LIPA launches its own high school

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts founded by Sir Paul McCartney has had its plan for a secondary school approved by the UK Department of Education

Paul McCartney pictured at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) with alumni actor Liz Smith and LIPA CEO Mark Featherstone-Witty. Photography © Jon Parker Lee Photography Ltd

The new LIPA school completes the educational chain, linking the established LIPA primary school, LIPA 4-19 weekend academy, and the sixth form and higher education institute, meaning current year six primary pupils can move straight into the high school when it opens in September 2021.

The ethos of the school will match that of the other LIPA establishments, offering a broad, project-based curriculum with an emphasis on the creative and performing arts.

It has been many, nail-biting months since the application for the school was submitted and although most of the facilities are ready, there are still staff to employ. The wait has meant that a number of the primary students’ parents chose to look elsewhere, in case the application was refused. Some of those are keeping to that choice, which means some spaces will be available to those on the extensive waiting list.

Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, LIPA’s founding principal and co-founder with McCartney, is delighted about the decision. He comments, ‘This is a day when a dream I had 28 years ago has come true: a symbiotic learning journey from 4 to 16 and even beyond. Maybe even LIPA HEI. Just this bit of the dream has taken much longer than I ever thought it would; we made a few attempts to get this agreed and now we are finally there, seconds before the clock strikes twelve. The reward will be the effect that we have on children and their future lives. We can’t wait’.

Featherstone-Witty’s ‘Fame’-inspired approach to performing arts education led to the creation of the BRIT school, whose co-founder Sir George Martin introduced him to McCartney, who had, in turn, been wondering how he might revive his childhood school, The Liverpool Institute.

With the assistance of Liverpool City Council, LIPA opened in the school year 1995/6, producing a long list of award-winning musicians, producers, film-makers, performers and industry managers.


The intake for 2021/2 at the LIPA High School is full, but applications are being accepted for the following year.

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