FAQs

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How difficult is it to get in?

The ratio of applicants to places is normally about 2.5:1 at all entry points although it can be higher at the Nursery and Pre-Prep.

Do you have to be academically outstanding to come to The Perse?

While a good proportion of our pupils are as bright as any in the UK, we offer opportunities for pupils from a range of abilities. It is true that our pupils get good results and go to top universities but by no means everyone will get A*grades at A level. We take as much pleasure in pupils who work hard to get B and C grades at A level as we do in our successful Oxbridge applicants.

I don’t think we can afford the fees. Is there any financial assistance available?

The Perse has always done its best to ensure that children who would benefit from an education at the school are not excluded for financial reasons.  We offer a number of means-tested bursaries for families of limited means from Year 3 onwards. Financial support is available ranging from 5% to 100% of annual fees. In the current financial year, the school is providing £1 million worth of means-tested bursary support.

How do you get such good exam results?

Both pupils and staff work hard and the collective expectations here are very high. It is quite true that because we are selective we ought to do well but also that we add a great deal of value to pupils, not just through academic work but also through sport, music, drama and other extra-curricular activities. Academic high flyers are stretched by setting in some subjects, extension exercises and through national and international competitions such as the various academic Olympiads. Sixth Formers applying to Oxford, Cambridge and/or medical schools receive specialist teaching, admissions tests and interview preparation. Pupils experiencing difficulties in a subject receive individual support from teachers.

Is The Perse an academic hot house?

Nothing could be further from the truth! The Perse is committed to developing the musical, artistic, sporting, dramatic and practical talents of all its pupils and provides lots of opportunities to do so. Extra-curricular activities help develop pupils’ self-confidence, team work, problem solving and inter-personal skills as well as providing students with lifelong interests and the opportunity to make friends. We believe in a rounded education not a narrowly academic one. The school’s Annual Review shows just how rounded a Perse education is.

Where do Perse pupils come from?

As a popular school, we draw our pupils from a wide range of independent and state schools across a large catchment area. Pupils travel in from Kings Lynn to the North, Bury St Edmunds to the East, Bishop’s Stortford to the South and Huntingdon to the West and all areas in between.  About 40% of our pupils live within Cambridge City.

Commuting is tiring and requires a high level of motivation and personal organisation. For this reason, lengthy commutes should only be undertaken by older pupils.

Many pupils take advantage of the excellent rail services (we are a 15 minute walk or a short bus journey from Cambridge station) or the parent organised school buses. The school encourages the use of public transport and provides minibus ‘pick-ups’ from Cambridge Park and Ride sites (Trumpington, Babraham and Madingley Road) and Cambridge Railway Station to the Prep and Upper schools at a cost of £25 per student, per term. Students travelling to the school by train can also apply online for a free ‘Student Connect Cambridgeshire’ card which gives students a 50% discount when they buy their season ticket online. For more information about this card, please visit www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/cambridgeschools.

Could a child currently attending a local 4-13 Prep school join The Upper in Year 7?

Our key entry points for The Upper are Year 7, Year 9 and Lower Sixth. The majority of children joining The Upper from local 4-13 Prep schools do so in Year 9 and, unless there are particular reasons for moving, most students remain in their 4-13 Prep school until the end of Year 8. Many enjoy being at the top of their Prep school and the responsibilities that come with it. If you are considering moving your son/daughter from a  4–13 Prep school prior to Year 9, it is worth arranging an appointment with Ed Elliott, Head, to discuss further.

You may also wish to read our Admissions Policy

What are your views on the International Baccalaureate?

We maintain a very broad subject base to GCSE to ensure that our students receive a rigorous all-round education up to the age of 16. Thereafter we believe that students do best when they have a free choice of subjects without the requirement to carry on with academic disciplines that they may not excel in or enjoy. They can study up to 5 subjects in the Sixth Form and this means that students with clear scientific talents can specialise by following courses in say Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Other students can decide to pursue an all-round Sixth Form education in the ‘IB style’ by opting for a humanity, science, language and creative subject combination. In this way Sixth Formers can design their own curriculum to meet their individual interests, aptitudes and career/university aspirations.

What arrangements are there for after school supervision?

At The Nursery and Pre-Prep, early and late stay arrangements allow children to be dropped at school at 8am and picked up at 5.30pm. There is a charge for this service.

At The Prep, late stay arrangements are available until 6pm. A charge is made for this service from 4pm.

The Upper school is open to pupils from 7.30am until 5.45pm, and the library provides a quiet environment for homework and other study from 8am until 5.45pm.

All three schools run after school clubs and activities.

Does The Perse accept applications from overseas students without family in the Cambridge area?

The Perse does not have any boarding accommodation therefore cannot accept applications from overseas pupils under the age of 16 without a parent or legal guardian resident in the Cambridge area.  We do award a small number of places in the Sixth Form to overseas pupils over the age of 16 whose guardianship arrangements have been approved by the school.

The vast majority of Sixth Form guardianship arrangements are organised through Cambridge Guardians.  Please contact Mrs Rebecca Clarke at rhclarke@cambridgeguardians.co.uk for more details.