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Purcell School

(28 Posts)
hertsandessex Sun 24-Apr-16 15:51:59

Wondering if anybody has any recent feedback on Purcell? There seems to have been a lot of change in staff and controversy over the last few years and wondering how things are under new head.

OP’s posts: |
1805 Sun 24-Apr-16 22:33:10

my friends dc go there and they describe it as a 'crazy' school. tbh I'm not sure why they keep their dc in there as they are always complaining about it! Do ask about security and pupil welfare though.

ohtobeanonymous Wed 27-Apr-16 15:20:23

Have a peripatetic tutor at our school who attended Purcell and is lovely, but DC's piano teacher attended Chets and thinks only the 'weirdos' go to Purcell...

anecdotal and unenlightening, I know, but had to share!

OP, what is your feeling from visiting and talking to current staff/students?

hertsandessex Wed 27-Apr-16 15:40:01

Not sure I'd trust the opinion of somebody from Chets on Purcell. Lots of people who went to Oxford think Cambridge is full of weirdos smile

Overall impression is positive especially from talking to students. On the music side no worries although not sure about the rest of the place. Obviously there have been well-publicised issues in recent years and my sense is that the ship has been steadied but so hard to tell.

OP’s posts: |
NewLife4Me Wed 27-Apr-16 15:42:38

I won't post then herts sad

hertsandessex Wed 27-Apr-16 15:51:27

NewLife4Me - constructive comments welcome as long as you are not a weirdo smile

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NewLife4Me Wed 27-Apr-16 16:08:23

Ok, from what I hear both Chets and Purcell are very similar.
They work in the same way and have the same ethos.
I believe there are more wc families at Chets and firmly believe that all children who attend either are weird, in the best possible way.
They need to be, as they certainly are not like any other type of school.
They are quite boot campish and can be very stressful if a child is offered a place who shouldn't be there. Although, I can assure you this rarely happens, but needs to be considered.
What I mean is if they love music are very dedicated, motivated and driven it can be heaven, my dd loves it and wild horses wouldn't have stopped her.
I'm sorry I can't comment on Purcell as I really don't know it but have met a family who moved to dd school because they weren't happy.
The main difference will be the smaller number of children and of course difference in number on particular instruments that all have an effect on the child and their social life within the school.
E.g my dd has had to be very proactive seeking friends as she is the only girl of her age group playing hr instrument. So where others have made friends through their ensembles apart from the boys her age she has had to look further for girl friendships. Not a huge worry, but might be if they were shy for example.

My best advice is visit, try and find other parents there, get to know the website like the back of your hand. You can tell so much if you dig deeply.
Look at Chets website as well to identify where they are the same, it may surprise you if you haven't looked before.

If I can help in any general way please feel free to pm me, I'll help if I can.

mummytime Wed 27-Apr-16 17:43:32

Btw no-one I know who went to Oxford would call all people from Cambridge weird. I can't guarantee vice versa.

hertsandessex Wed 27-Apr-16 18:26:29

Mummy time - I didn't say "all" smile

Newlife4me - thank you for the long reply. That all ties on with my thinking so far although perhaps I should check Chethams a bit more for comparison. I am convinced my son would love and would go tomorrow if he could. Interesting that your friend's child left Purcell for Chets. No idea why? Of course in the last few years there seem to have been lots of reasons as to why one might leave! The hard thing is finding current parents to chat to in order confirm that things have improved in the last year or so. Certainly the pupils we have spoken to have nothing negative to say including one who we talked to a lot away from the open day.

OP’s posts: |
NewLife4Me Wed 27-Apr-16 18:55:57


I'm happy to help anytime if I can.
I know that the schools won't be exactly the same but when you compare the sites you'll see huge similarities.
We didn't look at Purcell as we are north and dd had set her heart on auditioning after we attended an open day.
I'm sure they both have good and bad points and some things you obviously only experience when/if they are applicable to you.
I can thoroughly recommend SENCO at Chets, no messing and completely on the ball.
Would you consider boarding rather than day student?
We live 45 mins from school but she boards as otherwise it would be coming home, homework and bed. She would have to catch a train at 6.40 and she'd be more tired than she is now. They do get absolutely exhausted as it's full on, but there's always time for swimming, x box, playing outside, pool in the common room or visits to leisure activities at weekend. My dd is a weekly boarder but has to come home when horrible mum tells her to at the weekend grin
The ensembles are mostly after tea and she does her prep as well, plus evening practice. Not all 3 on the same night but there's usually 2 of them.
I know this is the same type of set up for each school.

NewLife4Me Thu 28-Apr-16 10:49:39

oh, have also thought, check the inspection report it breaks down the different ages and sexes of the dc, you may be able to work out how many are the same age as your ds.
There are 21 in dd year, they usually work in one class, but some subjects are split such as MFL where there are 2 classes. History and Geography rotate and dc are split for this too.
These are important to check on as will make a difference to academic subjects.

Firechick Fri 29-Apr-16 10:50:40

We're also considering Purcell for our child too. I'm with you hertsandessex, it's so hard to find out what it's really like as we don't know anyone with a dc there. PM me if you like and we can talk about what we know!

I would love to know what your friend complains about 1805- it sounds a little worrying 😐.

NewLife4Me Fri 29-Apr-16 11:59:10

Both Purcell and Chets are very similar as the share the same ethos and operate in pretty much the same way.
I'm happy to talk about our experiences even though obviously there will be small differences.
The family I knew who moved weren't happy with the cohort? Is that the term.
The mix of peers of certain ages and sex.
Depending on what instrument they play and their age they can be on their own, depending on the numbers of intake for the year.
There does seem to be more in y7 and at dd school the present year 6 is approx 11 children. I believe there are only 5 girls.
When they have their lessons its a very small class.
My dd is y7 and there are 21 of them, this is fine in school classes but she is one on her own with her instrument, the other 3 girls are 6th formers.
I know this can be similar at Purcell.
They need to be highly motivated dedicated and live for music. There are hardly any opportunities for sport apart from nc PE and extra curricular clubs, but they do get some down time each day when the nature of the schools means they just want to chill, or Swim in dd case.
It can be very stressful and boot camp like, but if they live for music this isn't a problem.

1805 Fri 29-Apr-16 17:46:12

they are unhappy with teachers attitudes towards their dc, and bullying. Safety of children a big issue also. Their dc want to be pro musicians so they are seeing it out. But from what they say, I really don't understand why they keep them there. The school must be doing something right!!!

Firechick Sat 30-Apr-16 15:04:46

Thank you for your honest replies- all food for thought.

ohtobeanonymous Mon 02-May-16 15:38:10

OP - remember that going to specialist music school is not the only path to being a pro musician. No doubt your DC already takes part in a Junior Academy/college on weekends and many great independent schools offer generous music scholarships to talented children, also giving them a more 'well-rounded' education.

Sure both Purcell, Chets, Yehudi MEnuhin etc... are all great for the right students though.

NewLife4Me Mon 02-May-16 16:12:40

I think it's also important to remember that no school is perfect, even the ones we may find that fit our child perfectly will have issues.
I don't think dd school is perfect by any stretch and some people go from here because they aren't happy too.
They are very pressurised and full on from early morning until an hour before bedtime, sometimes they must feel as though there's no escape.

But I guess for the ones who love it and can cope with it all, they don't need to escape grin

hertsandessex Thu 05-May-16 11:37:26

Ohto - true specialist music school is not the only route but depends on the instrument. In our case there seem almost everybody accepted for conservatoires seem to have been to one of the specialist schools or are from overseas. Not everybody but makes it extremely hard. Our experience of independent schools is that the scholarships are not that generous - maybe 20% max.

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M4ggie Sun 28-Aug-16 05:44:05

My son has just completed his first year there (year 10) and absolutely loves the school, his friends, the teachers, the food, the wearing of shorts and flip flops, the endless music, the efficiency of dominos pizza delivery.
It is exhausting,as he signs up for everything. You really really need to have a huge passion for music. He is orchestral but his room mates are all jazz musicians. It's great for jazz. They do their music GCSE a year early so in year 11 you will do 6 or 7 more. I'm happy with this, in state school he would have been swamped with 13 GCSE's leaving little time for music.
We've had no issues there. All the children seem a good laugh. Every time I phone him in the evening I can hear laughter. I spent hours on forums reading all sorts before he went there and he has not said one negative thing to me in the year he has been there. grin

hertsandessex Sun 28-Aug-16 12:18:44

M4ggie - thank you for the positive feedback. My son is starting next week so good all good to hear. Only thing I was surprised about was comment on 13 GCSEs - not many state schools other than top grammars doing that! 10 seems to be more normal even at very good state schools so not a massive compromise at Purcell given all the other things.

OP’s posts: |
M4ggie Sun 28-Aug-16 12:53:43

Ah we have compulsory Welsh Baccalaureate gcse and Welsh language and 2 separate maths GCSEs then your options.
Is he excited. I'm happy for him to email my son for a chat if he needs to know anything!!

Music50Mum Sat 12-May-18 11:41:41

Hi All, I know this is a couple of years old now but just wondering how your kids are getting on a Purcell. We are considering applying for an audition for my son for sixth form. Can anyone give me any insight in to how their DC is getting on. We visited recently and loved it, son now has his heart set on going there.

hertsandessex Sun 13-May-18 23:02:27

Sounds like your son has already made his mind up so you will have to tag along smile My DC was a bit like that - got to the point where we couldn't stop him and he absolutely loves it there.

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mamagmama Tue 07-May-19 10:18:03

Hi All. Do the kids get break times and lunches at the same,so that they can socialize together? looking at it for my 10 yr old daughter but shes very young and it seems to also not have extra curricular activities on their website. can anyone please give me the lowdown on day to day life and realistic expectations of what time her day would finish, as a day student. There's nobody really mentioning these things. would really appreciate some insight. Thank you

50sDad Sat 22-Jun-19 11:43:22

As a parent of a child who has just left the Purcell school I would not recommend you send your DC there. Especially when younger than 6th form.
I sent mine there assuming that the long history of allegations of problems were resolved and ended. However, In spring 2019 my son, a pupil at the school who is known for his honesty, made an allegation of assault against a teacher. The alleged incident took place in a location with no cctv cameras and no witnesses and in the Morning before my son sat an A level exam. That teacher is now back working his full duties including the boarding house. I am very unhappy with the result of the investigation and with some of the ways in which the school has dealt with this situation.

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