On 23rd March it was announced that the NFTS Board of Governors had appointed Sophie Turner Laing, former CEO of Endemol Shine and MD of Sky, as its new incoming Chair. She becomes the School’s first female chair, succeeding Ingenious founder Patrick McKenna, who will step down at the end of his final term in August, having held the post since 2013.
The NFTS, which has some 600 students studying a wide variety of industry focused MA courses, Diplomas and Certificates covering the whole screen sector, from film and TV to animation and games, has regularly featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s annual ranking of the world’s top ten film schools. It has been described by The Guardian as the world’s best film school, reflecting the fact that the School’s graduates are invariably snapped up by industry on graduation, demonstrating the unique strength of the School’s distinctive teaching model, which is strongly influenced by commercial partners. These include the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, Disney and Amazon.
Patrick’s leadership of the School has been transformational. It has greatly expanded its educational footprint, with the opening of state-of-the-art equipped premises in Beaconsfield and new teaching facilities in Glasgow (NFTS Scotland), Leeds (NFTS Leeds) and Cardiff (NFTS Wales). The number of students taught has more than doubled, whilst the progressive change in the School’s gender and ethnic balance within the student body has set the standard for improving performance on diversity in recruitment.