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What is the difference between the BTEC and the Vocational?

The BTEC Course is Government Funded and we put these hours into three full college days a week. The Vocational Course is a privately-funded addition to the BTEC programme and adds two more days of training a week, to complete a full week of study. The Vocational Course covers addition subjects that are not part of the BTEC syllabus.

How many people are accepted and how many do you audition?

Our auditions vary year to year, but we currently do not have a cap on acceptances and are looking more for the right individuals to join our course, rather than filling a particular quota.

Will disability affect my child’s application?


Are you able to audition via video or DVD?


Do you hold any open days?

Our Audition Days are ‘a day in the life at Jackie Palmer Academy’ and, therefore, we do not offer separate Open Days. However, we do hold a Parents’ Evening before the start of Term One in September, to show parents around and answer any questions. We are, also, always at the end of the phone and if there are any specific issues that need to be discussed, we can arrange an appropriate meeting.

My son/daughter has only been singing and dancing for a couple of years but really want to study musical theatre; does he/she have enough experience to apply for the course?

We have many students who have more, or less, experience in one of the disciplines.  We aim to make ALL our students competent at all three by the time they leave our school, as versatility is becoming increasingly important within the professional industry. As long as you have passion for performing, it is worth auditioning.

When is the closing date for receipt of applications?

We take applications throughout the year and have auditions between November and June.

My son/daughter has already done a year on a different course but doesn’t like it; is he/she able to transfer onto the BTEC course at Jackie Palmer Academy and go straight into the second year?

This all depends on the Examination Board and whether the units completed in the first year match up. If the same BTEC units have been completed, a transfer can be done, but this would need to be discussed in person and a decision would be made on an individual applicant basis.

What’s the minimum and maximum applicant age?

The minimum age is 16 and the maximum age depends on prior learning and qualifications. Generally, our student body for the BTEC Course has a maximum age of 18-19 and our Gap Year students tend to be 18-22 years old.

Are there any residential halls for new students?

We do not have residential halls, but have helped students find accommodation in the past. There is affordable student housing linked to the university just around the corner.

What is High Wycombe like?

High Wycombe is a diverse community. Our studios are directly across from The Eden Shopping Centre and the Bus Station, and only a 10 minute walk from the train station making our location very convenient for buying food and drinks and for travel.

What does a typical timetable look like and how is the day structured?

Classes start at 9am and generally run until 4pm. Typically, classes are 1.5 hours long, with a 15 minute break between classes and 45 minutes for lunch. This schedule is subject to change at any time and generally does so around show production weeks.

Are there many males on the course?

As is typical in the performing arts industry, our female students outnumber our male students. However, we always have a good group of male students, who bond together through their two years on the BTEC Course.

How strict is it going to be?

We pride ourselves on behaving in a professional manner, to give students both the practical and life skills needed for this demanding industry. We expect great attendance, punctuality, focus and dedication at all times. If these ‘rules’ are adhered to, we will give everything to the students to make sure their time at Jackie Palmer Academy is challenging, yet fulfilling.

How is the timetable split between dancing, acting and singing?

The timetable is split fairly equally between the three disciplines. During different times of the academic year we may focus on different elements slightly more or slightly less, depending on upcoming assessments and performances.

I’m dyslexic, is there much support for me at the school?

Provisions are made for those students who need extra support and a meeting can be set up before the beginning of Term One in September to discuss any requirements necessary.

Is there any written work?

The new BTEC syllabus has a written research element for each unit, which is then followed up with practical exploration and evaluation. There are seven mandatory units, each with a heavy theoretical element to them, and four externally marked units which are both practical and written.

Do students get to go on any organised theatre trips to see shows and, if so, are they required to pay for these?

Theatre trips are an important part of the learning process – to watch professionals and evaluate their performances, both good and bad, helps address the areas in oneself that need to be focused on. We organise a minimum of two theatre trips a year, which students ARE required to pay for themselves, but we often are able to get group discount rates.

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