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Tring Park School - please help ?

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Hi, It's the first time I've posted on here and I really enjoy reading all the articles and advice etc, however following the "ballet school ranking " debate, I'm wondering if anyone has positive information regarding Tring, as according to Ofsted it is an outstanding school, infact the ONLY outstanding vocational school, so surely there must be some quality teaching going on there ?

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Hi Margot - I think that the Ofsted report is an overview of the whole school - academic as well as the vocational side. Of all the disciplines offered,from what I understand,ballet has been identified as an area that might benefit from a fresh approach. My daughter recently went to view Tring and thought it to be "amazing". She will start at their CBA in September so I shall have 1st hand experience of their ballet tuition. From what we saw of the children there,we deduced that the school was a warm and welcoming establishment with happy pupils - in my mind they must be doing something right.

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The dance teachers are lovely there, and the accedemic side is excellent. But as with all schools they are given warning and notice when Ofsted is coming.

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Hello Margot

 

I read the thread you are refering to aswell. I don't have any first hand experience of the teaching of ballet in the main school - so can't help you there I'm afraid. However DD has attended the CBA since it's inception and can't fault the teaching.

 

As another user stated on the original thread it is only a very small percentage of parents/pupils attending these schools who actually contribute to this forum. With all schools, vocational or not, some pupils will have bad experiences, whereas others love it. If you have any concerns I would suggest you 'phone the school.

 

My dd still wants to audition there next year, even after reading the negative experiences expressed in the thread, although forewarned is foerarmed - If she does get a place we'll definitely be asking a lot of questions regarding those allowed onto the classical ballet strand, destination of pupils, also the number of present students who stay on for 6th form to study classical ballet (which I think would be the best benchmark regarding the students experience of the teaching). If we are then not satisfied she will go elsewhere.

 

Millie

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Just had a quick look at the ofsted inspection - http://www.ofsted.go...vider/ELS/50525

 

It is just for the 6th form dance course. Asuming the inspection is carried out in the same way as for "normal" schools, they would have only had 2 days notice!

Edited by Millie3

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Hello Margot, and welcome to the forum. :-)

 

I will repeat what I posted in the other thread; that no school is perfect. Yes, there are some experiences of concern on that thread, but it is my experience that whether we are discussing schools, shops, restaurants or car dealerships, people are quicker to share negative experiences than they are positive; that's human nature.

 

It's not that this board is full of negative people, far from it, and alongside the negative experiences there were plenty of positives; the dance teachers, the new studios, Mansion House and the beautiful grounds - all things that people love about Tring.

 

If I were you, I would read through that thread and note any areas that concern you. Go along to one of Tring's excellent open days, and speak to the staff there. Get a feel for the school and see what your gut feeling tells you.

 

If my daughter were auditioning there, I would make a beeline for Miss Rist and ask her questions about any issues that may concern you. See if any of the other Dance Teachers are available to speak to. The Head was very approachable when we went to an open day, so speak to him too.

 

Take on board people's experiences so that you know what to ask, but go to the school with an open mind.

 

But remember, even the most outstanding school will have issues that are annoying to parents. My dd's academic school is truly excellent in all respects and she loves it there, but there are some little issues which drive me mad. I have to pick my battles and decide which issues are important enough to tackle and which to ignore.

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Hi Margot, we were in the fortunate position that my daughter was offered a place at Tring as well as elmhurst and hammond. My daughter loved Tring (she boarded there when doing NYB) but the one thing that ruled it out for us was Rachel Rist and her attitude to the children prior to audition. All the other schools were very welcoming (as was everyone else at tring) whereas miss rist came over as quite "scary" as my daughter said! It may just be her way but it certainly put us off!

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All pupils on the dance course study classical ballet. However at the moment all MDS pupils are in one set (seniour dept) and study ballet to a much higher standard. Also from seniour level you will have a mixture of 6th form pupils mixed in with say yr 11s and that could be 2nd and 3rd year 6th formers. Every year it changes, they used to have a set A and B, again the ballet training was different in both. At least now due to this forum potential students/parents can ask relevant questions. I didnt know they there was different sets for classical ballet training when my dd first went there and what a shock it was. As everybody had said, the school itself is lovely, the dance teachers are very nice and teach to a good standard. The pastoral care is also good as is the medical side of things. There is only one problem in the school and it has been mentioned on numerous occassions. Unfortunately that one problem decides which direction your dd will go in dance wise.

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My dd's memory of her Tring and Elmhurst auditions - 3 years ago - are that the Head of Musical Theatre at Tring was "lovely" (in fact all the people in the room when she did her song, piano piece and recital were very welcoming and lovely), Miss Rist was "a bit intimidating" and "not very friendly", and that Mr Kelly at Elmhurst was "really friendly".

 

So there you are! Firsthand impressions from a little auditionee (she was 10 at the time). Although she was offered a Theatre Arts place which may explain why the people in the room were so nice! :-)

 

Conversely, I know people who think Miss Rist is lovely, so you never can tell. In my dealings with the old Junior Conservatoire (which became Tring Park Associates), all the teachers were great, in particular Rachel Lane and Miss Jones (is she still Head of Jazz?)

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I totally agree with you spanner and pony. Both academic schools, primary and secondary that my children went to were wonderful but there were some things that drove me mad too. But at the end of the day, my kids were happy and were being well educated so, yes, I too picked my battles.

My DD auditioned for Tring and was offered a place which she didn't take up and she went to YDA instead. Our experience at tring when we went with her for the audition was very positive, lovely friendly place, fabulous grounds. What decided us against it was the baffling and really IMO wrong approach to streaming the kids into ballet or musical theatre without consulting the child or parent. I don't know any other school which does this (correct me if I'm wrong) . It's like saving up for the holiday of a lifetime to Australia and once on the plane being rerouted somewhere also nice but one where you have no interest in going to. We couldn't take the risk as DD definitely wanted to go the classical route and we would've already paid the fees.

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Like Primrose, at the first audition for 6th form in Tring there was no mention of the fact that pupils would be allocated sets with a different mix of classes. We were given glossy flyers outlining the 2 year and the 3 year course. Those on the 2 year course would take more A levels and could audition for the 3rd year at the end of the 2 years. The 3 year course would be intensive, with obligatory morning classes and consequently a maximum of 2 A-levels would be studied. We signed up for the 3 year course.

 

When dd started there was absolutely no distinction between the two courses, and the pupils were allocated sets immediately. Only a few were in the "Classical set" and the others were in various sets which seemed to change from term to term. None of this seemed to tie in with the information we had been given previously.

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You put that across very well elly, I didnt realise that the aeroplane as it were could be diverted regardless of what all the other teachers said.

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The OfStEd inspection is very recent, and is very thorough. No school can get a report like that without being good. Even the comments that others have made on here regarding the communication between senior management and other staff can't be that bad otherwise they'll have been noticed. The school (academic) I work in has just done a staff questionnaire which wil be looked at come the next inspection and I know a lot of people have used it to comment about managment and communication etc. Incidentally, Ofsted also look at parent questionnaires and parent feedback....

 

Another point - Tring doesn't sell itself as a purely ballet school so I advise any pupil wanting to go there that it's an all-round training. To be brutally honest I think anyone who goes there needs to know that it isn't a ballet school and shouldn't expect to come out of it a ballet dancer.

Edited by dancerbabe82
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A lot of people on this forum have given their oppinion of Tring. I wonder what all the parents would say, who's children are at Tring. I am sorry but I know a large chunk would be saying the same. I know because we are there. I will shout it out, the teachers are lovely, it is down to one person at that school. I am Not naming who it its, and I could make a list of all the things that I have been furious about. Also if Ofsted did get to hear about some of the things that went on, I think that there would be some serious come back. Like it has been pointed out we do tend to be careful where we pick our battles, however you learn very quickly that it will go against you. Yes you could leave the school, but the accademic side is excellent, the dance teachers are very good and lastly once you are in year ten you are stuck due to GCSE. I can honestly say, it feels like four years of unhappiness for us as a family with this one very important member of staff, who I have NOT named.

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The OfStEd inspection is very recent, and is very thorough. No school can get a report like that without being good. Even the comments that others have made on here regarding the communication between senior management and other staff can't be that bad otherwise they'll have been noticed. The school (academic) I work in has just done a staff questionnaire which wil be looked at come the next inspection and I know a lot of people have used it to comment about managment and communication etc. Incidentally, Ofsted also look at parent questionnaires and parent feedback....

 

Another point - Tring doesn't sell itself as a purely ballet school so I advise any pupil wanting to go there that it's an all-round training. To be brutally honest I think anyone who goes there needs to know that it isn't a ballet school and shouldn't expect to come out of it a ballet dancer.

 

With all due respect dancerbabe82, I do have to disagree with your last statement. Although the course at Tring is, quite correctly, called a "Dance Course", I know two beautiful dancers who have trained classically at Tring.

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I wonder dancerbabe82 if you have personally tried to communicate with the seniour managment at the school. Well I have, so I would say alongside many, many parents that no it is not great at all. Yes you will be listened to politely but there will be no swaying of decisions being made.

It is not my intention to scare monger or put potential customers off the school at all but to give true accounts of our experiences. It is true, there are also many happy students and parents at the school. Disatisfaction comes from when you are led to believe one thing and then another thing happens and no amount of discussion will sway things. We arent a group of parents just having a grumble because things havent gone our own way. We are trying to give a rounded version of our experiences of the school, I might also add that the parents who have featured on this forum who have been disatified have proven that they were right all along as their children have secured places at mostly classical schools, however several have had to take private lessons to get them there. This is not because the teaching at Tring is bad, far from it, its because in our opinions they were not placed in the correct classical sets suited to the child.

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Dancerbabe said that people should not EXPECT to come out of Tring as a ballet dancer and from my experience i think that hat is realistic. That some people do come out as ballet dancers is a credit to them but two swallows do not a summer make!! There are no doubt some dancers that will be successful wherever they train!

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I certainly don't mean to negate the issues that people seem to have experienced so I apologise if I made it appear that way - I can well believe that being put in a class that you don't want to be in, and more seriiously, weren't told you were going to be in must be VERY upsetting. I'm more intrigued with what is going on there if OfStEd have been so positive, as I know from personal experience that in mainstream education OfStEd are difficult to please, and often hammer management - curiouser and curiouser!

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Poor Margot - she was looking for positive feedback and unfortunately quite a few negatives have come out again. I recognise that only a very small percentage of parents comment on this forum, but it does seem telling that there are no avid defenders. It would be helpful if anyone could name any classical ballet dancers that have been successful in major companies from Tring. Whenever I have asked, I've always been quoted Tyrone Singleton and Carrie Johnson who both went from Tring to BRB but that was in 2003, nearly 10 years ago!

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I wonder if the management at RBS are any different or indeed at Elmhurst.?. I know from my training that there are always the favourites and those less favoured at vocational schools.

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I have no problem with people posting their experiences here, but please be mindful of the Acceptable Use Policy which everyone here signed up to as part of the terms of use; in particular this part:

 

"If a member chooses to make highly critical comments this must be done in their own full name and not behind an anonymous user name and email address".

 

Please also be mindful that there are posters here whose children may be starting at Tring in the autumn. While it's beneficial to have as much information as possible, I would not like to think that as a forum we may be worrying anyone.

 

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Ruth Brill trained there and went onto ENBS and is now with BRB. Most of those we have known who have gone there have gone on else where to train for a few more years before getting work.

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I do apologise as just looking at Margots post she did indeed ask for positve feedback. I do honestly think though that people are giving a rounded view. I think everybody has said that the teaching is very good and so on. I dont think that people have been wrongly highly critical, if that is the case and I am one of these people then I will gladly sign my name if required.

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I think that there have been some positive points been made about Tring, however some of the negative have also been commented on. Although I have been careful not to name people and do not mind giving my full name, however again would that not go against my daughter? Should we be careful about being honest and telling our stories. Perhaps as this is an open forum it would do the school good to read these views.

 

Margot, the grounds are lovely, the accademic side is excellent and the dance teachers who teach are usually dedicated to their students.

 

The accomodation side barely scraped a satisfactory, there were also areas that were not been met e.g permission forms for medication. The medical side are now trying to rectify these areas. The living areas are not good enough, infestation of bugs in sleeping areas, again the school have tried really hard to rectify this, but the problem is still there. My daughter woke up covered in bites, she had to go to the school nurse for some antihistamine. On one occasion my daughter was on top floor, she stood on the windowsill trying to lift one of the sash windows to open it, if she had fallen forward she would have gone through the window. Again the house staff told the children not to open that window, so they tried to deal with the problem.

 

I am so sorry but I have tried to give some positive feedback, but the negative keeps jumping out. I could give a lovely flowery picture, but should we be honest.

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The dancers who train a tring come out with a rounded education in dance. They learn, jazz, contemporary, tap and of course ballet. This then makes them very employable and the end game is to be employed.

It makes me sad that there so many negative comments about a school that can offer so much.

I am very excited to be able to say I am attending tring in September and truly believe that given the facilities and the teaching its over to us as students to take from it what we will and become the dancers we choose to be.

You get out what you put in.

For those of us who have not yet had the OPPORTUNITY to train vocationally we have not lost sight of what a privilege it is.

To get to this place I have had to do long academic school days, 13 GCSE's and then train in classes finishing at 10 pm, plus associate courses on the weekends.

Maybe I have such optimism because I have been brought up to believe that my cup is half full and not half empty.

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Congratulations ballerinaX for gaining your place at Tring, I hope you will have a great time there. The students there are lovely people and I am sure you will be welcomed with open arms.

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Elly, I really like your metaphor. I must have still been typing while you were posting. Yes they kept trying to send my dd to a destination she had no interest in.

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A very mature and considered response to this thread ballerinaX.

 

My dd is also starting at tring in sept and yes I have found these details distressing. However, this is an open forum and everyone is invited to share their responses - tulip and primrose, i appreciate your honesty- it has made me aware of problems we might face and I will keep proactive and make sure I am well informed.

 

BallerinaX- we are in the same position as you and will grab this opportunity with both hands. Lil

 

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Lildancer96, I do apologise if I have distessed you in anyway as that was not my intention at all. I think that it might be more benefitial if maybe from now on I just give positive feedback as I can understand that for people just about to embark on the journey how upsetting to hear negatives about their chosen school. I would also just like to add that there are quite a few posters who have given honest feedback about Tring apart from just myself and Tulip. I hope Lildancer96 that your dd has a wonderful time at Tring.

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BallerinaX and Lildancer96, I hope you have a wonderful time at Tring. It will be a new opportunity for both of you. It is just good to know about the good things but equally it is perhaps best to be forwarned about a lot of the issues other people have mentioned on this forum, so it will not be a shock if you come accross any of the situations that some of us have mentioned. It is indeed a very exciting time, I hope the both of you will be succesful and fulfill your dreams.

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