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Group of pupils with their violins at our specialist music school


We encourage talented young musicians to audition for our specialist music scheme. Successful applicants may be awarded one of two different types of music scholarships: the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) grant funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and our own Music Scholarships. Please note that due to the number of applicants that apply for music scholarships and the limited number of music scholarships available, not all candidates awarded a specialist place will receive a music scholarship. This page gives details about these scholarships; please visit our Music page for information about the application process.

About our Music Scholarships

Our Music Scholarships are:

  • For candidates awarded the status of Specialist or Special Provision Musician who are ineligible for or not awarded an MDS grant.
  • Awarded based on merit, ranging from 10% to 50% of day fees. 
  • Awarded solely at our discretion.
  • In certain circumstances available in conjunction with means-tested bursaries.

About the MDS Grant

MDS grants are:

  • Only available to applicants awarded a Specialist music place.
  • Worth up to 100% of tuition, boarding and music tuition fees.
  • Means tested – Parental contributions are calculated according to relevant income scales provided by the DfE each year (see the table further down this page).
  • Only available to applicants awarded a Specialist music place.
  • Not open to all applicants as specific eligibility requirements need to be met.
  • Limited in number.
  • Not available to those applying for a place as a chorister with the Wells Cathedral Choir.

Key MDS eligibility criteria:

  • Pupils must be aged between 8 and 18 years.
  • Pupils must have been resident in the UK for at least two calendar years (January to December) preceding the first of January of the year in which the place is being taken up.
  • Special rules apply to UK citizens living abroad.
  • Under current DfE rule, overseas pupils who have been resident in the UK, or have been boarding pupils in the uk, for two full calendar years or more are also eligible for a grant under the Scheme. 
  • Applicants aged 16 or over from the EU are also eligible for a grant (tuition only) under the scheme, provided they have been resident in their home country for at least three full calendar years.
  • We do not yet know the impact of the UK leaving the EU on overseas pupils.


If awarded an MDS grant:

  • The table in the grey box gives an indication of how much parents may need to contribute based on their ‘Relevant Income’.
  • Relevant income includes gross salaries, self-employed earrings, capital gains and all unearned income such as rent, interest and dividends from the previous tax year.
  • Parents complete an annual grant application (normally in May or June), which includes a declaration of income and this determines the amount of fees to be paid by parents.

For more information about our music scholarships or the MDS Grant, please contact Karen Finch, Strategic Music Planner: [email protected].

Parents’ annual contribution to fees 2023/24 for MDS Grant Recipients

Taxable Income

(£ per annum)
Day Boarding
10,000 £0 £0
20,000 £333 £567
30,000 £1,443 £1,809
40,000 £2,553 £3,279
50,000 £3,678 £4,938
60,000 £5,028 £6,846
70,000 £6,549 £8,766
80,000 £8,160 £10,776
90,000 £9,771 £12,855
100,000 £11,379 £14,964
110,000 £12,990 £17,076
120,000 £14,601 £19,185
130,000 £16,209 £21,294
140,000 £17,820 £23,406
150,000 £19,431 £25,515
160,000 £21,039 £27,624
170,000 £22,650 £29,736
180,000 £24,261 £31,845
190,000 £25,869 £33,954

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