this the Principal allowed ArtsEd, in turn, to make a public statement forcefully denying the allegation, bringing ArtsEd into disrepute and damaging trust and confidence; and

(b) not all allegations against the Principal have been substantiated.  I found around half the allegations to be “not well-founded”.  I did, however, find the other half gave rise to the need to further exploration through a disciplinary process.  Whilst it is unlikely that any single example of these allegations would justify disciplinary action in isolation, I found that the cumulative effect created an unhealthy environment and I recommended that should be examined further in a disciplinary process.

22. Although my Terms of Reference referred to “bullying and favouritism,” in fact, I found no evidence of favouritism that I could confidently recommend be treated as a standalone allegation to be the subject of a disciplinary process and invited ArtsEd to treat such allegation with caution.

23. I do not believe that I can or should say anything publicly about the individual allegations.  The investigation was confidential and there are obvious privacy considerations regarding the information gathered and conclusions reached.  Going further would potentially damage trust and militate against staff and others coming forward in the future with concerns, which would be entirely the opposite response to this investigation from the one the Board desires.

Recommendations

 

24. My recommendation regarding a disciplinary process is dealt with above.

25. Most of the allegations made during my investigation relate to the way in which the Principal has personally interacted with her colleagues or the students. This makes it difficult or unwise to make recommendations where they might lack any general applicability. There may, however, be ways in which ArtsEd’s internal processes could be strengthened to prevent any similar problems from arising in the future and/or if they do arise, to be raised sooner and more transparently to the Trustees without blurring the distinction between oversight and operational matters.

26. The Terms of Reference asked for my opinion on the question of the Principal holding the role of Trustee. I am unable to offer an opinion especially not from a regulatory perspective as that falls outside of my expertise. I would add, however, from a staff confidence perspective, the general consensus was that from their perspective it gave the appearance of a conflict of interest with a general feeling that there was no recourse to the Board of Trustees when a complaint was about the Principal who was a Trustee.  The Trustees may therefore wish to take this back to the solicitors who made the original recommendation that the ArtsEd Principal should also be a Trustee, no doubt for good reasons, as part of their independent governance review.

 


Covering Note to Public Statement by the Chair of Trustees: https://artsed.co.uk/news/covering-note-to-public-statement-by-the-chair-of-the-trustees

Update June 2024: ArtsEd Investigation Terms of Reference

Posted on: July 12th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

Covering Note to Public Statement by the Chair of Trustees: https://artsed.co.uk/news/covering-note-to-public-statement-by-the-chair-of-the-trustees

ArtsEd Independent Investigation – Public Statement: https://artsed.co.uk/news/artsed-independent-investigation-public-statement

 


28.06.2024

ArtsEd have been informed by Ms Rezaie that there has been a slight delay and we apologise that we are not in a position to publish the public statement today as previously intended.

We will endeavour to publish a further update next week. All previous updates are below, and we are committed to full transparency with this process. We will share a public statement once the report has been received.

.


01.05.24

We shared an update yesterday that the external review has been extended to June 28, 2024.

This independent review, completed by Ms. Rezaie, requires additional time to ensure that all processes are thoroughly fair and duly followed.

For reference, our previous update can be found in the Terms of Reference, published on January 10, 2024, which anticipated an earlier conclusion by March 29, 2024, later adjusted to late April. All previous updates have been published below.

We appreciate your understanding as we look to uphold the highest standards of accountability and transparency.


30.04.24

ArtsEd was due to publish an update today on the progress of the investigation. I would like to inform you that the date for the publication of the Public Statement, with a summary of the conclusions for the Rezaie investigation, has been extended to 28th June 2024.

Farida Mannan
Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees

 


26.03.2024

We previously shared in the Terms of Reference, published on January 10, 2024, that the Board of Trustees anticipated that it would release recommendations and a public statement by March 29, 2024.  Ms. Rezaie has updated the Board and advised that the publication date will be towards the end of April 2024.  Your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated.

 


 

10.01.2024

The Board of Trustees recently announced the appointment of Ghazaleh Rezaie, a barrister from 12 Kings Bench Walk Chambers, to independently investigate allegations of misconduct.  We believe that all stakeholders should be able to access the Terms of Reference for the investigation and that is why it is being published in full below.

A deadline of 22 January 2024 has been set for people to be able to contact the investigation enquiries@independent-investigation.com.  We are committed to establishing a clear account of the events and identify lessons to be learned based on the findings.  We would encourage anybody, including all staff, students, parents and alumni to use this email address to contact Ms Rezaie.

Terms of Reference

ArtsEd at Green Days Festival: Celebrating Community and Student Talent

Posted on: June 12th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

On Sunday 9th June, ArtsEd proudly participated in the Green Days event, a highlight of the Bedford Park Festival, known for its vibrant community spirit and array of activities. Green Days was a weekend-long event filled with family-friendly fun, local crafts, food stalls, and live entertainment, all set in the picturesque Acton Green Common. The festival is a cherished tradition that brought together residents and visitors to celebrate the unique charm of Chiswick.

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ArtsEd Performances

On June 8th, from 12:15 to 12:45, students from ArtsEd’s Day School and Sixth Form took the stage to showcase their talents. The performance included a variety of acts such as solos, group numbers, instrumental pieces, and even an original song by one of our talented students. The repertoire spanned multiple genres, ensuring a delightful experience for all attendees.

Performances:

“This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to perform and engage with the community, which is central to our values. We were thrilled to be a part of Green Days and always look forward to sharing our students’ hard work and creativity with a festival audience.”
Peter Middleton, Headteacher

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Marquee and Stand Activities

ArtsEd also had a marquee and stand on Sunday, where festival-goers could learn more about our school, courses and upcoming shows and events. Additionally, we hosted a “Guess the Show” competition, where participants guessed which shows two displayed costumes were from for a chance to win exciting prizes, including a pair of tickets to see our alumni in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, a pair of tickets to see one of our upcoming 2024 autumn productions and a deluxe goodie bag with ArtsEd merchandise and prosecco. Entry to the competition cost £5, with all proceeds supporting our bursary programmes.

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About Green Days

Green Days, part of the larger Bedford Park Festival, is a community event that features an eclectic mix of activities and attractions. Attendees enjoyed live music, funfair rides, craft stalls, a book stall, a plant stall, and various games. Food and drink options abounded, with plenty of choices to satisfy every palate. The festival also included a Dog Show, a Fancy Dress Parade for children, and the popular 5-a-side football tournament.

The event not only provided entertainment but also supported local charities and community projects, aligning perfectly with ArtsEd’s mission to foster community engagement and support.

For more information on Bedford Park Festival and the full schedule of events, visit Bedford Park Festival.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Green Days to support our students, enjoy the festivities, and engage with the vibrant Chiswick community!

ArtsEd Students Shine in Prestigious Awards

Posted on: June 7th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

At ArtsEd, we pride ourselves on nurturing the next generation of performing artists, and it is with great pleasure that we celebrate the remarkable achievements of three of our students who have recently been nominated for or have won prestigious awards. These recognitions not only highlight their individual talents and hard work but also underscore the high standard of education and training provided at ArtsEd. Our students’ successes are a testament to their dedication and the support they receive from our dedicated faculty.

Annelise Heywood – Lillian Baylis Award 2024

Annelise Heywood, a second-year student from the School of Acting class of 2025, has won the Lillian Baylis Award, which honours promising acting students. This award, named after the renowned theatre manager and director, is given to students who show exceptional promise in acting. Annelise received this accolade last week from David Harewood MBE, awarding her a grant towards her course fees.

“Annelise Heywood is a very imaginative and creative student whose work ethic is exemplary. We are very proud to have nominated her for the prestigious Lilian Baylis award which she received last week from David Harewood MBE”
Kim Vithana, Director of the School of Acting

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Annelise Heywood at The Lillian Baylis Awards

Harrison Langham – Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Awarad 2024

Harrison Langham, a graduating student from the School of Musical Theatre class of 2024, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the esteemed Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award 2024. This award celebrates the UK’s top musical theatre students and is hosted by ArtsEd alumna Bonnie Langford. The award aims to support emerging talent in musical theatre, providing a platform for students to showcase their skills and gain recognition in the industry.

“We are all thrilled that Harrison has been shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award 2024. From all of us at ArtsEd, we wish him all the very best for the final”
Jonathan O’Boyle, Director of the School of Musical Theatre

The SSSSPOTY final takes place this Sunday 9th June, 3pm at The Sondheim Theatre.

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Harrison Langham as Robert Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone

Senam Akpokavi – Spotlight Prize 2024

Senam Akpokavi, a graduating student from the School of Acting class of 2024, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Spotlight Prize. The Spotlight Prize, established in the 1950s, offers drama school graduates the chance to establish their careers in front of industry professionals. This year, over 70 drama schools and universities were invited to nominate a student, with 22 finalists selected by a panel of industry experts based on the quality of their auditions.

“Senam Akpokavi is one of ArtsEd’s most talented and creative actors. He has excelled in his training, and it gives us great pleasure seeing him represent the school for the Spotlight Prize this year”
Kim Vithana, Director of the School of Acting

The finalists’ performances will be evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges, who will then announce the winners of the Best Actor (Screen) Award and the Best Actor (Stage) Award on July 17, 2024 at The Spotlight Prize Awards.

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Senam Akpokavi as Mr Voysey in The Voysey Inheritance

At ArtsEd, we are dedicated to fostering an environment where talent can flourish, and the accomplishments of Annelise, Harrison, and Senam, are shining examples of what our students can achieve. These accolades not only bring honour to the recipients but also to our school, highlighting the quality and dedication of our faculty and the exceptional opportunities available to our students. We look forward to seeing our students continue to grow and succeed in their artistic careers, and we remain committed to supporting them every step of the way.

Congratulations to all, and may this be just the beginning of many more successes to come.

ArtsEd Librarian Elected as Mayor of Hounslow

Posted on: May 29th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

ArtsEd is thrilled to announce that Karen Smith, our Learning Resources Assistant, has been elected Mayor of Hounslow. In recognition of her new role serving Chiswick and the wider Borough of Hounslow, ArtsEd is proud to support Karen by granting a work sabbatical to fully embrace her mayoral duties. 

Karen has been an integral part of our team, passionately supporting our educational mission and fostering a love for the arts including her monthly showcase of books from authors from minority backgrounds. 

Her election as mayor stands as a testament to her commitment to inclusion and the community. The role of the mayor is to represent the council in the local area as the borough’s “first citizen”. 

“Karen’s dedication to ArtsEd and the wider community has always been evident. Her new role as Mayor is a well-deserved opportunity, and we know she will bring the same level of passion and excellence to serving the Borough of Hounslow.”
John Antrobus – Head of Learning Resources

As Karen takes on her mayoral duties, ArtsEd remains dedicated to its role in the community, continuously striving to enrich lives through arts education. We look forward to Karen’s insights and developments during her tenure and wish her the utmost success. 

Our library is a wonderful space in our building. We are extremely proud of Karen and excited to see her apply her skills in this new capacity. We are confident that her contributions will have a lasting impact on our community.
Alex Gillespie – Director of Finance 

Please join us in congratulating Karen and offering her our best wishes for an inspiring term as Mayor of Hounslow. 

Find out more about the Mayors role here: Mayor of Hounslow | London Borough of Hounslow 

 

Sixth Form Career’s Day, Schools and Conservatoires Expo

Posted on: May 20th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

Today, ArtsEd hosted it’s highly anticipated Year 12 Career’s Day, an event designed to provide students with invaluable insights into the performing arts industry and higher education opportunities. Seventy-five enthusiastic students attended, eager to explore their future paths and gain knowledge from seasoned professionals.

The day commenced with all nine prestigious Performing Arts Conservatoires setting up stands in a studio where students could freely meet and talk to the conservatoires’ representatives. This interactive session allowed students to gather detailed information about the various higher education programmes available at institutions such as Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Guildhall School of Speech and Drama, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Urdang, Laine Theatre Arts, Mountview, LIPA, Royal Conservatoire Scotland, and ArtsEd.

Following this informative session, representatives from each conservatoire participated in a panel discussion. During the panel, they shared deeper insights into their programmes, answered questions, and offered advice to help students navigate their future educational and career paths.

After the panel discussion, students participated in a series of dynamic workshops led by industry professionals. Dan Hall, a documentary filmmaker, conducted a Producing for Film workshop, providing insights into the intricacies of film production. Dan Clarkson, writer and actor, led a Comic Devising workshop, where students learned the art of creating comedic content. Annie Tyson, acting tutor, offered a Shakespeare workshop, immersing students in the timeless works of the Bard. Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, a movement director, choreographer, and performer, conducted an MT Movement workshop, showcasing the vital role of movement in musical theatre.

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Dan Clarkson Workshop - Comic Devising


The day concluded with an agent panel Q&A session featuring two prominent talent agents. This provided students with the opportunity to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of the industry from the perspective of talent representation.

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Agent Panel with Jay Boyd-Rochford (JBR Creative Management) & Michael Harris (Apollo Artist Management)

“It was with great pleasure that the Sixth Form were able to host Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Guildhall School of Speech and Drama, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Urdang, Laine Theatre Arts, Mountview, LIPA, Royal Conservatoire Scotland and [last but certainly not least] ArtsEd, for the second annual Sixth Form Careers Day Schools and Conservatoires Expo.

This is a rare opportunity for all Yr12 ArtsEd Sixth Form students to meet one-to-one with representatives from all of these outstanding institutions as they begin to consider vocational options post Sixth Form. This was followed by masterclasses with current industry practitioners and a panel discussion with leading talent agents.”
– Tim Hunter-Reid, BTEC Acting Teacher and BTEC Vocation Guidance Coordinator

The Sixth Form Career’s Day at ArtsEd was a resounding success, leaving students inspired and better equipped to make informed decisions about their futures in the performing arts. This event not only highlighted the wealth of opportunities available to aspiring artists but also reinforced ArtsEd’s commitment to providing top-tier vocational guidance and education.

 


Registration for Sixth Form Open Evening is now available!

Find out firsthand what makes ArtsEd outstanding, watch live performances, tour our school and get your questions answered in our Chiswick home.

Find out more:

Register for Open Evening

 

ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form awarded highest accolade by the Independent Schools Inspectorate

Posted on: May 7th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

At the end of March 2024, ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form were inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) as part of their routine cycle of school inspections.

This latest inspection took place under the new framework that was introduced in September 2023.  There is no overall judgment of the school – ISI have removed single word judgments.  However, they are permitted to identify key areas of Significant Strength in a school.  It is a label applied only where a school does something truly exceptional and with impact across the whole student body; the bar is set incredibly high. Accordingly, I am thrilled that our inspection team identified the following area of Significant Strength at ArtsEd:

standards that students achieve in performing arts, in line with the school’s expressed aims, are a significant strength of the school.
​​ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 4)

The inspection, and report, place student experience and outcome, along with school culture, at its heart; consequently, it provides a much better assessment on whether schools do what they say they do.  During the inspection, ISI inspectors look at whether the standards (The Independent School Standard Regulations) have been met in the following five areas, and the report provides commentary to support its findings:

It was evident that the Inspectors left having really understood the essence of an ArtsEd education, our values, and crucially our students.  Not only was ArtsEd found to have met these standards in all areas, but the inspection team also identified a key area of outstanding excellence in our school – the strength of our performing arts provision.

 

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The inspectors also recognised key attributes of our students and staff, and the centrality of the ArtsEd Curriculum, our ethos and values, and the pastoral care. These can be seen throughout the report, and some examples are reflected below:

Leaders plan a curriculum through which pupils study a wide range of academic and vocational subjects. Pupils develop linguistic, mathematical, scientific and technological skills.  Leaders strategically plan ahead and adapt their curriculum in the light of the changing demands of the world of performing arts.

Pupils are articulate, attentive, listen with respect and enjoy opportunities to work together

Pupils have a sense of responsibility; they apply effort to their work and are self-motivated and ambitious
ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 17)

The leaders of the school have developed a culture of mutual respect and tolerance which is seen in the interactions between pupils and pupils and staff around the school.  Inclusion and diversity are prioritised by leaders with the recent appointment of staff and pupil equality, diversity and inclusion leads.
ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 38)

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The curriculum, school policies and school activities encourage and support an ethos of mutual respect where pupils appreciate the individuality of others and feel they can be their natural selves.  Pupils are kind and tolerant, and there is a clear focus on matters of equality and inclusion.
​​ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 27)

From their arrival at the school, pupils learn to accept responsibility for the standard of their performances and their behaviour. They develop skills of teamwork and leadership through the many opportunities to perform throughout the year.
​​ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 42)

The Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mrs Farida Mannan, is delighted with this outcome:

The Report is a testament to the dedication of the Day School and Sixth Form staff to our pupils, and also to the genuine affinity the pupils have for this exceptional school.The trustees are immensely proud of this achievement on obtaining such a positive report and we will continue to work with the leadership at ArtsEd to maintain high standards across all areas of ArtsEd’s offer. I would like to thank the Senior Leadership Team for leading this successful inspection and all of the staff for their attention to detail, support and continuous hard work.

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The inspection process is, quite rightly, rigorous and detailed and relies on extensive interviews with pupils and staff, lesson observations, work scrutiny and questionnaires.  The judgment of the school is built from the bottom up,  from the experience of our students and our parents.  

Leaders and managers have the knowledge, skills and experience to help pupils thrive and flourish.  They are highly attuned to the specific demands of a creative performing arts environment, where pupils need a challenging and broad education as well as a high standard of vocational training.
​​ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 10)

Further detail from the report describes the teaching of the performing and creative arts, our Significant Strength, as being:

inspiring and informed by current professional practice.Teachers have high expectations of pupils, who receive challenging tasks and are given a busy schedule of performance opportunities.  Pupils respond with focus and energy, producing work of a notably high standard both in the classroom and on the stage.
ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 22)

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The teaching of performing arts is dynamic and responsive to the needs of the pupils. It is delivered by professionals who have expert knowledge so that pupils make rapid progress and achieve results well above the national averages in these areas.
​​ISI INSPECTION REPORT 2024  (paragraph 4)

The Headteacher, Peter Middleton, reflects:

We are one of very few schools to have been described as exhibiting a Significant Strength as it is the highest accolade under the new inspection structure.This is a hugely exciting validation of all that we do here at ArtsEd. We know this to be a major feature of the education we offer alongside a rigorous academic education, where continual review of teaching and learning strategies is also part of our culture.  

We are incredibly proud of this feedback and it clearly reflects our school and who we are.  I am extremely grateful to the whole team here at ArtsEd for their hard work and support, and to all of our families for making our school and community a very special place for children to grow and succeed.

This Inspection follows the extremely positive affirmations for ArtsEd’s Higher Education provision, which was recently recognised as being Outstanding by Ofsted (Higher Education RADA funding) and was awarded TEF Gold in late 2023. Such accolades demonstrate ArtsEd’s commitment to delivering the highest calibre of teaching and learning within performing arts education.

 

The full ISI report can be found at this link: 

ISI Inspection Report 2024

 

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MA Showcase 2024

Posted on: May 3rd, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

Covent Garden’s Arts Theatre was abuzz yesterday as the School of Acting MA students took the stage, delivering an impressive series of performances for an audience of industry professionals, comprising of agents and casting directors/assistants.

“The MA is a specialised vocational course which is going from strength to strength, under George Richmond-Scott’s leadership. This success is perfectly illustrated in the creative and talented actors of Showcase”
Kim Vithana, Director of the School of Acting
MA full cast

“Being able to perform on a West End stage to industry professionals was an extraordinary experience. Working on the showcase for the past few weeks under the guidance of George has been an absolute joy, and I can’t wait to perform at the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre in June”
Catherine Grace, MA Student, Class of 2024

The MA Showcase 2024, which kicked off with a welcoming drinks reception, saw 28 promising actors demonstrate their skills through a variety of solo and paired scenes.

Starting at 1pm, the event featured a dynamic lineup of 30 scenes, allowing each of the students multiple opportunities to shine in different roles. The diverse array of acts provided a comprehensive display of the students’ versatility and acting prowess.

“The MA students have been such a delight to work with on their showcase – I’ve been really impressed with their professionalism, playfulness and determination to keep exploring and developing their skills.”
George Richmond-Scott, MA Course Leader

The showcase concluded in the foyer where students had the chance to engage directly with industry professionals, an invaluable opportunity to make connections that could shape their future careers.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to perform on a West End Stage alongside my extremely talented cohort, under the guidance of our incredible Director, George. It’s satisfying to see how far we’ve all come and present out work to the industry! I can’t wait to start working on our public shows!”
Tara Sowah, MA Student, Class of 2024
MA full cast

 

The students’ profiles, complete with headshots, are available on the ArtsEd website. Each profile can be accessed by clicking on the respective headshot at the bottom of this article.

School of Acting, MA, Class of 2024

 

ArtsEd at the 2024 Olivier Awards

Posted on: April 15th, 2024 by Joshua Robinson

Last night, ArtsEd’s School of Musical Theatre marked another milestone at the prestigious Olivier Awards, continuing a tradition that has showcased the talents of its students for over a decade. This year, the spotlight was on the 43 students from the 3rd Year School of Musical Theatre who performed at the celebrated event, held on April 14, 2024.

The 2024 Olivier Awards were not just a night of accolades but also a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the National Theatre. ArtsEd students performed as part of the choir in the finale, demonstrating their vocal prowess and collaborative skills in a high-profile setting.

Adding to the excitement, the ArtsEd alumni network was well-represented by Tom Francis, from the School of Musical Theatre class of 2020. Francis delivered a stunning performance in the “Sunset Boulevard” segment of the ceremony, supported by our 3rd Year students. His remarkable portrayal in the musical not only captivated the audience but also earned him the Best Actor in a Musical award, sharing the limelight with Nicole Scherzinger, who won Best Actress in a Musical.

Showcasing the event was two talented 3rd Year MT students who took over the school’s Instagram account, giving followers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations and live excitement of the Olivier Awards. This engaging initiative provided a platform for our students to share their experiences and insights, connecting the ArtsEd community and broader public directly with the events of the night.

Our students’ participation in the Olivier Awards serves as a testament to the excellence and opportunities that ArtsEd provides. As we continue to support and nurture the next generation of performers, the visibility and experience gained from such platforms are invaluable.

“We are all thrilled for Tom and his Olivier Award win for Best Actor in a Musical. His performance in Sunset Boulevard was outstanding and career defining, and a testament to his talent and dedication. Congratulations Tom from all of us at ArtsEd!

It was also wonderful to see our current third year students performing in the finale of the ceremony, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the National Theatre.”
– Jonathan O’Boyle, Director of the School of Musical Theatre.

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ArtsEd would like to thank the Olivier Awards for their continued support in giving our students the platform to showcase their talent. Congratulation to all nominees and winners.

If you missed the Olivier Awards you’ll have the chance to see our talented 3rd Year School of Musical Theatre Students in their upcoming performance for the Pippin 50th Anniversary Concert on 29th & 30th April at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Students will be performing in the choir directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, Director of the School of Musical Theatre. You can read more by clicking the link below:

Pippin 50th Anniversary Concert

We are extremely grateful for the industry opportunities given to our students, setting them up for their careers as they move into their next chapter as performers.