The Purcell School 普赛尔音乐中学, 普赛尔音乐学校Aldenham Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire WD23
2TS Tel: 01923 331100
• CO-ED, 9–18, Day & Boarding
• Pupils 177, Upper sixth 38
• Termly fees £6434 (Day), £8229 (Boarding) – including instrumental tuition
• SHMIS, SHA, ISM, NAGC
• Enquiries/application to the Registrar
What it’s like
Founded in 1962, as a co-educational specialist school for young musicians and
was the first of its kind in Britain. It began in Conway Hall and, after three
relocations, moved in 1997 to its present location in Bushey. Its musical
strength is demonstrated by the fact that most pupils receive help under the
government Music & Dance Scheme. Examination results are also good and almost
all sixth formers go on to degree courses in music, many of them to Oxbridge. It
is a multi-racial and non-denominational school with a very high staff:pupil
ratio of about 1:7. It can therefore pay particular attention to the needs –
musical, academic or pastoral – of the individual and reduce to a minimum the
pressures which often threaten a musically gifted child. Drama is strong and
there is a fair range of sports and games and extra-curricular activities.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 9–18; 177 pupils, 65 day (25 boys, 40
girls), 112 boarders (35 boys, 77 girls). Senior department 12–18; 120 pupils
(40 boys, 80 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 9, 11, 12, 13 and 16. By musical audition only;
for sixth-form entry, GCSE grade B in sixth-form subjects. Exceptional musical
promise essential; no religious requirements (international intake).
Scholarships, bursaries & extras Most pupils hold aided places on
government Music & Dance Scheme; some further sponsorship and scholarship
funding available. Parents are expected to buy textbooks only in the sixth form.
Instrumental tuition is included in the fees.
Parents 15+% are doctors, lawyers, teachers; 15+% in industry; 15+%
in music. 10+% live within 30 miles; up to 15% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: John Tolputt, in post from 1999. Educated at Ardingly and
Cambridge University (English). Previously Headmaster at Rendcomb College, Head
of English and Drama at Cranleigh, and Head of English at Bromsgrove.
Teaching staff: 20 full time, 5 part time. Annual turnover 5%. Average
GCSE: On average 21 in upper fifth, most gaining at least grade C in 5–7
subjects (all take 6). Average GCSE score 47 (46 over 5 years).
A-levels: 38 in upper sixth: 20% pass in 3 subjects; 72% in 2; 8% in 1
subject (norm is for pupils to take 2 subjects). Average final point score
achieved by upper sixth formers 306.
University & college entrance 80% of recent sixth-form leavers went
on to a conservatoire, the remainder to university, including Oxbridge, many to
study music (7% take a gap year first).
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 10 AS/A-level subjects.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 3–4 subjects at AS-level, 2–3 at
A-level. All take music; no general studies taken. Key skills integrated into
sixth-form courses but not compulsory.
Special provision: EFL teaching as required.
Languages: French and German offered to GCSE and A-level. Exchanges with
music schools in many countries eg Russia, Germany, Poland, Israel.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject and across the curriculum. 30
computers for pupil use, all networked and with email and internet access.
Music: All pupils learn a musical instrument and instrumental exams are
taken. School has a music technology suite. 40+ musical groups include chamber
groups, several choirs, orchestras, jazz group. Pupil winner Shell/LSO string
competition, gold medal in European Music for Youth competition; several members
of National Youth Orchestra and National Children’s Orchestra. Orchestral and
concert tours to Germany, US, Japan.
Drama: Frequent school productions.
Art & design: On average, 12 take GCSE, 10 A-level.
Sport & activities
Sport: Options include football, swimming, badminton, squash, rounders,
Activities: Community service optional. Up to 5 clubs, eg chess, gym,
Uniform: School uniform not worn.
Houses & prefects: No competitive houses. Prefects; head boy/girl –
appointed by the Headmaster, in consultation with staff and pupils. School
Religion: Religious worship on a private basis.
Social: Occasionally provides players for other schools’ productions.
Regular organised trips abroad, including orchestral and concert tours to
Germany, US, Japan, UK; exchanges with Russia and US. Meals self-service. School
tuck shop. No tobacco or alcohol allowed.
Boarding Sixth form have own rooms; others share up to 4. Single-sex
houses. Resident nursing sister. Central dining room. Pupils can provide own
snacks. 2 weekend exeats termly. Visits to local town allowed with permission,
in pairs or small groups.
Former pupils Robert Cohen (cellist); Oliver Knussen (composer and
conductor); Nicholas Daniel (oboist); Janice Graham (violinist), Catrina Finch