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Academic programme at Chetham's

Chetham’s offers a superb academic education alongside its unparalleled music programme. Although there are no academic criteria for entrance, Chetham’s students regularly celebrate outstanding results at GCSE and A-level and progress to leading conservatoires and universities across the world. This success comes from small class sizes, a motivated teaching team, and a school community which encourages hard work and high achievement. Our dedicated Compensatory Education team offers additional support to students with special educational needs or disabilities, or with English as an additional language.

The academic programme at Chetham’s is broadly in line with the National Curriculum. Its key concern is to offer breadth, balance and quality in the context of the music specialism of the school.


The curriculum structure and range of subjects available varies at different stages of school life:

Lower School – Years 4-9

The aim of the Lower School curriculum is to promote good learning habits across a broad and balanced range of subjects. Students enjoy a great deal of variety at this phase of their education, keeping an instrumental and academic balance in mind. Children in the Junior School are taught as one class, whilst those in years 7-9 work with staff across the School to explore topics in line with the National Curriculum.

Middle School – Years 10-11

The greater depth of study required for GCSE work, and an increase in commitments to music and instrumental study, require students to select subjects at GCSE level. All students take 7-8 subjects including music, English, maths, science and a language.

Sixth Form – Years 12-13

Whether students are continuing to Sixth Form at Chetham’s, or joining us from other schools, we will look carefully at their choice of subjects, their general level of academic ability, and their instrumental needs and commitments in order to find the right programme at A-level. Up to 4 subjects, including music, may be chosen and students receive 5 hours of teaching in each subject.


Physical education, Personal and Religious Studies (or Enrichment Studies in the Sixth Form) and Choir are timetabled on a weekly basis across all year groups.  There is a keen awareness of opportunities to promote cross-curricular links in day-to-day teaching and learning, including whole-school projects connected to Music Department programming, such as WWI commemorations or the Russian Revolution.

ICT is delivered as a separate subject in the lower school, through academic subjects in the middle school, and as an ECDL-based Enrichment Studies course in the Sixth Form.

Academic programme at Chetham's