Andrew Lloyd Webber-backed performing arts school embroiled in 'bullying row'

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber-backed performing arts school embroiled in 'bullying row'

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 06/11/2023

- 12:22

Updated: 06/11/2023

- 14:29

The 75-year-old has been officially associated with London's Arts Educational for over a decade and a half

Arts Educational in London, better known as ArtsEd, has been accused of harbouring a "toxic" and "bullying" environment for its students.

The school - which boasts graduates including Julie Andrews - is the pinnacle of a budding performer's studies but in recent years has been marred following a series of reports and investigations.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation donated £3.5million to the school in 2013 which went towards a refurbishment of the main theatre as well as another performance space which is now named after him.

He currently serves in the hands-off role of ArtsEd president.

In October 2021, an investigation found that ArtsEd has a “sexualised environment” and possessed a “lack of regard” for student wellbeing.

This prompted a host of changes within the school by ArtsEd trustees, including strengthening complaints procedures and training was implemented.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber serves as president for the school


Now, more than two dozen people linked to ArtsEd have spoken out as part of an investigation by US publication Deadline to delve into the "toxic" culture that allegedly remains at ArtsEd.

The publication claims to have seen internal emails and written testimonies from students and ex-employees.

However, ArtsEd has stood its ground and fiercely defended itself against the claims made in Deadline's report.

After arguing it places students' wellbeing as a “highest priority”, a spokesperson told the publication: “Many of the complaints raised relate to historic matters that occurred prior to the Rebecca Tuck KC review in 2021.

"While we have been unequivocal in accepting the cultural and leadership failings that were identified in the Tuck review, we have also made considerable progress to put things right in the last two years.”

In the last two years, Principal Julie Spencer has been the one overseeing the changes going on at ArtsEd.

However, it's been alleged that while she's bringing in a new era in the wake of the 2021 investigation, it hasn't been without its own form of controversy.

Deadline found that two ex-employees accused Spencer of intimidating and erratic behaviour.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber


Others have claimed their time at ArtsEd has led to a deterioration of their mental health.

ArtsEd rejected accusations of misconduct and bullying alleged against Spencer during her time as principal.

A representative for Lloyd Webber declined to comment to Deadline and the publication says there is no suggestion that he was aware of the allegations.

GB News has contacted Lloyd Webber's representatives for comment.

You may like