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Some of the children become very successful indeed, playing principal roles in West End shows, one student had just won an international Emmy award and another had landed a Netflix series. Students also learn a mature and resilient approach to the inevitable rejections. ‘We teach them that NO stands for Next Opportunity.’ SYTS still adheres to the weekly curriculum model it first adopted: three days of academic education followed by two days’ vocational training. ‘

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 1981, Sylvia Young OBE, founding principal and true trailblazer. An East End girl, she trained part-time as an actress at Mountview but realised that a performing career wasn’t for her. She was married and working as a part-time librarian when her daughters’ primary school asked her to teach some holiday drama classes, and a star was born. In 1972 she started an evening school, enlisting friends from the profession to help with the teaching and charging pupils 10p a class to cover the hire of the church hall. She founded the full-time school in 1981 because all the part-time students kept asking for one.

We were (it must be said) slightly in awe of this particular principal prior to our meeting. Her formidable reputation for professionalism, as one of the...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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