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I agree that MDS is a specific number of students at RBS and Elmhurst (almost) but at Tring and Hammond a certain amount of money is available and number of MDS awardees will change. I suppose that could also be whether existing MDS awardees were leaving or being assessed out of the school. This is why Tring would advise a rough number, ie 4-6. Well they always used to.

 

My point is that an earlier poster wondered if RBS could give out more MDS if there was money left but this would be impossible if there weren't the beds to accommodate those extra children.

 

The benefit of Hammond was always the bursaries, their own extra pot that they could award if the MDS's ran out and sometimes this could work out better value for the parents than an MDS.

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Blimey it's all so complicated. As said earlier if if was a bit more transparent we'd all understand if a bit better.

You read my mind - the more I know the less I understand :-( :-(

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Indeed. There will be several posters whose DC have gone through the auditions process and finally succeeded in gaining a big 4 place before 16. So there's always hope amongst the complicated funding processes and I sincerely believe, having come out the other side that every school does its best to be fair and to use their limited budgets for their children as best they can. You'll rarely read on here from those that didn't succeed for the simple reason that they, and their children, have probably moved on to pastures new.

 

However, during those pre16 years my DD was never offered a place. Got a finals wait list place at Elmhurst, un-funded at Tring, bursary offer we couldn't afford at Hammond so you may think that my DD came out scarred and battle worn. She didn't! She's a strong, dedicated and focused person but one that's also realistic and not at all bitter which are huge and important lessons to learn in life.

 

Children are very tough and if allowed to push towards their dreams, albeit with boundaries (too expensive, too far away) will bounce back and will be better for it.

 

Finally, the funding situation changes regularly and none of us can predict what will be in place by next year, let alone 3 or 4 years down the road so my advice would be to just go with the flow and enjoy your DC's dancing.

 

PS. My DD is now in a 6th form vocational ballet school and very happy. That's all we can ask. ((-:

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... I am sticking my head above the parapet here, but I am also not certain why the CAT schemes offer MDS funding, whereas the likes of YoungDancersAcademy cannot. Is this the same sliding scale as for the 'Big 4' vocational lower schools or is it at a lower level because children are not boarders? Surely children whose families are prepared to pay for their regular travelling to CAT schemes and juggling their CAT and own dance school commitments with 'ordinary' schooling commitments are far more likely to be from a relatively wealthy background? Do the CAT schemes have a set number of MDS places they can offer per year and is that akin to the number of MDS places that RBS, Elmhurst, Hammond or Tring can offer?

We have MDS for dd on CAT scheme. The MDS can allow for travel expenses to be reclaimed plus some uniform costs. It also covers mid week ballet training with recognised teachers (ie; RAD)

 

We were told that in year 7 / age 11 the scheme follows pretty much the same syllabus as Vocational schools and is similar in dance hours for the same vocational school year.

 

There is a limit on the amount of places available.

 

It's about 60% ballet and 40% contemporary and we were/are told there is a proportion of dancers who go onto full time vocational ballet schools throughout ages 12-18 We were given a bunch of statistics at the open day but I can't remember them.

 

I personally feel our tax payers / lottery money would go a lot further with CAT schemes. I feel that all this choosing on talent argument loses meaning when a massive chunk of funds go on private school academic education and not just dance education.

 

I don't see why funds that should go on developing dance talent are channelled to financing an expensive private school education.

 

I know academic attainment is important but I don't see why MDS funding should cover this. Surely it's music and dance for a reason.

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Sorry should have said that to put in context financially, Tring without funding is about £27k per annum whereas CAT scheme without funding is about £3,500 per annum.

 

So the way I look at this, in simple terms, about £23k per annum of MDS funding at Tring for example goes towards academic development 85% if assuming it costs the same as a CAT scheme to deliver dance training

 

Maybe I'm looking at this inaccurately?

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Sorry should have said that to put in context financially, Tring without funding is about £27k per annum whereas CAT scheme without funding is about £3,500 per annum.

 

So the way I look at this, in simple terms, about £23k per annum of MDS funding at Tring for example goes towards academic development 85% if assuming it costs the same as a CAT scheme to deliver dance training

 

Maybe I'm looking at this inaccurately?

There would have to be a lot more CAT schemes across the country that were travelling distance for all awardees in the country to make this work. If you're living in Cumbria and gain a place at a CAT scheme in Swindon it would be impossible to live and attend an academic school in your local area.

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I thought some of you might be interested to learn about the history of the MDS so here's a link to some archives:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20040116235613/http://dfes.gov.uk/mds/history.shtml

 

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20040116235613/http://dfes.gov.uk/mds/index.shtml

 

I think the key paragraph to remember is this:

 

"Access to Excellence"

"The aim of the scheme is to help identify, and assist, children with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class specialist training as part of a broad and balanced education, which will enable them, if they choose, to proceed towards self-sustaining careers in music and dance." - Music and Dance Scheme Advisory Group's Report 2000/01

 

I think an earlier poster mentioned that the full monetary value of an MDS award should be split if a family doesn't need all the money because of their income scale.  If that principle were followed what would happen to the child if suddenly the family circumstances changed?  At the moment the child is guaranteed their place irrespective of what the family earns - they pay more or less according to their income.  If the surplus money was given to another child, then the first child may end up having to leave the school should their family income suffer a downward turn.  

Also, with regard to the income that the school receives, the school receives exactly the same income - the fees per student remain the same it's just that a proportion of it comes from the government and the remainder from the family - but the amount received by the school is exactly the same.  

Our own experience of the being blessed with an MDS is that our DD was offered a place at Hammond & Tring and MDS funding auditions for both.  After much discussion, we didn't do the funding audition at the Hammond although they did subsequently ring and offer a bursary place anyway which was very difficult to turn down especially when DD didn't get an MDS for Tring.  However, DD felt that Tring was the right place for her and we sent her there on a full fee paying basis in September 2014.  This was not easy for us and I think (as has been mentioned many times on this forum) people should not underestimate the sacrifices that take place in order to find the money for the fees no matter what the income level.  We all have different sets of circumstances to allow for and just because you earn more money doesn't necessarily mean your disposable income is greater.  

DD re-auditioned for an MDS in Spring 2015 and was successful, which was actually a huge relief as my self-employment income was about to disappear entirely and this was the income that gave us the ability to pay for the fees in the first place.

Our relief now at knowing that our DD's vocational study is secure whatever happens to our family income is immeasurable.  This year my income is restored and our parental contribution will increase significantly again but who knows what is around the corner?  This is the true blessing of the MDS - it assures the dancer's educational irrespective of family circumstance as long as the dancer maintains that potential to have a career in classical dance.  It has to remain an award given to the most suitable at the point of audition.  We know even that isn't perfect - what if a dancer has an off day? what if a dancer doesn't cope well in audition environments?....but given the subjective nature or dance it is as fair as it can be and for me I it's a scheme that I am personally hugely grateful for. 

 

I know that should DD's facility or ability not continue to meet the criteria, then we may not retain the MDS but again that falls into the wealth of "what ifs" that surround this beautiful art of ballet.  
 

Hopefully, this will help those just setting out to know that even if your DC doesn't get an Award this time around, they may be the right child next time round.  Again, (we've heard this before on the forum) children develop at different rates and some will only show their true potential later than their peers.  The main thing is to be realistic with your children but allow them to chase their dream the best way you can within your own personal set of circumstances and not worry about what others have or haven't got.

 

 

Edited for font blips :) 

Edited by DancingDays
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There would have to be a lot more CAT schemes across the country that were travelling distance for all awardees in the country to make this work. If you're living in Cumbria and gain a place at a CAT scheme in Swindon it would be impossible to live and attend an academic school in your local area.

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I agree with this, especially as with the CAT schemes you have to attend a couple of evenings in the week. Not always practical when you are working and there are siblings to consider. Even in urban areas it can be difficult just because of travelling at rush hour and logistics.

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I agree with this, especially as with the CAT schemes you have to attend a couple of evenings in the week. Not always practical when you are working and there are siblings to consider. Even in urban areas it can be difficult just because of travelling at rush hour and logistics.

I think that most have 'satelite' centres that are within reasonable travel distance (ours is 26 miles away) but some of the compulsory ballet can be done with local and recognised RAD teacher (don't know if it's just RAD) but my DD aged 11 has to do one midweek contemporary class 26 miles away then when she turns 12 another compulsory ballet session has to be done but that can be with own teacher.

 

I just think that the private education costs and boarding swallow up a huge amount of funding that could be redirected towards pure dance tuition and CAT schemes are an ideal platform for this. The question of credibility, prestige, ballet focus rather than heavy bias towards contemporary, and ballet employment opportunities still remains though.

 

Does anyone know any good resources for CAT outcomes age 18?

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It's a good point Annaliesey. Another issue is that as they get older fitting the schoolwork in becomes tricky and that's a big advantage of boarding school. Re: CATS there is only 1 fully classical in Leeds and access is therefore limited. Both of these issues have been big factors in our choice of education for dd.

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I think an earlier poster mentioned that the full monetary value of an MDS award should be split if a family doesn't need all the money because of their income scale.  If that principle were followed what would happen to the child if suddenly the family circumstances changed?  At the moment the child is guaranteed their place irrespective of what the family earns - they pay more or less according to their income.  If the surplus money was given to another child, then the first child may end up having to leave the school should their family income suffer a downward turn.  

 

There is insurance to cover school fees if circumstances change drastically downwards during a school year, so that wouldn't be an issue.  

 

The entitlement would surely be re-assessed each year anyway (since people's income can go up as well as down), so every year the students would be allocated a recalculated figure out of the pot based on family income, and the remaining amount left would then go to new entrants.

 

As things stand at present, someone with a higher family income is allocated a place (and they pay the additional fees which they can afford) and the balance of the MDS money goes nowhere. This means that others on lower incomes are unable to afford a place at all.

 

People earning (say) £150k a year are going to be able to economise and pay for an unfunded place if they need to. A family with earnings of under £30k stands no chance at all. 

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There are no classical schemes anywhere near to us. Birmingham & Manchester are both contemporary & it takes up to 2 hours to get there. As far as I am aware neither fund ballet or other training with local teachers. Birmingham runs on Sunday's, not sure about Manchester.

 

Fitting in normal school would be next to impossible. With between 60-90 mins of homework per night (which often requires internet access).

 

So I agree Cat Schemes are great if you can access them but there would need to be far more centres & more classical schemes.

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There is insurance to cover school fees if circumstances change drastically downwards during a school year, so that wouldn't be an issue.  

 

The entitlement would surely be re-assessed each year anyway (since people's income can go up as well as down), so every year the students would be allocated a recalculated figure out of the pot based on family income, and the remaining amount left would then go to new entrants.

 

As things stand at present, someone with a higher family income is allocated a place (and they pay the additional fees which they can afford) and the balance of the MDS money goes nowhere. This means that others on lower incomes are unable to afford a place at all.

 

People earning (say) £150k a year are going to be able to economise and pay for an unfunded place if they need to. A family with earnings of under £30k stands no chance at all. 

 

Yes, the insurance would pay the current year but not subsequent years.  The MDS stays with the pupil through the school (unless they no longer fit the criteria). In my mind this protects and enables the potential of the child which I think it the intention of the MDS purpose.

 

For example, if there is a £30k maximum MDS,  Child A is offered it and family income means parental contribution of £10k / government contribution of £20k.  If the school then gives the other £10k to Child B and then Child A's family income drops so they now need a £25k assistance, where will that come from?  Insurance pays the rest of first year but what about year 2?  Does the school up Child A to £25k (as first child awarded) which now means Child B can't afford it....or does Child A suffer?

Compound that with the fact that the schools would have the added burden of trying keep track of more than one family per fund and it would lead to a mess in no time...

 

I don't see it as a workable solution.  For school bursaries then a pot of money budgeted for by the school can be split however many ways it allows for, but the MDS is different I think.

 

 

 

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It could be a workable solution if it were calculated in the same way as DaDa funding is now though (via a pot). We were talking hypothetically about how it could be done differently instead of how it is now.

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My dd did Birmingham CAT a few years ago and even though it was a contemporary scheme, they had a weekly ballet class ( usually with an artist from BRB) and they paid for her RAD class at her usual ballet school. The MDS covered the fees and ballet classes .

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Indeed. There will be several posters whose DC have gone through the auditions process and finally succeeded in gaining a big 4 place before 16. So there's always hope amongst the complicated funding processes and I sincerely believe, having come out the other side that every school does its best to be fair and to use their limited budgets for their children as best they can. You'll rarely read on here from those that didn't succeed for the simple reason that they, and their children, have probably moved on to pastures new.

 

However, during those pre16 years my DD was never offered a place. Got a finals wait list place at Elmhurst, un-funded at Tring, bursary offer we couldn't afford at Hammond so you may think that my DD came out scarred and battle worn. She didn't! She's a strong, dedicated and focused person but one that's also realistic and not at all bitter which are huge and important lessons to learn in life.

 

Children are very tough and if allowed to push towards their dreams, albeit with boundaries (too expensive, too far away) will bounce back and will be better for it.

 

Finally, the funding situation changes regularly and none of us can predict what will be in place by next year, let alone 3 or 4 years down the road so my advice would be to just go with the flow and enjoy your DC's dancing.

 

PS. My DD is now in a 6th form vocational ballet school and very happy. That's all we can ask. ((-:

thanks so much for this, I agree, and I guess im going to just have to sit back and be patient for some years and see what will be will be. I am grateful that I have learnt from posts such as yours that even if she doesn't get on JA schemes or get vocational placement in year 7 it doesn't mean its the end of the road. I think this is what I initially thought which was part of the reason I wanted to 'plan ahead' to get the ball rolling and get her in as best condition to apply for the JA schemes, and yes we will still apply next year but I wont let it cause heartbreak if no places are offered as I have learnt from this forum that a 'yes' is far more often than not preceded by a lot of 'no's'. I think its a bumpier journey than I had anticipated but one perhaps filled with more opportunities and choices than I realised.  

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Yes, the insurance would pay the current year but not subsequent years.  The MDS stays with the pupil through the school (unless they no longer fit the criteria). In my mind this protects and enables the potential of the child which I think it the intention of the MDS purpose.

 

For example, if there is a £30k maximum MDS,  Child A is offered it and family income means parental contribution of £10k / government contribution of £20k.  If the school then gives the other £10k to Child B and then Child A's family income drops so they now need a £25k assistance, where will that come from?  Insurance pays the rest of first year but what about year 2?  Does the school up Child A to £25k (as first child awarded) which now means Child B can't afford it....or does Child A suffer?

Compound that with the fact that the schools would have the added burden of trying keep track of more than one family per fund and it would lead to a mess in no time...

 

I don't see it as a workable solution.  For school bursaries then a pot of money budgeted for by the school can be split however many ways it allows for, but the MDS is different I think.

 

 

There is never going to be an 'ideal solution whilst circumstances can change so readily. I think the whole point has to be that the government actually keep control of the money whilst it is 'awarded' by the school/external judges. There would (& I am sure is) always a contingency for such changes but if accurate (& honest) means testing was done then I guesstimate that when one family's MDS government contribution needed to be increased due to family changes (divorce. job loss, extra siblings etc) there is just as likely to be another elsewhere where there has been a marriage or a promotion etc so there fair contributions would increase.....

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Ok so I'm speaking hyperthetically but what if DD was offered a place in vocational training in year 7 but didn't get funding (via the audition process) but me and DH could stretch and pull money from equity etc to pay for first year would DD get the opportunity to apply for funding in year 8? Or even for those families on a high income say above 90k where they are not eligible for funding, what protects their DC's place if their income drops and they can't afford it any more? Is there individual insurance that can support this. This probably won't be relavent to me but I'm just intrigued at how it all works X

Edited by Mumofthree

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Financial cut off for MDS funding is much higher than the DADA and is about £147k. If a child suddenly requires funding, I believe it will be up to the school to determine if that child warrants a helping hand from their bursary allowance.

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