The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from J Star Academy of Performing Arts is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
J Star Academy of Performing Arts
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
40 | J STAR ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS
Owner and Managing Director
Stage school encourages self-
confidence and self-belief
Star Academy of Performing Arts offers classes in a range of
creative disciplines, focusing on ensuring that every student
is involved and given the attention they require. In order to
achieve this, they have instigated a maximum of 20 students for
each class. The academy also has a successful casting agency,
with several students appearing in television advertisements.
Jaynie Powsney has been studying performing arts since the age
of four and talks about the growth of the academy and how
reduced funding has impacted their students.
Since the age of four, I have studied performing arts. As one of the quieter children,
I often felt that I was pushed to the side and that the children with louder voices got
the majority of the attention. I have always wanted to create a safe space in which
everyone can express their ideas, so I established our company in 2009. Originally
teaching a class of six pupils every Saturday morning from a small hut in Prestwich,
we have grown significantly. By 2011, we had just under 300 pupils, which grew to
over 600 by 2012 and roughly 2,000 now. Previously, we have conducted classes
all across Greater Manchester, but we have now condensed this to our bases in
Prestwich and Salford, alongside an additional class in Radcliffe, although we still
offer occasional external classes at schools and nurseries around Manchester.
We moved to our current dance studios in 2013 as part of this expansion. We
also have a base in Salford. Our Salford academy has been supported by the NHS
since 2010, helping children to find their passion and keep them off the street.
We offer a reduced cost to children from the local area, and the NHS subsidises
what remains. We focus on singing, dancing, acting and confidence building,
J STAR ACADEMY
»Owner and Managing
Director: Jaynie Powsney
»Established in 2009
»Based in Manchester
»Services: Performing arts
»No. of employees: 12
»No. of students: 300 every
week, with a database of
J Star Academy of
41J STAR ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
all designed to help our students to
prepare for adult life. We also run a
casting agency, offering children and
adults opportunities to audition for film
and television roles. We have achieved
some success in this endeavour, with
several of our students appearing
in advertisements, and we hope
to continue to develop this part of
Focusing on the needs of
The central motto of our company
is: “We believe, we inspire, we
encourage.” Unlike some of our larger
competitors, we always endeavour to
give each of our students individual
attention, as I do not believe that a
child can grow and develop without
this. Every child can become confident,
but they need self-belief and adequate
support to be able to achieve this, and
we strive to provide these. We value
the development of skill and self-belief
over winning at all costs, and we
always teach our students, especially
when entering competitions, that the
art is more important than the prize.
We teach them not to compete against
others but to try to improve on their
previous performance. It is essential
to deliver inspiration with a positive
outlook and to engender the good
values of teamwork.
To promote the highest level of
teaching, I exclusively hire teachers
who are currently employed in the
performing arts sector. While this may
mean that children do not always
have the same tutor, it ensures that
they have contact with someone who
is successful, and active, within the
industry. Beyond the stage, we provide
time for our students to get involved
in other aspects of creative processes.
During one of our terms, for example,
students are tasked with producing
their own film, including writing the
script, casting the roles and filming.
We also provide our students with
an opportunity to record an album in
a recording studio facility each year,
which we distribute internally. A group of students
recording the J Star
give each of our
attention, as I
do not believe
that a child can
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | J STAR ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS
We have a strong family ethos, and
parents often comment on how
welcoming they find our premises. To
maintain this environment, we have
instigated a three-warning policy for the
rules that all our students must follow.
We are committed to eradicating
bullying from our performing arts
settings; if any of our students break
these rules three times, they are
banned from attending our classes.
Fortunately, this has never happened.
We also host an internal competition
for all age groups. This helps to give
children a sense of achievement, and
we give every one of our students
an award for a skill that they have
developed. The awards ceremony, held
in December, aims to recognise the
success of each and every child, not
just the most confident.
Working in the local community
We endeavour to engage with our
local community and regularly organise
visits to local nursing homes. We
also choreographed a charity video
with Greater Manchester Police and
often host street parties to unite the
local area. We feel it is important to
have relationships with other local
performing art schools, but they often
have a more competitive attitude.
Nevertheless, we are aiming to promote
this collaboration to raise standards.
One of the main challenges we face is
promoting a healthy balance between
school work and extracurricular activities
among our students. It is essential to find
the right balance between academics
and extracurricular activities to promote
the overall development of the child,
but we often find that our students are
so swamped by their school work that
they cannot get involved in hobbies.
One of the major legislative impacts
concerns the funding for physical
education and dance. Previously, a
number of the children we taught had
accessed state funding to support the
cost, but as the schools they attend
have ceased to provide this financial
assistance, they are no longer able
to attend. Fortunately, the NHS in
Salford has resisted these cutbacks
and continues to support street
dance. This is a deeply beneficial
investment, promoting fitness and the
development of skills among younger
people. Some of those involved
with this scheme have since become
assistants within the company. Many
of our pupils work as apprentices after
they have left education, and a large
number work their way up to become
one of our teachers.
Our vision for the future involves
further expansion, continuing to
develop our service and sustaining the
growth we have achieved in our ten
years of operation. We are looking
to expand our classes and offer them
to the wider community, alongside
further classes in backstage work, to
ensure that everyone can access the
benefits that we provide. We aim to
inspire the wider community while
developing the provision we offer; by
adhering to our principles of individual
attention and local collaboration, we
are confident that we can achieve this.
Every child can
they need self-
support to be
and we strive
To ensure the highest
level of teaching, we
only hire those who
are currently employed
in the performing arts
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.