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The Music & Dance Scheme

What matters at Chetham's is talent not background or ability to pay - around 90% of students receive up to full funding through the Department for Education (DfE).  This is made possible by the government’s Music & Dance Scheme, designed to enable young, talented musicians and dancers to receive full time education and training at a specialist school irrespective of parents’ financial means.

Am I eligible for a place on the Scheme?

To be eligible for a place on the Music & Dance Scheme, students must have been resident in the UK for at least two years preceding the 1st January of the year in which the place at Chetham's is being taken up. Special rules apply to European Union students and UK citizens living abroad.

How much financial assistance am I eligible for?

If family income is below £12,600 per annum then all School fees will be paid by a grant from the DfE. If family income is above £12,600 p.a. (for boarding students) or £15,900 p.a. (for day students) then parental contributions will be based on a means-tested sliding scale. Parental contributions will be adjusted each year based on changes in family income and increases in School fees.

What's the annual procedure?

Annually (in June), parents complete a declaration of income. This includes all family gross income, excluding some non-taxable, benefit-type income such as child benefit, mobility allowance etc. The Bursar, on behalf of the DfE, then calculates the total family income and determines the amount of fees to be paid by parents.

Other assistance

If parents are receiving a full grant, the DfE also offers support towards the cost of uniforms and if students live more than three miles from the School then support towards public transport costs at the beginning and end of term might also be available.

Further financial assistance sources might include:

  • Local Education Authorities

  • Charitable Trusts - local libraries are normally a good source of names of Trusts 

  • Musicians Benevolent Fund
  • Chetham’s has a Bursary Fund, which may be able to provide financial support to parents in cases of extreme hardship

Fee paying students

Some students, normally those who have been living overseas, may not be eligible for financial assistance through the Music and Dance Scheme. These students are classed as fee payers. The School has a small amount of Bursary funding available to help support these students and decisions are made each summer regarding 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 (i.e. all fees paid by the School).

Details of fees are available from the Bursar and overseas parents are strongly advised to contact her early in the application process.


Choristers are admitted under a special scheme whereby they receive a grant (currently £5,000 p.a.) from Manchester Cathedral, and parents fund the balance. Parents deal directly with the Cathedral on financial matters but ultimately it is the parents who are responsible for paying the School fees. Choristers are specifically excluded from the Music & Dance Scheme though there is nothing to prevent a Chorister who passes the mandatory audition subsequently joining the Scheme.

Acceptance & deposit fee

When a place is accepted, a £50 acceptance fee is payable. This is non-refundable and covers administration costs. When a student starts at Chetham’s, a deposit of £300 will be added to the first invoice. This will be returned to the parents when the student leaves, subject to all charges being paid. This deposit will be charged to all parents, regardless of income.


School fees and parental grants are revised as of September each year by the Department for Education. The School acknowledges that some parents may like to pay their school fees monthly.  There is a facility provided by School Fee Plan which may be of interest.  Please click on the logo for more details.