"I can’t see any disadvantage to balancing a strong academic education with specialist training – if it’s delivered in the right way," says Elizabeth Cairncross, head of Wells Cathedral School, which has made a name for itself as a place that fosters musical talent.
It’s a belief shared by staff at other specialist schools, who are proud to offer academic rigour alongside dedicated teaching and tailored facilities.
Passion, of course, is crucial for success. Specialist schools tend to run a long, varied and busy day.
“Children learn to manage their time quickly, juggling a changing timetable and handling performing to the public – and to their peers,” says Bryony Bell, marketing manager at Chetham’s School of Music.
“That helps build confidence and gives them a range of skills to take forward, wherever life takes them after they leave school."
Opportunities are there for any child with talent regardless of their parents’ circumstances, thanks to often generous funding, says Sarah Evans, acting principal at Elmhurst School for Dance.
“There are a lot of families here who would never have considered an independent boarding school were it not for their child being gifted”.