Appointment of the Principal of Leeds Conservatoire

Download Recruitment Brochure

You can find out more about the role and the conservatoire by browsing the pages below, or alternatively download the brochure in PDF format.

Applications are now open via our jobs portal and will close on 11 June. Shortlisted candidates will be sent further details of the application process, which will include interview panels on 7 and 8 July.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Venue: Leeds Conservatoire
    3 Quarry Hill
    West Yorkshire
    LS2 7PD

Jenny Hoy and Shaid Mahmood

Welcome message from the Chair of the Leeds Conservatoire Board of Directors and the Chair of the Luminate Education Group

Thank you for your interest in the position of Principal at Leeds Conservatoire.

Since its inception in 1965 as Leeds Music Centre, the conservatoire has been at the forefront of innovation in conservatoire training, and in the past 15 years alone has expanded its provision exponentially, responding to industry demand and student feedback.

Our membership of the Luminate Education Group and partnerships with several leading arts organisations in Leeds, puts us in a key position to drive forward the city’s cultural future and, as founder members of Conservatoires UK, members of the Association Européenne des Conservatoires and partners to a number of European and international specialist education providers, out network is considerable.

The Covid pandemic has seen us operate through challenging circumstances, but with the commitment and talent of our colleagues, we have embraced opportunities to innovate further, exploring online and virtual tuition methods and support mechanisms to ensure our students are able to succeed.

Despite these challenges, the conservatoire is in an excellent position. In 2020 we achieved our highest ever number of student enrolments, our highest ever student satisfaction score via the NSS and our cohorts were able to take advantage of new partnerships with organisations including Opera North and Black Lives in Music.

Our Junior Conservatoire goes from strength to strength, providing Saturday music tuition to 170 students in 2019/20. In September 2021, we are introducing programmes in drama, and we continue to fundraise to provide bursaries for young musicians and performers from underrepresented groups.

We are committed to removing barriers to conservatoire education, and took the bold move of removing all audition fees in 2019 – a first for a UK conservatoire. Over 40% of our higher education students and a third of our Junior Conservatoire students are in receipt of a bursary and we are investing time and resource to the achievement of our ambitious access and participation targets.

Students, staff and trustees are hugely proud to be part of the conservatoire, and we’re looking for the next Principal to share our passion for conservatoire education and our sincere commitment to removing any barriers to its access.

We’re seeking an exceptional individual to build on the conservatoire’s many recent achievements, to continue its ethos of collaboration and innovation and to meet the challenge of preparing and supporting students for a post-pandemic world.

I hope this information gives you some insight in to who we are and our aspirations for the future.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Jenny Hoy, Chair of Leeds Conservatoire Board of Directors and Shaid Mahmood, governor and Chair of Luminate Education Group 

Students from across the world chose to study at Leeds Conservatoire, not only because of the amazing facilities and wide range of courses, but because of the community feel provided to us by Leeds itself. This city is the heart of the creative hub our students so desperately need. With small independent venues and huge concert halls, our students have so many opportunities at their fingertips. It’s important we continue to work with the local community to ensure students are well represented in the city and can utilise all the great things Leeds has to offer.

LCSU work very closely with the conservatoire. Unlike bigger institutions and SU’s, it’s difficult for us to make long lasting change without working in partnership with each other. We hope that this unique relationship continues into the future and we can work together with the students best interests at heart, after all, that’s why we are both here.

This is a really exciting and important time for our students and for the conservatoire. We really look forward to meeting you and discussing your ideas and plans for Leeds Conservatoire.

Hollie Arnold
LCSU President


Governance & Management

Leeds Conservatoire is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated on 7 April 2011 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Luminate Education Group (formerly Leeds City College). The company is also an exempt charity; the Board of Directors are consequently company directors and charity trustees.

The Principal is accountable to the Board of Directors (the governing body) via the Luminate Education Group CEO. The Board currently consists of fifteen members and includes the Principal, the Students’ Union President, a staff elected member and several external directors who bring a multitude of skills and experience to support, promote and scrutinise the conservatoire’s activity. Their experience and strategic skills are crucial to the effectiveness and success of Leeds Conservatoire.

In addition to the conservatoire, the Luminate Education Group includes three Further Education (FE) colleges and a multi-academy trust.  The latter currently consists of three secondary academies and one primary academy. 

View Luminate Education Group structure chart (PDF)

The Chair of the Leeds Conservatoire Board of Directors also sits on the Group Board and the Group Remuneration Committee. A Scheme of Delegation ensures clear dissemination between the work of the Group Board and the other Boards and Committees and how each fulfils its responsibilities and commitments to each other to ensure the success of the Group.

You can find profiles of the Leeds Conservatoire Board members on our website.

The Role of Principal

The conservatoire is looking for an experienced and talented leader in the music and performing arts sector, who is able to provide and promote an inspirational vision that will engage and meaningfully support students, staff and stakeholders.

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Acting students rehearsing in the theatre at Leeds City Varieties

The successful candidate must use their ability and experience to lead and manage a small, specialist Higher Education provider, further developing an environment where a passion for music and performing arts and a commitment to high quality learning and creative practice can flourish.

An evidenced commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is key, and a demonstrable understanding of how to remove barriers to accessing and succeeding in music and performing arts education is essential.

The postholder will act as the conservatoire’s Chief Financial Officer and the Accountable Officer as set out by the Office for Students (OfS).

The postholder is expected to be an integral part of the day-to-day life of the conservatoire and so is expected to be based in or within commuting distance to Leeds. In recognition of this, a relocation package is available to support this process.

Watch our interview with Steve Fishwick, Principal Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Music (Jazz) programme & Musical Direc…
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