A RYDE Academy student has been granted a place at a prestigious ballet school.

Ben Thompson, 16, who lives in Ryde, has been accepted to train at the School of Ballet Theatre UK ­— and will start his degree in 2021 upon completion of his A-levels.

Ben was initially reluctant to try dance lessons, but after stepping out of his comfort zone he has now secured one of only 16 places on the degree course.

His interest in dance blossomed halfway through Year 7, when he began to study jazz dance within musicals.

It wasn’t long before his enthusiasm and engagement caught the attention of Ryde Academy’s dance teacher, and head of PE, Hilary Seaton ­— who invited him to train with the school’s award-winning team.

He has since amassed a collection of accolades, including winning child performer of the year at the Child of Wight Awards, performing behind pop star, Louisa Johnson, at Wembley Stadium, winning Island’s Got Talent, and performing on the main stage at Bestival.

Mrs Seaton began to notice a shift in Ben’s abilities once his Year 12 class started taking ballet classes as part of their A-level dance lessons.

She contacted the artistic director of Ballet Theatre UK, and Ben was asked to attend an audition.

Mrs Seaton said: "We are so unbelievably proud of Ben. It shows how hard work is the key to success."

Jo Muncaster, head of sixth form, said: "Ben is undoubtedly a star of the future. We are thrilled to hear of his success, and the fantastic opportunity he has been given."