From a small office in West London in 1991, RSL Awards had a dream to change the landscape of formal music education, and sought to become the first viable alternative to the traditional offerings available in Britain at the time.
To simultaneously fill the void and satisfy a demand that they knew was out there, founders Norton York and Dr. Simon Pitt initially developed a guitar, bass and drums syllabus for the contemporary musician. Rockschool began offering these exams in the summer of 1991, making it the world’s first graded exam syllabus for popular music.
FOUNDER, NORTON YORK
CEO, TIM BENNETT-HART
DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE & CULTURE, JANE PROFFITT
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, ALISTAIR PLATT
DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL OPERATIONS, MATTHIAS POSTEL
With grade exams now available in ten different disciplines, we ensure each syllabus is developed with the care, skill and expertise to ensure that every addition is creative, innovative and industry relevant; with the objective to provide access to music education for the many, not the few.
After successfully developing the market domestically in the UK, the company began expanding its operations into the international marketplace. Beginning with a handful of test venues many years ago - RSL now delivers exams in over 40 countries worldwide, across 6 different continents.
In 2018, RSL proudly received the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade. Widely regarded as the most prestigious business awards in the country, the award celebrates the UK’s small and medium sized businesses for outstanding achievement, with 2018 marking the 52nd anniversary of the scheme.
By continuing to create engaging contemporary qualifications, we have since expanded operations from Graded Music Exams (1991) to the inclusion of Teaching and Performance Diplomas, Vocational Qualifications (2005), Performance Arts Awards (2010), Creative Qualifications and RSL Classical graded music exams (2020).
We expand and evolve when we feel it is necessary to further reflect the demands of the creative industries, with the aim to validate the efforts of the contemporary artist and ensure they are confident and prepared for all their future endeavours.
We pride ourselves on delivering the most academically rigorous and industry relevant qualifications, designed to support all aspiring musicians, performers, educators and teaching establishments – wherever they may be.
Creating benchmarks, not boundaries.
Click here to read about RSL Awards Vision, Mission and Values as a global leader in contemporary arts education.
RSL qualifications are fully regulated by every UK regulatory body. Learn more about our accreditation status.
Find out more about the RSL brand and download the RSL Brand Guidelines.
We're always looking for creative minds to join the RSL team. To discover what opportunities we currently have please visit our careers page.
We work with some of the best music and contemporary arts schools, colleges and institutions across the world. To See a selection of our current partnerships please click here.
Our policies and regulations ensure our customers are treated fairly and compassionately. Learn more.
For those whose work concerns the assessment of young people and adults at risk. Learn more about RSL Safeguarding Policy.
We think the world of our customers. To find out what they think of us - click here for some of our favourite testimonials.
RSL qualifications carry huge rewards, find out how many UCAS points you can earn with us on our specific UCAS page.