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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Student qualifies as a pop star
Tom Swann
Tom Swann swapped the classroom for pop stardom

Students on non-traditional courses have often faced jibes about "Mickey Mouse" degrees and claims that their qualifications are worthless.

But a Brighton student has put his "modern music" qualification straight into practice with a debut single that is at number 10 in the pop charts and an appearance last week on Top of the Pops.

Tom Swann, aged 21, has this summer completed a Higher National Diploma in modern music at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM).

And barely out of the classroom, he is now enjoying chart success with the band Speedway, with a double A-side single, Genie in a Bottle and Save Yourself.

Speedway appeared on Top of the Pops with their first single

He joined the band two months ago, auditioning during the week when he was taking his exams in Brighton.

"The next week, we were playing in front of thousands of people at this year's V Festival. Since then we have shot the video for the single and appeared on several shows like SMTV, CD:UK and The Saturday Show," said Tom.

"It is the most amazing thing and hearing your single on the radio is an unbeatable buzz."

He also endorses the idea of taking qualifications for a career as a pop star.

"I learnt so much from my time at BIMM and really benefited from the tutors - one of my teachers was Carleen Anderson from the Young Disciples and Brand New Heavies. My BTec course has set me up for what I hope will be a long-term career now."

He will be returning for a graduation ceremony this week.

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07 Aug 00  |  Education
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17 Oct 00  |  Education


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