We do not have formal entry criteria – every student is different, and all students make progress at different stages. Above all else we are looking for evidence of some achievement, a musical spark, and lots of potential. Our happiest students are the ones who are extremely motivated intrinsically: they can’t imagine doing anything other than music, and this is clear in their playing and singing.
Consequently, applications and auditions are assessed very much on an individual basis, and exam certificates are not essential.
As a rough guide, with very few exceptions, students joining our school will be playing at approximately the following minimum standard on their first instrument. Most play a second instrument too.
Age 9-11: grade 6-8+
Age 12-15: grade 8-Diploma+
Violinists and cellists
Age 9-11: Grade 5-7+
Age 12-15: Grade 7+
Wind, brass, harp, viola, double bass and percussion players often begin their instruments at an older age, and may be offered a place on potential if they have a less advanced playing level.
All students age 16:
for year 12 (sixth form) we are looking for students who will comfortably be ready to apply for top conservatoires and universities at the start of year 13.
Composers, jazzers and singers are advised to contact the school for more information if in doubt. We do not take singers younger than 14 unless they also play an instrument at a high level, because we are not affiliated with a cathedral, and not equipped to offer a lot of choral opportunities.
We teach advanced students of classical music and jazz, and although the musical repertoire is varied, we do not run a formal pop or rock school course. All students take iGCSE and pre-U Music, and many take Music Technology A level too.
We accept students from Year 6 (age 10) through to the Sixth Form (age 16+). New students can enter the school in all years except Year 11 and Year 13.
Usually in September, but other arrangements can sometimes be made.
Yes. Around a quarter of our students are day students.
Yes. Students can go home most weekends, unless there are rehearsals and/or concerts.
We have approximately 180 students, of whom about 45% are boys and 55% are girls.
Students receive a total of between two and three hours a week instrumental tuition.
Please see our Policy on External Music Lessons.
Yes. Although most students play two or more (one of which may be composition), around one in ten students play one instrument only.
Between three and six hours a day, according to their age.
Composition is counted as an equivalent to an instrumental study at The Purcell School.
Yes, from September 2022, The Purcell School will offer Audio Production as a first study. However, Audio Production is only open to applicants entering Year 12, who have a supporting instrument to Grade 5 standard.
Yes. We have a strong and well established Jazz department with first study jazz students playing instruments ranging from jazz piano to jazz bass. Jazz voice is also included.
Yes – as long as the student is able to cope with our demanding programme and the constraints of the layout of our buildings.
Our next Open Morning is on Sunday 27th February 2022.
The School fees for academic year 2021/22 are £26,775 (day) and £34,188 (boarding). However, see below.
Yes – do not be put off by the School fees! All students accepted into the School are means-tested so parents pay a contribution to their fees according to their financial circumstances.
To be considered for a place at The Purcell School, you must first apply. The Application Form is available as a downloadable PDF or as an interactive PDF.
The completed Application Form should be returned together with:
All applications are to be sent to the Registrar by post or email. Please see contact details below:
Applications are considered as they come in, and there are many advantages in applying early in the process. Candidates are assessed in relation to their age and potential at time of audition, so there is no advantage in waiting to audition later in the year.
Our auditions take place in School throughout the academic year, often on a Thursday. During periods of increased Covid restrictions, however, auditions will be conducted remotely via Zoom. Audition dates will be individually confirmed.
Unfortunately, tours of the School have been suspended for the time being. We hope to be able to resume welcoming visitors to the School again as soon as possible.