The MGA Academy of Performing Arts

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The MGA Academy of Performing Arts's best practice article

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 The MGA Academy of Performing Arts is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.themgaacademy.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | METANOIA INSTITUTE
Here for You
We have our own “Here for You”
provision within nine local schools,
offering a counselling service for staff
and students. Out of the nine schools,
five came through the “Recruit to
Train” route and four schools invest in
this themselves. Within these schools
for the academic year 2018/19, 246
students received personal counselling
for issues such as anxiety and stress,
family, self-esteem and anger,
behavioural problems, self-harm,
bullying, trauma/abuse and self-identity.
Clearly, more funding is required within
schools for this important work.
School-based counselling can help and
may alleviate psychological distress
within schools. The Ethos Project,
funded by the ESRC between 2016 and
2018 was a randomised control trial led
by Professor Mike Cooper, University
of Roehampton, that took place in 18
schools. Our own Dr Peter Pearce was
the clinical lead, working with a team
of counsellors trained and employed
by the institute. Assessment criteria
for inclusion in the trial was: students
between 13 and 16 years of age who
had been experiencing moderate to
severe levels of emotionaldistress.
Its aim was to compare and evaluate
the clinical cost-effectiveness of
school-based humanistic counselling
with that being offered as part of
pastoral care in a school setting. Such
research will help inform national
guidelines for mental health support in
schoolcounselling.
A degree of progress
Improving access to the psychological
therapies is a key aim for the Institute.
Working with the NICE recommended
Person-Centred Experiential
Counselling for Depression has placed
us in a key position, as the approved
provider for the central and southern
region of England, to work with
colleagues in the NHS for training
within the IAPT service, supporting
patient choice and to ensure a range
of therapies to meet patients’ needs.
From humble beginnings, with just
three people having a vision to improve
the mental health of those in need
through counselling, therapy and
research, we have developed into
one of the United Kingdom’s leading
providers of specialist higher education
in the disciplines of psychotherapy,
counselling psychology and counselling.
We have 1,200 students, a budget of
over £4 million, two premises in Ealing
and employ 140 staff. We have applied
for degree awarding powers and
wish to become the first university for
counselling andpsychotherapy.
The
development
of counselling
and
psychotherapy
is not static but
is constantly
working
towards new
ways of
supporting
those with
mental health
issues
Students in the garden
at Ealing
21THE MGA ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS |
EDUCATION SERVICES
Managing Director
DrewGowland
Our approach: Training
for the profession, from
the profession
The MGA Academy of Performing Arts trains professional
performing artists. Offering degree-level qualifications
and training in musical theatre, dance and acting, MGA
has over 200 full-time students. Hundreds more attend its junior
programmes and thriving school of part-time studies. Established
in 2009, the academy now attracts over 1,800 applicants
every year for just 90 full-time places. Managing Director Drew
Gowland tells
The Parliamentary Review
that the academy supports
and develops its students through a focus on physical and mental
health, business and marketing skills and industry connections.
Having personally trained at two exceptional performing arts schools, I still felt
there was a better way to approach the training of young performers. I missed
out on professional development; although I was trained to be a good performer,
I didn’t know how to navigate the industry. Many schools are able to produce
outstanding graduates, but we pride ourselves on nurturing performers who are
also entrepreneurs and effective business managers themselves.
We provide students with professional development support so that they understand
not only the practical elements required for a career, but also the business and
marketing skills crucial to success in the industry by the time they graduate. We
regularly bring in professionals such as agents, union representatives, accountants
and lawyers to share their insights on working in the performing arts. We mentor
students on maintaining strong physical and mental health, which includes
managing their expectations of what a career in the entertainment industry entails.
We are the only school in Scotland to be fully accredited by the Council for
Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre, receiving the coveted award in 2017, and we
FACTS ABOUT
THE MGA ACADEMY OF
PERFORMING ARTS
»Managing Director:
DrewGowland
»Founded in 2009
»Located in Edinburgh
»Services: Performing arts
training
»No. of employees: 15 with 46
freelance staff
»No. of students: Over 400
»Founded by Murray Grant and
Drew Gowland
»CDMT-accredited full-time
courses
The MGA Academy
of Performing Arts
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | THE MGA ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS
have been a Scottish Qualifications
Authority-approved centre since 2010.
We also received approval from the
Imperial Society for the Teachers of
Dance in 2018.We personally award
our foundation HNC and HND course
qualifications through the SQA, and
our BA Hons qualifications are validated
through our association with Bath Spa
University. Our graduates go on to lead
successful careers on stage and screen
in all mediums of the performing arts
and throughout the world.
There’s no business like
showbusiness
Our industry links are important to
the education of our students. We
maintain strong relationships with
professionals in the UK and in the
United States. Our students have the
opportunity to be a part of educational
experiences in New York and Los
Angeles, where they visit film studios,
participate in masterclasses with
American tutors and learn about the
American education system. These
trips are invaluable for our students,
ensuring they can more confidently
navigate the industry across the world,
seen in examples such as Thomas
Doherty, one of our recent graduates,
who now works in New York, Los
Angeles and London in theatre,
television and film.
Our students are afforded the
opportunity, before graduating, to
impress an audience of agents, casting
directors and producers at our live
showcases in London, Edinburgh
and Glasgow and on our recorded
showreels and self-tapes, giving them
a real-world experience of auditioning
before a critical audience and an
opportunity to be signed up by an
agency even before they graduate.
As a private school, it’s important that we
emphasise to prospective students the
benefits of paying for our conservatoire-
style training. We are acutely aware that
students from Scotland and EU countries
outside the UK can enrol in mainstream
colleges and universities and study
the performing arts with an academic
focus while obtaining financial support
and recognised student status. Our
students and prospective students are
attracted to our reputation, quality and
variety of education, and track record
in producing graduates who are well
prepared to succeed in the industry.
Art of the community
In 2017, we launched our own charity,
The MGA Foundation, which exists
separately from The MGA Academy and
offers financial help to students enrolling
on training programmes across the
UK. Through The MGA Academy, we
have distributed more than £600,000
in tuition fees in five years for students
on part-time and full-time courses,
and The MGA Foundation will similarly
ensure aspiring singers, dancers, actors
and musical theatre performers are
to be given the financial freedom to
pursue education in their chosen art at
reputable schools across the UK.
In reaction to a changing education
climate that has seen funding crises at
local authorities result in the removal of
drama and music from the curriculum
at many schools, The MGA Academy
has launched its own Higher Dance
qualification for school-age students,
Our priority: Healthy,
happy and fulfilled
students
Our graduates
go on to lead
successful
careers on
stage and
screen in all
mediums of
the performing
arts and
throughout
the world
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | THE MGA ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS
have been a Scottish Qualifications
Authority-approved centre since 2010.
We also received approval from the
Imperial Society for the Teachers of
Dance in 2018.We personally award
our foundation HNC and HND course
qualifications through the SQA, and
our BA Hons qualifications are validated
through our association with Bath Spa
University. Our graduates go on to lead
successful careers on stage and screen
in all mediums of the performing arts
and throughout the world.
There’s no business like
showbusiness
Our industry links are important to
the education of our students. We
maintain strong relationships with
professionals in the UK and in the
United States. Our students have the
opportunity to be a part of educational
experiences in New York and Los
Angeles, where they visit film studios,
participate in masterclasses with
American tutors and learn about the
American education system. These
trips are invaluable for our students,
ensuring they can more confidently
navigate the industry across the world,
seen in examples such as Thomas
Doherty, one of our recent graduates,
who now works in New York, Los
Angeles and London in theatre,
television and film.
Our students are afforded the
opportunity, before graduating, to
impress an audience of agents, casting
directors and producers at our live
showcases in London, Edinburgh
and Glasgow and on our recorded
showreels and self-tapes, giving them
a real-world experience of auditioning
before a critical audience and an
opportunity to be signed up by an
agency even before they graduate.
As a private school, it’s important that we
emphasise to prospective students the
benefits of paying for our conservatoire-
style training. We are acutely aware that
students from Scotland and EU countries
outside the UK can enrol in mainstream
colleges and universities and study
the performing arts with an academic
focus while obtaining financial support
and recognised student status. Our
students and prospective students are
attracted to our reputation, quality and
variety of education, and track record
in producing graduates who are well
prepared to succeed in the industry.
Art of the community
In 2017, we launched our own charity,
The MGA Foundation, which exists
separately from The MGA Academy and
offers financial help to students enrolling
on training programmes across the
UK. Through The MGA Academy, we
have distributed more than £600,000
in tuition fees in five years for students
on part-time and full-time courses,
and The MGA Foundation will similarly
ensure aspiring singers, dancers, actors
and musical theatre performers are
to be given the financial freedom to
pursue education in their chosen art at
reputable schools across the UK.
In reaction to a changing education
climate that has seen funding crises at
local authorities result in the removal of
drama and music from the curriculum
at many schools, The MGA Academy
has launched its own Higher Dance
qualification for school-age students,
Our priority: Healthy,
happy and fulfilled
students
Our graduates
go on to lead
successful
careers on
stage and
screen in all
mediums of
the performing
arts and
throughout
the world
23THE MGA ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS |
EDUCATION SERVICES
a model we hope to replicate with
the future launch of a Higher Drama
equivalent offering. Many schools have
pupils wishing to pursue this line of study
but do not have the resources to deliver
the world-class tuition that we can offer.
We give aspiring Scottish performers
the opportunity to remain in Scotland
to study, avoiding the expense typically
incurred by those training at the same
level at any one of London’s top
schools. Our student intake reflects the
attraction to students, from all over the
UK and Europe, of living and studying
in Scotland and we have identified
huge opportunities to attract students
from the United States, the epicentre
of the world’s entertainment industry.
Breaking down barriers
Our students, graduates and the
entertainment industry are all
international by nature – anything
at all that creates a barrier between
Scotland and the rest of the world
can only be a negative prospect for
us. As such, the referenda for both
Scottish independence and Britain’s
exit from the EU can only be to our
detriment. Around ten per cent of
our students are from the EU and as
the Brexit debate rumbled on, not a
week went by without one of our EU
students asking if they would be able
to complete their degree with us.
The prospect of international barriers
and a more isolated United Kingdom
means that we are working extremely
hard to position ourselves as being
capable of attracting students from our
key target countries such as the United
States, South Africa and Australia.
Improving access to training, by
increasing the scale of our operation
or by heightening the profile of
the academy to raise awareness of
the opportunities we offer, is the
driving force behind the continuing
development of The MGA Academy.
In the near future, we hope to reap
the benefits of recently signing an
Armed Forces Covenant, showing
support for the UK’s military personnel
as well as further strengthening our
links with primary and secondary
schools across Scotland and the United
Kingdom. Ever ambitious, we aim to
launch a suite of master’s degrees
that would allow our BA graduates
to build on their education, and to
expand our international offering by
opening a campus in the United States,
one that would cater for American
students and for exchanges involving
Europeanstudents.
Our students
and prospective
students are
attracted to our
reputation,
quality and
variety of
education, and
track record in
producing
graduates who
are well
prepared to
succeed in the
industry
Our mission: A
professional career for
every graduate

www.themgaacademy.com

This article was sponsored by The MGA Academy of Performing Arts. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development