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Rockschool’s revolution in music education wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise

23rd April 2018

Rockschool, the revolutionary music exam board wins the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – International Trade, for Outstanding Growth in international sales.


The London based company, which is the world’s first rock and pop music exam board, has today been awarded the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. This prestigious award is a recognised Royal endorsement reflecting the success of Rockschool’s international development.

The company was founded by Chairman Norton York in 1991in West London. Music graduate Norton York spent his teens playing in bands and felt pop music was ignored in mainstream music education, despite leading the world in innovation, creativity and profitability. He wanted young musicians who played drums, electric guitars and keyboards to be able to take exams and mark their achievements in the same way as their classical contemporaries. Rockschool with it’s head office still based in  West London now conducts rock & pop exams in over 45 countries around the world from Australia to Mexico and China. Over 400,000 aspiring musicians have already taken Rockschool exams. Famous alumni include ‘Ed Sheeran’, ‘Jess Glynn’ and emerging talent like ‘Let’s Eat Grandma’.

“Nurturing musical talent has been at the forefront of the company’s endeavours from the very beginning. This is not only paying dividends for our candidates and Rockschool as a company, but the wider success of UK music as an international export.”

John Simpson, Rockschool’s Chief Executive Officer

As rock and pop music has come of age, Rockschool’s revolutionary graded exam music system is recognised throughout the UK for transforming music education. Starting off with conducting examinations in  London, the business went global over 10 years ago and as well as examining in over 45 countries, now has subsidiaries in China, India and Spain, and continues to change the way pop music is taught across the globe. It is now accepted as the global benchmark for contemporary music.

Not only do a few special Rockschool candidates go onto become global superstars, the qualifications also lead to full-time jobs working in the creative industries like stage crew, sound engineers, producers, and managers for some of London based record labels.. These students find jobs putting on music events and live shows which are the envy of the world.

Since we started Rockschool in 1991 we pioneered pop and rock music education – from our world firsts in establishing guitar, bass and drums grade exams to our vocational qualifications which have been taken by world beating artists and our most recent innovation in music production exams, Rockschool has always led the way in British music education. I am so proud and honoured that  our achievements in the past few years in establishing our exams as a global leader in our field in more than 40 countries has been recognised with this Queen’s Award. Thank you to our staff and to all the young musicians who have come on this journey with us.”

Norton York, Founder & Chairman RSL Awards (Rockschool ltd)

The export value of the UK Creative Industries is estimated at £19.8 billion or 9% of total export services. It is growing at 10.9% a year and accounts for 1.9 million jobs in the UK*. Rockschool is a rising star in this burgeoning export market and this performance has been recognised today with the granting of The Queens Award for Enterprise – International Trade