Chulmleigh Academy Trust

Skip to content ↓

Chulmleigh Community College

Chulmleigh Community College, Chulmleigh, Devon, EX18 7AA

Ben makes the Grade

Ben Charlton, age 15, achieves professional level grade on guitar

Chulmleigh College Student Categorised Professional Musician Standard after Achieving Grade 8 Guitar at
15 years old


Chulmleigh Community College Excels at Music, Records Highest level of Peripatetic Music Lessons of any Devon Secondary School



Chulmleigh, Devon, 06 March 2014 – 15 year old Chulmleigh Community College student, Ben Charlton, is celebrating after achieving an 83 per cent Merit Pass in his Grade 8 Guitar exam this week. Grade 8 represents the highest level of examination possible and categorises the young Devonian singer songwriter as professional standard in guitar.

“I’m just blown away,” says Ben Charlton. “The exam was hard and I was nervous beforehand but I loved every minute of the preparation. I would like to thank my school music teacher, James Cookson, and my music tutor, Kevin Butts, for all the support they have given me during my time at the school.”

Ben will take his GCSE exams this summer and then hopes to enrol at Exeter College where he will study music performance and music technology alongside traditional A level subjects. Eventually, he hopes to read a BA in Contemporary Music at either Bath Spa University or the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.

Chulmleigh College top Devon school in music tuition
Chulmleigh Community College registers the highest level of peripatetic music lessons per capita of any school in Devon and this willingness to support its students’ musical ambitions outside of the scheduled lessons is paying off. This is the second year in succession that one of its Year 11 students has achieved Grade 8 guitar: last year Will Heggadon achieved the same distinction. He has gone on to Exeter College where his musical talents continue to grow.

As well as being a hot-bed for young aspiring guitar players, Chulmleigh College includes a number of other talented musicians amongst its ranks.

“Our warmest congratulations go to Ben on this tremendous achievement,” commented Mike Johnson, Executive Head Teacher at Chulmleigh Community College. “This superb achievement follows a distinction at grade 8 last year from Will Heggadon, also a superb guitarist, and we anticipate a Grade 8 cornet success coming up this term from Mark Rottenbury. Other recent successes include a distinction at Grade 8 Trombone from Jon Rottenbury who is now started studying to be a professional musician at Birmingham Conservatoire and of course RM Bandsman Jon Salmon who is playing in the most famous band in the world.

“We are so proud of our musicians here. The College’s Chamber Ensemble has just returned from performing in schools and at the National Cultural Centre in Kampala, Uganda, as part of the College’s cultural visit, Johnson continued.  “We are seeing tremendous new investment at the college which has enabled us to provide top quality teaching facilities and resources in a wide range of subjects including music. Ben is an excellent example of what a young person with strong personal drive and great teaching support can achieve.”