Derby College dazzles with LIPA 4:19

Derby College takes centre stage with the launch of its part-time LIPA 4:19 academy, which will be headed up by experienced performing arts specialist Maria Banks

With her combined qualities of project management and a love for the performing arts, Maria Banks proved to be the ideal candidate to take on the role of LIPA 4:19 Principal.

The new academy, which will hold its singing, dancing and drama classes at the Joseph Wright Centre, has attracted a lot of interest within the local community and Maria is confident that the academy will be a huge success.

“The response from the public to the LIPA 4:19 academy has been brilliant,” she enthuses. “We have held taster days so the children can come and get a feel for the classes and the parents can have a closer look at the excellent curriculum that LIPA 4:19 offers.


“I am passionate about the benefits that performing can offer to young children, as I have seen over the years just what a positive difference it can make to their development. It boosts self-esteem and confidence and gives them skills that they can then use in all aspects of their lives. I am delighted to be working with the prestigious LIPA academy and applying its high standards to the programme here in Derby.”

To prepare her for the launch of the Derby-based academy, Maria attended a training day at the LIPA head office in Liverpool, which covered all aspects of the business.

“The training was very thorough,” recalls Maria, “I was taken through all elements of the franchise from marketing and branding to the teaching curriculum and administration. If I ever find myself unsure of anything, I can refer to the comprehensive LIPA 4:19 Franchise Manual or call the support team – someone is always there to help.”

LIPA 4:19 opened its first franchise in September 2008 and has since embarked upon a strategy of steady and cautious growth, with franchises in London, across the North West and in Bulgaria.

Sammy Murphy, Acting Head of LIPA 4:19, is passionate about selecting the right people for the LIPA 4:19 academies and is delighted with Maria’s appointment as Principal.

“Maria is perfect for the LIPA 4:19 franchise. Her enthusiasm for working with young children in this field was infectious – this is the energy we strive to surround our students with.

“For us, it’s not about the number of franchises we award, it’s about choosing the right franchise owners. We have always generated lots of interest, but we’ve been very careful about who we award our franchises to.”

LIPA 4:19 offers prospective franchise owners the opportunity to become the Principal of their own academy, offering classes in acting, singing and dancing for children aged four to 19.

The investment opportunity is flexible as franchise owners can take a hands-on role and help teach the classes (providing they have a teaching qualification).

Alternatively, they can take a managerial role and oversee the running of the academy and leave the teachers to run the classes.

As a qualified early learning teacher, Maria will be able to enjoy both the hands-on and managerial elements of the academy.

“My main focus will be the management of the teaching staff and the growth of the business,” says Maria. “However, I will also be teaching the Early Start classes which is for four to six year olds.

“We have ambitious plans for the academy,” continues Maria. “At the moment lessons are only available on Saturdays but we hope to be able to extend this to Sundays and even hold an evening class exclusively for our older students.”

Written by Tiffany Brooking