You may remember that back in Februrary we reported on the BPI's proposals to launch a specialist creative school in the North of England. Well, good news, everyone: it's officially happening.
The BPI’s plan to open a ‘BRIT School North’ – a specialist new college for 16-19 year olds housed in Bradford, West Yorkshire, based on the successful model of the BRIT School in Croydon – have been approved by the Department for Education.
The school is projected to open in 2026/2027, and while the final site is still to be decided, it will be in a central location in Bradford.
An official press release states the proposal offers students across West Yorkshire and the North “an opportunity to study a range of performance, production and digital subjects in an immersive environment solely dedicated to the creative learning experience.”
On top of the Brit School in Croydon, the bid also drew on the work of East London Arts & Music (ELAM) in Bromley-by-Bow of which BPI member, Universal Music UK is a founding partner.
This school will not only focus on producing our next generation of performers, but crucially, train young people with the important technical qualities needed for our industries to thrive
Dr Jo Twist
The bid saw collaboration between the BPI; record companies Sony Music Entertainment UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK; BRIT School; 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 to the school, which is expected to be used to fund the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment.”
Notably, Bradford has been awarded City of Culture 2025 – with the school set to contribute to its 10-year cultural strategy, which places the creative industries at the heart of their economy. The proposal also has strong support from West Yorkshire’s devolved Mayor, Tracy Brabin.
Speaking about the approval, Dr Jo Twist OBE, Chief Executive of BPI said: “We are delighted with this decision and it is a positive signal that Government recognises the critical importance of creative and specialist creative arts education. 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. This school will not only focus on producing our next generation of performers, but crucially, train young people with the important technical qualities needed for our industries to thrive and provide them with opportunities that they otherwise might not be able to access.”
YolanDa Brown OBE DL, chair of BPI added: “This is excellent news and it comes as the BPI celebrates its 50th year, which makes it all the more special. We know that young people have moved to London and the South East to specifically attend creative schools like the BRIT School and ELAM, and this approval means they will no longer have to do this. Creating opportunity and access to creative education really is a huge driver for us all in the music industry, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s vital to ensure our future talent pipeline consists of young, diverse individuals who can find joy in the output of their creative practice and also contribute to the continued growth of our industries.”
Sophie Jones, BPI Chief Strategy Officer, concluded: “This approval marks the culmination of months of hard work to deliver our ambitions to extend specialist creative education to a diverse cohort of students, providing talented young people with opportunities to pursue a creative career, and diversifying the talent pipeline for the BPI and our members. I am absolutely delighted and pass my wholehearted thanks to the Government for recognising the passion and vision behind this bid. This is only the beginning, we can’t wait to get started and to continue this work with our key partners to bring the new school to reality.”