Public school pop star urges: take risk

Sunday Times, 02/11/14, pop star Jay Sean attended HMC's Latymer Upper School.This week he's returning to tell pupils about his success. HMC member, David Goodhew, Headmaster of Latymer Upper School is quoted and HMC schools Alleyn’s, Bedales, King’s College School, Wimbledon and Sherborne are mentioned.

Jay Sean was a straight-A pupil expected to realise his dream of becoming a doctor when he attended Latymer Upper School in west London.

This week he will return to the public school to tell pupils about his success — as a pop star with more than 10m followers on social media.

Jay Sean will jam with pupils at Latymer who have created a record label called 32 Bit. He said: “There are an insane amount of Latymer students who go to the best universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. But my teachers would not be disappointed that I achieved something even rarer than Oxbridge.”

Jay Sean is among a growing number of privately educated pupils who are entering the music business.

Research by The Sunday Times shows that 4.4% of musicians who were involved in the 40 bestselling albums in the UK in 1983 were from private schools, and just 4.2% of those involved in the 40 top-selling singles of that year. By 2013 these proportions had risen to 29% and 25% respectively.

The figures are based on those artists whose schools could be identified; for groups each band member is included. About 7% of pupils in Britain are privately educated.

Former private school pupils who enjoyed chart success in 2013 include Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, who attended Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, south London, and Lily Allen, a former pupil at Bedales in Hampshire.

Chris Martin, of Coldplay, attended Sherborne in Dorset, and Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons, went to King’s College School in Wimbledon, southwest London.

Jay Sean, who learnt to play the piano and violin at Latymer and gave his first pop performance there at 17, said: “If you are looking at singer-songwriters, a lot of them now are privately educated. That’s partly because private schools offer the best music facilities. The audience was my schoolmates and they could have torn me to shreds but we were good.”

David Goodhew, Latymer's headmaster, said: “Private schools can still make space in the curriculum for things that are important like drama, music and sport. State schools are under tremendous pressure to focus on academic targets.

“We are accountable to parents for exam results but also give children the opportunities to follow their interests in a range of other areas.”

Read the full article © the Sunday Times.