Brit school for the North to open in Bradford following Government approval

Plans for a northern version of the Brit School which has nurtured performers such as Adele and Amy Winehouse have been approved by the Department for Education.

The BPI – the representative voice for record labels across the UK – plans to open a new specialist creative college in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in around 2026/27 to allow students aged 16-19 to study performance, production and digital subjects.

The application, titled Brit School North, was inspired by the successful model of the Brit School in Croydon which opened in 1991, is free to attend and counts Raye and Loyle Carner among its alumni.

The Brit Awards 2022 – Arrivals – London
Adele is one of the successful former students of the Brit School in Croydon (PA)

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer told the Mail on Sunday she is looking for “the next Adele or Amy Winehouse”.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said “the North is full of creative talent”, adding that the new school will mean “more young people will be able to reach their potential”.

BPI chief executive Jo Twist said the approval of the plan was “a positive signal that Government recognises the critical importance of creative and specialist creative arts education”.

She added: “The UK is a world-leader in music and across the creative industries and if we want this to continue, we must invest in talent and the highly transferable skills needed for a competitive economy.”

The Brit Awards 2023 – Arrivals – London
BPI chair YolanDa Brown said the new school in Bradford would reduce the need for young people to move to London and the South East to follow their dreams (PA)

BPI chair YolanDa Brown said the new school will improve access to creative education and reduce the need for young people to move to London and the South East.

The bid saw collaboration between the BPI, record companies Sony Music Entertainment UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK, the Brit School, East London Arts & Music (ELAM) and the Day One Trust which runs ELAM and the London Screen Academy (LSA).

The three record company partners have committed to contribute an initial amount of additional funding towards the school, which is expected to be used to fund the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment.

The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “This is a fantastic win for the North and supports our ambition to ensure opportunities for all, no matter where you’re from or where you live.

Brit School of Performing Arts
The Brit School of Performing Arts in Croydon, south London, has nurtured the talent of performers such as Adele, Raye and the late Amy Winehouse (PA)

“The build up to Bradford UK City of Culture 2025 has already started to inspire the next generation of artists.

“And now, with West Yorkshire becoming the home of Brit School North, more young people can follow in the footsteps of our world-class homegrown artists, from the likes of Mel B and Corinne Bailey Rae to the Kaiser Chiefs.”

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said the school was “brilliant news for the Bradford district”.

“There is a huge creative and cultural buzz around Bradford right now. We are preparing to be the UK’s City of Culture in 2025 and will soon celebrate the opening of Bradford Live, a new 4,000 capacity live music venue in the old Odeon cinema,” she said.

“I am delighted that the BPI has decided Bradford would be the perfect location for their new school. It is a great decision on their part.

“There is enormous talent in our young, energetic, diverse population and this can bring them life-changing opportunities.

“It’s exciting to think about the future stars of music, art, film, TV and dance from our region. This school will help them to fulfil their dreams.”

Bradford-born singer Zayn Malik, a former member of One Direction, was among those who has expressed support for the new school.