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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 12:28 GMT
Inside the Brits 'fame' school
By Hannah Morrison
Newsbeat reporter

Dancers at the Brit School
As well as the arts, pupils also study regular GCSE subjects

Take That and the Arctic Monkeys went home with two awards each but the big winner to come out of last night Brits ceremony was a performing arts comprehensive in south London known as the Brit school.

Ex-pupils Kate Nash and Adele both won on Wednesday night.

Former student Leona Lewis was nominated, while Amy Winehouse performed twice. She studied Musical Theatre there.

Adele paid tribute to the school in her speech. Kate Nash was equally grateful.

She said: "I want to say heads up to the Brit school because I went there and I think that it's a really amazing school and it's really important to have arts in education because not everybody is academic and not all of us get in to university."

Funded by the government and the record industry this Croydon comp has been churning out wannabe actors, dancers, singers and musicians since it opened in 1991.

But now it really seems to be coming up with the results. Newsbeat went along to get a tour.

Everyone that comes here doesn't pay, that makes it different to just about every other school working in this area
Nick Williams, Principal
It's a cliché, but there are girls in leg warmers dancing in the corridor, groups of people sat around strumming on instruments and Ian Brown is blasting out from speakers in the reception hall.

But principal Nick Williams insists it is not a stage school.

He said: "Everyone that comes here doesn't pay, that makes it different to just about every other school working in this area."

It takes pupils from 14 years old. At that age they are expected to do as well in GCSE Maths, English and Science as in their chosen artistic subject.

The principal says the school results are above the national average.

He said: "The curriculum for 14 -16 year-olds encompasses the whole of the national curriculum as well as particular focus on the arts.

"So if they decided they're not going to be a singer a guitarist and actor or a dancer they can get a career in so many other ways."

There's no uniform and pupils address teachers by their first names. But Williams says some rules will always stay the same, no matter how rock and roll they are.

Grant McNeill
Grant McNeill: "You get respect for being different here."
He added: "Our drugs policy would be the same as any other school. We don't think it's a good idea to do things that damage themselves and we enforce that."

Everywhere you go you can hear music coming from the classrooms and comparisons with the Fame school are obvious. Pupils do seem a bit more grounded though.

Grant McNeill is studying music and is also lead singer and guitarist in a band.

He said: "You get respect for being different here. We don't have bullying at our school. The whole ethos is different. The focus is on the creative. Everybody mixes really well."

Grant is aware he might not make it like some of the more famous ex-pupils. But he says he is taught so much about the music business and the media here as well that he is confident he will get a job behind the scenes at least.



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