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How could we start with anything other than the music? Wells is one of only five specialist music schools in the UK. Snatches of melody could be heard wherever we walked: the lunchtime concert in the medieval Quilter Hall (named for a previous headmaster, rather than a bygone artisan). School motto is Esto quod es - be what you are, a medieval injunction adopted by the school only in the 19th century. The head assured us that this is not some complacent mantra for contemporary snowflakes...

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What the school says...

Wells Cathedral School is unique. It is: a co-educational day and boarding school with high academic standards, one of the five specialist music schools in the UK recognised by the DfE Music & Dance Scheme, and a cathedral choir school. Qualities of leadership and confidence are developed in all our students within a creative environment. Wells is a school where people can discover and be themselves to the very best of their abilities. Wells provides an inspiring education, set in a musically-alive and beautiful environment, as a brilliant foundation for life.

Individual visits welcome at any time, by appointment.
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Curricula

Cambridge Pre-U - an alternative to A levels, with all exams at the end of the two-year course.

Other features

Music and dance scheme - government funding and grants available to help with fees at selected independent music and dance schools.

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

Choir school - substantial scholarships and bursaries usually available for choristers.

International Study Centre - school has a linked, international study centre for overseas students wishing to improve their English.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since 2018 Alastair Tighe MA (early 40s). Very much a product of the kind of school he now heads, Mr Tighe’s career is distinguished not only by its musical but by its academic eminence also. Scholarships both to Downside and to Cambridge for a degree in English and theology preceded teaching and housemasterly posts at Oundle, where he won his teaching spurs on the (then) Graduate Teaching Scheme. Appointments to other notable independent schools (Eltham College, Bedford) followed, leading eventually to Wells Cathedral School, a place Mr Tighe had been aware of since his musical youth. And what attracted him to it, other than the obvious draw of the music? ‘The history, the traditions, the family feel’, he told us, then more thoughtfully ‘Respect and humility in the face of many talents. The school...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

SEN provision is individually tailored to the needs of the pupil, ranging from differentiation by subject teachers to classroom support and one-to-one tuition. Very able mathematicians are extracted from lessons for enrichment work with a visiting Mathematics Professor and talented musicians are provided for within the specialist strand of the DfES Music and Dance Scheme.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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