Drama college was ‘potentially insolvent’ while banking fees from students days before collapse

Pictured in The Stage some of the students affected by the closure of ARLA

Drama college was ‘potentially insolvent’ while banking fees from students days before collapse

Students at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London and Wigan (ARLA) have been left unpaid for work at the colleges after the academy went bust on April 4th writes Harry Mottram.

Worse still several students were pressured to pay their term fees days before the establishment collapsed when the directors must have known the school of acting was ‘potentially insolvent’.

Writing for the industry trade magazine The Stage, Giverny Masso reported: “Second-year ALRA North student Bee Iceton said students were being pushed to pay their fees for the third term by April 1, and some were threatened with suspension if they did not pay. ALRA announced it would be shutting with immediate effect on April 4.”

Giverny Masso spoke to several students including Brooke Hadfield: “First-year ALRA North student Brooke Hadfield told The Stage she had paid her third-term fees of £1,300 on March 28, a week before the school closed, and that student finance had confirmed she would not receive this money back.”

Other students were owed money for cleaning and other work for the college which were also unpaid. Founded in 1979 the £14,000 a year college had 300 students and 44 members of staff who are now out of work. ARLA said in a statement that it was no longer financially viable after a failed attempt to sell the school. In 2020 the academy faced a crisis after a string of allegations were made against it by former students over racism leading to a restructuring of the management.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the group dedicated to preventing its members suffering bad debts and late payments from clients – said schools and colleges were not immune from collapse. He said: "Although there was obviously a problem set off by the 'racism issue' in 2020 the college clearly had major financial problems. The students and staff are out of pocket and the suppliers to the college are obviously left high and dry since the place shut down suddenly on April 4th. almost certainly there were warnings that all was not right in the weeks leading up to the closure. At ICSM members get updates about any business that is not paying its bills setting off red lights to accounts departments."

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For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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