Words and images by Sam Hancock, video by Zoe Ettinger
The sixth free school co-founded by brothers Charlie and Will âStatusâ Kennard – half of the electric music duo Chase & Status – celebrated its first anniversary at its now permanent home in Tower Hamlets.
East London Arts & Music School, which calls its students “interns” and focuses on music, television, film and games, has moved to Bromley-by-Bow from its temporary accommodation at School 21, in Stratford last year and received the ‘Outstanding’ Award by Ofsted shortly thereafter.
Charlie Kennard, 33, who became the principal at 29 and describes himself as his “proud hype man”, said the past year at ELAM “has been an extremely powerful time for us” .
He said: âWe didn’t spend any money on advertising and this year alone our music course was 8-10 times oversubscribed. It was an extremely powerful moment for us – more than the recognition of Ofsted. They were young people saying, âYes, we want to come here. Word of mouth is the purest form of feedback and it clearly works.
The school offers three key A levels: Music, Film and television and Game design, which occupy “80% of a trainee’s schedule”. The remaining 20 percent is used for A-level math and English, which the school makes compulsory for all of its trainees, and is studied alongside their chosen industry-specific course.
Kennard recognized Ofsted’s award as a major achievement, but said success lies outside academic excellence for ELAM. The former high school history teacher said, âWhat sets us apart are our industry partnerships, which we have with places like Universal and YouTube. If you go to Sony and say you have a Triple A * in your BTEC, they will ask you to see your labs. It’s great that our teaching is good, but for us what’s important is to create work that meets industry standards.
While remarkable, the past year has not always been smooth for the school. Kennard said: “Dealing with big changes like the arrival of Ofsted, the move into this purpose-built building, the launch of a new media course and the transition period for a new director. deputy were very quickly difficult. “
But despite these start-up issues, the school continues to produce diverse and industry standard artists like Ama Lou and JVCK JAMES who both completed their two-year courses at the school in 2017 and have continued to achieve. the success of the charts.
Kennard said there is “always a lot going on and we are very lucky”. Interns benefit from a masterclass each week, which is taught by industry specialists and most often for music students, world superstars.
The manager said, âThis quarter alone we’ve had David Rodigan, Stefflon Don and Kano – Stormzy was here last week. The Secretary of State for Education was also here to examine how innovation projects work in schools.
The school’s interns stay at the forefront of everything it does. Kennard said it made everyday life “pretty awesome” because “there’s always something to celebrate when people do what they love.”
For him, the education and training of ELAM are what sets it apart: âReally, the best thing about us is the program that we have developed.
Will Chapman and Taval Eze, both 18-year-old and final year music students, said the school offered opportunities “that a regular sixth form cannot.”
Chapman said, “It’s more industry focused and relevant than any other sixth form would be.” Eze agreed and said: âSince joining ELAM I have learned so much. I hadn’t used a studio before coming here and now I’m growing and developing as I go.
Locally famous and nationally recognized, Kennard said the next step for ELAM is “to become a world-class center of excellence.”
In this video, Kennard talks about the beginnings of ELAM and what sets it apart from other schools; trainees also present some of their work: