Chetham’s is a truly international community. Around 10% of our students and staff have joined us from overseas, and over forty languages are spoken across the School. This diversity, both within school and in the wider community across Manchester’s vibrant city centre, encourages a natural awareness and acceptance of different views, beliefs and cultures.
Applying from overseas
We warmly welcome applications from all over the world. Please follow the application guidelines explained here.
Regrettably at present (due to Covid-19 restrictions) we are unable to invite offer-holders to visit the school for live auditions or any trial boarding period. If your application progresses to an online interview with our audition panel and you are not yet confident about conversing in English, please try to have someone with you who can help the conversation to flow, as this should be an enjoyable opportunity for you to ask as well as answer questions!
The Head of your Boarding House will also want to chat to you as part of the admission process, and will be pleased to answer all your questions about boarding life at Chetham’s.
Admission is based primarily on musical potential and there are no formal academic entry requirements. However, it is important that Chetham’s can provide a suitable space for learning, both academically and musically. International applicants are therefore asked to provide details of current educational achievements and the subjects they would like to study at Chetham’s.
Evidence of fluency in both written and spoken English, appropriate to your age and school year, is also required, although students who speak English as a second language will be offered one to one support throughout their time at Chetham’s.
If you are a non-UK student – or an EU student without settled or pre-settled status – it is likely that you will need to have a visa to study at Chetham’s. Up to date information on studying in the UK can be found on gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/student-visas.
The School has a Student Sponsor license and if you are eligible we will be able to provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies sponsorship number for you to use when applying for your visa.
If you are aged up to and including 15 you will have to apply for a Child Student visa. This also applies if you are 16 or 17 but will be primarily studying at GCSE level.
If you are 16 or 17 and will be studying A levels you can choose whether to apply for a Child Student visa or a Student visa.
If you are 18 you must apply for a Student visa.
English Language skills
Students who plan to apply for a Student visa must be able to demonstrate competency in English language at or above CEFR level B1. For more information please visit the UK Border Agency website or contact the School.
If English is not your first language, you will receive support from the Compensatory Education team whilst studying at Chetham’s. Through one to one sessions, staff will assess your English language ability, support you in developing grammatical and communication skills, and help you to overcome differences in understanding arising from linguistic or cultural divides.
Students are offered support to prepare for the International English Language Test System (IELTS) which is usually a requirement for university or conservatoire entrance.
Every student whose parents live or work outside the UK must have a guardian. Students will usually visit this guardian for short breaks such as Free Weekends or in case of illness; and the guardian may respond on behalf of parents to educational or medical issues requiring urgent attention.
Funding for international students (including EU residents)
Students with non-UK passports may be eligible for a grant through the Music and Dance scheme if they have lived in the UK for a prescribed period of time. For the academic year 2022/23, the prescribed period of residence in the UK is from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021.
Students with UK passports, but who live abroad, may or may not be offered a grant depending on their residential status. The Bursar will be able to provide you with information relevant to your circumstances.
Students living outside the UK and with non-UK passports are not eligible for MDS grants and will be classed as fee-paying students. Full boarding fees for new international students are £36,768 per year.
Bursaries for overseas students
The School has a Bursary fund available to help support overseas students. Decisions are made each summer to agree who the School is able to support for the following year, and how much funding those students will receive.
Bursary funding can range from £1,000 for the year up to full fee remission (ie tuition and boarding fees paid by the School). Parents should note that Bursaries do not cover costs other than the standard tuition and boarding fees.
Short visits and summer schools
Students applying from overseas may be able to arrange short residential stays in school as a trial boarder, helping them to make a final decision about studying at Chetham’s. During these visits you will get to know fellow students and the school day, meet pastoral staff, and take part in the music and academic programme. Trial visits generally last no more than one week and should be arranged with the Auditions Administrator, usually after a successful Main Audition.
Piano students of all ages may be interested in visiting the School each August as part of Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists, a one- or two-week programme bringing together piano players from across the world for teaching, masterclasses, debate and an exciting performance series.