Blog by David Carter – Chair of Governors, The BRIT School
It has been a privilege to serve as a Trustee of The BRIT School – eight years as Chair of the Finance Committee and three as Chair of Governors. However, it is now time for me to step down, and, as I do so, I wanted to capture some final observations.
My career at the outset was in finance - buying and selling businesses around the world for a big multi-national, but I always felt more of an ‘Arts’ boy than ‘finance/business’ boy at heart, and so left that world to chance my arm as a volunteer in Arts & Education.
Volunteer roles included the boards of Kingston University; St George’s Med School; the Almeida Theatre; a couple of educational Trusts; mentoring; a role for the Arts Council; and a role for the DCMS as well as The BRIT School. Moving out of my previous world into the world of the Arts, Gov’t Depts, Quangos, Charities, Universities and Schools has given me a remarkable personal opportunity to see and feel how different worlds tick.
I joined the Board at The BRIT School in 2009. It was through a chance meeting at a wine-tasting dinner with the legendary record producer Glyn Johns. He was a former governor, took me to Croydon and it totally hit the sweet-spot for me of helping talented, hardworking, young people in the arts/creative world from all backgrounds and help them get their chance in life – just at an age for them when it can make all the difference to happiness and self-fulfilment. Being elected the first Chair from outside the music industry was a massive honour. I felt prepared to take on all the huge variety of issues, though none of us could have predicted Covid, which has hit everyone, but we altered our course, and to see the School thrive in adversity has vindicated all the special things The BRIT School stands for, cares for and does.
What a privilege to play a (walk-on) part in the pageant that is The BRIT School.
The greatness of The BRIT School is simple. It is free and open to all with talent and a willingness to work hard and, at the end of it, be nearly 100% certain of a job – most usually in the creative industries (a hugely important part of the UK Economy) or Further/Higher Ed, and be set to choose and follow the life you want to lead.
Alice Cooper was wrong. School is never out. The love and effort the School throws at its 1,400 students at any one time and to thousands of alumni, friends and staff means that you’re never off-duty and there’s always a need for some help, support, advice, a cheery word, a thank you, an idea, and some sympathy. Being Chair I’ve learnt so much – not least from the energy, compassion, mindfulness, dedication, innovation and can-do spirit of the students. And then there’s ‘the work’. My-oh-my, what talent. To paraphrase Wordsworth, The child is teacher to the man…..
As the School enters its 30th birthday, it has the opportunity to become (yet) more entrepreneurial and aspirational; to become a globally recognised educational establishment; be a role model to all schools in championing self-help, ambition and excellence without sacrificing caring, inclusivity, nurturing and love.
The BRIT School supports all-comers in finding and expressing their selves at a critical point in their lives. It believes in passion, kindness, creativity and living the life less ordinary and, in so doing, transforming young lives.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez said “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old: they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams”.
Thank you The BRIT School for allowing me – and thousands of others – to pursue our dreams.