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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Leona Lewis' music school loses UKBA "Highly Trusted" status

A music school once attended by X-Factor winner Leona Lewis and rapper and producer Goldie has had its license to sponsor international students withdrawn by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

Some 40 non-EU students at the Point Blank Music School in Islington have now been forced to find a new college or university to sponsor their visas before 27 April or leave the country altogether.

The school, whose visiting tutors include BBC radio presenters and music producers, has blamed "clerical issues" at the UKBA for the withdrawal of its "highly trusted" status as a sponsor of students from outside the European Union.

A spokesman for the school told BBC News it was not a "bogus language school" and that there was "no question of the college's students using their status as a front for illegal immigration".

The college's problems stem from UKBA's refusal in 2012 to give entry clearance to 14 prospective students, representing a rate of refusal for international students applying to study at the college of more than 20%.

The refusal rate needs be kept below 20% for any educational institution to retain its highly trusted status as a student sponsor.

The spokesman added the school was considering legal action against the UKBA.

One student told BBC News he had only arrived in London in January to begin his course, had paid six months rent on his flat in advance and put his "full trust in the school that only three months ago was known as a highly trusted sponsor".

The college is trying to find places at rival colleges for students affected by the change.

- Staff Reporters

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