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Pastoral & Boarding

Everyone who visits Chetham’s comments on the warm and friendly atmosphere and the real sense of community within the School. This undoubtedly grows from the fact that Chetham’s is home as well as School to the majority of our 300 students.

Chetham’s students discuss life at boarding school, the audition process, and balancing musical and academic commitments.

Living at Chetham’s is a happy, busy and enjoyable experience. Chetham’s is a truly international community with students from across the UK and around the world, and this diversity, both within school and across the city of Manchester, encourages a natural awareness and acceptance of different views, beliefs and cultures.

Every student is assigned a personal tutor throughout their time at Chetham’s, to whom they can turn for help and advice should the need arise. In a school where success is celebrated and individuality appreciated, students and staff all contribute to creating a safe space in which every student can thrive.

We realise that the prospect of boarding can often be as daunting for parents as for students. When your child joins Chetham’s, you too become part of the School community, and we encourage you to keep in touch with your child, the school and with key staff members. Further information is available on the Parents’ Information page and in the Parents’ Handbook, which is given to parents when your child joins Chetham’s.

Boarding Students

Over two thirds of Chetham’s students live and learn onsite, based in one of three Boarding Houses which is their home during term time. Each House has a House Parent with responsibility for students’ welfare and happiness, supported by a dedicated and friendly team of House staff. Adults are always available to sort out any problems or just for a chat, both with students and with parents.

Every third weekend is a Free Weekend, during which students travel home to catch up with friends and family. Whilst your child adjusts to boarding, it may be possible to make arrangements to board Monday to Friday and travel home every weekend, or to continue attending musical or other activities near home, in agreement with House and Music staff.

A brief description of life in each House is below, whilst more detailed information about boarding at different ages can be found in the Pastoral Handbooks. When you join the School, both parents and students will receive complete versions of these handbooks with individual contact details for relevant staff members. If you have any additional questions in the meantime, you’re always welcome to Contact Us.

Victoria House

For boys and girls aged 8-12

It may be hard, as a parent, to envisage leaving your small child in the hands of strangers; but our youngest students have a whale of a time.

Victoria House has an extremely dedicated team of six House staff, with responsibility for around 30 students. All of the Victoria House staff are known for their caring attitudes and sense of fun, and their commitment to students’ welfare means that most staff are available most of the time – regardless of the official duty times.

Junior students are always very busy in the daytime with academic and music lessons, ensembles and supported practice. In the evenings they can choose from activities such as swimming, circuit training, gym, fencing, dance, aerobics, trampolining, plus a different activity arranged in the House every night: games of Twister (always very popular), Scalextric, computer games, dance mats and board games – not to mention the newly established Chetham’s First Scouts!

Sixth Form Guardian Angels also spend time with students in Victoria House, looking out for them around school and occasionally accompanying them into town if they want to go shopping. In general, students are too busy enjoying both school and free time to think about being homesick!

Senior Houses

Girls’ House, for girls aged 12-18
Boys’ House, for boys aged 12-18

Seniors at Chetham’s thrive on a busy schedule of academic and music teaching. Whilst all new students will have doubts about the move to a specialist school, Chetham’s provides a warm and welcoming community where everyone, staff and students alike, is always ready to offer a listening ear. The unique nature of a music school means that everybody arrives with something already in common, and students quickly settle in and make friends.

At least three staff are on duty in the Senior Houses each evening, ensuring that students can always find an adult to talk to, and that there is always someone to notice if a boarder feels low or unwell. Relationships between staff and students are friendly and positive, and whilst House Parents are responsible for discipline, they’re also keen to get to know every individual in their care.

House Parents recognise the importance of parental involvement in students’ education and development, and are always happy to speak to families about their child’s welfare or progress. The Head or Deputy Head of House is on duty at all times for any student or family who may need to get in touch.