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Our dynamic music programme combines with academic excellence and outstanding pastoral care to create a genuine home from home.
Chetham’s is a unique musical community where 300 students aged 8-18 grow and develop as excellent musicians, inquisitive learners and well rounded adults. With over a third of the school timetable devoted to music, the programme at Chetham’s far exceeds that offered by even the very best non-specialist schools. Every day includes around three scheduled hours of music, encompassing individual lessons on first and second study instruments, performance classes and ensemble rehearsals as well as aural training, choral work, academic music, community arts programmes, supported practice, composition and music technology. And as the country’s largest specialist music school, we provide a breadth of opportunity which allows students to explore new musical interests, from Jazz to composition, and to find peers who share their passion.
Over 300 performance opportunities throughout each year ensures that every student begins playing to an audience early in their Chetham’s journey, learning to present their music, listen back, review and improve. From daily Lunchtime Concerts to full scale symphony orchestra and Big Band concerts in school and beyond, every student in school enjoys an individualised timetable based around their musical and academic interests, and is carefully matched to teachers, accompanists and chamber groups to ensure they can thrive in every aspect of school life.
Professional masterclasses and ABRSM music exams are offered regularly in school, with many students gaining post-degree level music diplomas even before they enter the Sixth Form. Every year, students from Chetham’s progress to leading music conservatoires and universities across the world, many of them with competitive bursaries, and in some cases progressing directly to the second year of conservatoire study.
Our excellent exam results are even more impressive in light of Chetham’s packed music programme, and the fact that students are admitted to Chetham’s purely on the basis of musical ability with no academic entry criteria. These results are achieved through small class sizes, a motivated teaching team, and a school community which encourages hard work and high achievement.
For students with additional needs, or with English as an additional language, the Compensatory Education department offers individual support to ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. Students follow the full UK curriculum, taking GCSE and A-level exams in Years 11 and 13, and are assessed musically by external examiners twice each year.
Students’ physical and mental wellbeing is supported through our bespoke Fit to Perform programme. With a fully equipped gym onsite, specially developed training plans for players of different instruments, and guidance on physical activity and healthy eating from the Junior class upwards, we recognise that the physical demands placed on young musicians are similar to those of a highly trained athlete. We help them to ensure that as they grow, they build the core strength and physical awareness to manage their own practice and performance alongside their wider health and wellbeing.
Students belong to one of three houses – Victoria House, for boys and girls aged 8-13; Girls’ House and Boys’ House, for students aged 14-18. All three houses offer 24 hour support from professional house parents, whether they’re leading activities, offering guidance and sympathy, or supporting students’ organisation and domestic needs. As they progress through the school, students are given increasing opportunities to explore the many cultural and social opportunities in Manchester and its surrounding areas, with regular organised activities for younger students and free time for older boys and girls to attend concerts, go for a run, or pop out for coffee with friends. Every third weekend, lessons end early to allow boarders home to catch up with family, and parents share in school life through regular communications, online portals, and public performances.