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hoglett

Vocational school at 16

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Hi there,have had a quick search and getting more confused!  Can somebody tell me what opportunities there are for DC at aged 16? Looking for ballet really plus perhaps contemporary.  Plus do they have GCSE entry requirements?

When is the best time to audition please? Like I say,I have searched  and looked on websites but I am getting confused between diplomas and three year courses and whether they are to start at 16 or 18.

 

Thanks.

Edited by hoglett
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DC aged 16 can do either further education (btec level 3) or the level 6 Trinity diploma or in some instances BA hons degrees.  If they do the btec , it is equivalent to 3 A levels and another route to degree entry aged 18.

 

Trinity level 6 diplomas are 3 year courses that are funded by DADAs or self funded. I'll put the link to DADAs below and that will list the colleges it applies to. You can do the trinity diploma aged 16 but some colleges accept older students too. RBS, Elmhurst, Tring, Hammond, Northern Ballet are just some of the ones that do the diploma. Not all students on these courses will be offered funding.

 

For ballet there are some places that accept students onto BA Honours courses - including off the top of my head - Central School of Ballet, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Ballet West.  Degrees for contemporary are usually from aged 18. Degree courses are normally with student loans.

 

GCSE requirements vary from college to the next and you would need check with any you are interested in, especially if it somewhere like Tring or Hammond and your DC want to study A levels alongside as they would need to meet subject entry requirements.

 

Time to audition - auditions generally take place in year 11 between November and March, with finals generally around March time. Again the process varies from college to college. Some you can select your audition date, others allocate in order of receipt of application form.  Up to you and your DC if you prefer to go for earlier auditions or later ones - and what fits in best with your school and family lives.

 

https://www.gov.uk/dance-drama-awards

 

Hope I've said something here that helps

 

 

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2dancersmum...this is fabulous information.  Thank you so much. I've read about all of these different things and seen the various courses mentioned but i get so bogged down and never really manage to pinpoint ages and probable routes. Thank you-this is so much clearer now. Exactly what I needed.

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If your dc is looking at predominantly ballet assume that s/he will be auditioning in year 11 as most go for 16+ entry. It does also give you the option to try again the next year if all does not go according to plan. You don't say how far in the future this will be, but I would definitely consider getting some exposure to the schools via summer schools, short courses, workshops whatever. It will also give your dc a sense of what the individual schools are like. Particularly important if they are going to be a long way from home. Also for BA courses, those schools that are part of the conservatoire scheme (such as Central)  can access full tuition fee loan like a 'normal' degree course, those that are classed as private universities, like Ballet West are eligible for around two thirds the amount. What you actually have to pay depends very much on where you live. The www.gov.uk  link is essential reading material for this. My dd has a BA Sept 2017 offer that is subject to 5 GCSEs at A* - C. Hope this helps.

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Funding is a big decider! DADA funding is means-tested. If you don’t qualify to apply for a DADA, or are not successful with your application, Tring is an eye-watering £34k a year (for boarders). Hammond and Elmhurst slightly cheaper. However, fees are capped to just over £9k a year (+ accommodation) if it is a BA course, and you can apply for student loans - e.g. Central, RCS, Rambert, Ballet West. I think 6th forms (Elmhurst, Hammond, Tring) would only accept 16 year olds. Central prefer entry at 16, Rambert (50/50 ballet/contemporary) seems to prefer 17 or 18 year old applicants. Ballet West seem to be fairly flexible regarding age of entry. Not sure about RCS. 

Edited by BlueLou
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I agree 100% with BlueLou. Look very carefully at the funding arrangements, figure out what you realistically can and can't afford and make that very clear to your DC from the outset. I know that might seem harsh, but personally I think it's best to be completely realistic from the outset.

We aren't eligible for DADA funding so I made sure my DD only auditioned for courses that would allow her to get student finance. This did rule out a number of courses which I think would have really suited her, which was sad, but realistically I could not have self funded without majorly impacting on my other children. DD understood that and in fact said that she wouldn't have let me pay for her even if I had tried to.

I would do the sums first, have any hard conversations at the beginning of the process then everyone involved knows where they stand. And don't forget to think about costs like living accommodation, travel and so on as well as fees, as that can make a big difference. Good luck - it's a difficult time.

 

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3 hours ago, BlueLou said:

Funding is a big decider! DADA funding is means-tested. If you don’t qualify to apply for a DADA, or are not successful with your application, Tring is an eye-watering £34k a year (for boarders). Hammond and Elmhurst slightly cheaper. However, fees are capped to just over £9k a year (+ accommodation) if it is a BA course, and you can apply for student loans - e.g. Central, RCS, Rambert, Ballet West. I think 6th forms (Elmhurst, Hammond, Tring) would only accept 16 year olds. Central prefer entry at 16, Rambert (50/50 ballet/contemporary) seems to prefer 17 or 18 year old applicants. Ballet West seem to be fairly flexible regarding age of entry. Not sure about RCS. 

So if you qualify for a DADA...could there be a chance then that you still don't get it?

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8 minutes ago, hoglett said:

So if you qualify for a DADA...could there be a chance then that you still don't get it?

Yes, the schools only have a limited amount of DaDa funding, so you could be offered a place with funding, a place on the waiting list for funding, or just a place without funding.

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1 hour ago, taxi4ballet said:

Yes, the schools only have a limited amount of DaDa funding, so you could be offered a place with funding, a place on the waiting list for funding, or just a place without funding.

Thanks taxi4ballet...knew it wouldn't be easy but I'm glad I've thought about it now so we've got time to discuss it and have a look around. 

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Also factor in the cost of watching end of term/year shows, ie tickets, travel, accommodation if required and meals.  Then there can be physio costs or health insurance policies. I decided not to take out a policy (it wasn't a requirement of the school) but pay for private physio if needed. Thankfully daughter only needed a couple of courses of physio during the 3 years. There may be costs for extra lessons and entry fees for vocational exams.  All the hidden extras that you may not think about at the outset can add up considerably.  Sorry for sounding like the voice of doom!!

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9 hours ago, BlueLou said:

Funding is a big decider! DADA funding is means-tested. If you don’t qualify to apply for a DADA, or are not successful with your application, Tring is an eye-watering £34k a year (for boarders). Hammond and Elmhurst slightly cheaper. However, fees are capped to just over £9k a year (+ accommodation) if it is a BA course, and you can apply for student loans - e.g. Central, RCS, Rambert, Ballet West. I think 6th forms (Elmhurst, Hammond, Tring) would only accept 16 year olds. Central prefer entry at 16, Rambert (50/50 ballet/contemporary) seems to prefer 17 or 18 year old applicants. Ballet West seem to be fairly flexible regarding age of entry. Not sure about RCS. 

There are several students at Elmhurst in  the current 1st year 6th form were older than 16 at entry 

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Hammond most definitely do not accept only 16 years olds. There is usually a good mix of students starting on the diploma at 16, 18 or sometimes even older.

 

Hoglett - I agree with the others who have said funding is key and to be honest with your DC. My DD applied at 16 to a number of schools, but it was with the full understanding that if she did not get funding she would not be able to go. She felt it was worth a try as if unsuccessful at 16 it would have given her valuable audition experience to try again at 18. Luckily she was successful as her local ballet school had taken her as far as they could and no other schools in the area even did advanced classes. If auditioning at 16, you do need to look at a plan B in case you either do not get a place or do not get funding and cannot take up the place. This may be continuing with dance classes locally and doing A levels. doing a btec locally or doing a btec at a dance college and boarding/staying with a host family. You do need to consider what all your options are and routes your DC could take to reach their goals.

 

MoveIt dance exhibition in March each year in London or the CDET dance conferences can be good places to go and collect information and get advice.

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Celb and 2dancersmum - very interesting that Elmhurst and Hammond accept older than 16! I assumed that as they were technically 6th form ‘schools’ that would not be the case, but presumably as they are private businesses they can do what they like :) 

Move It dance exhibition is a fabulous experience and I would thoroughly recommend it, but don’t expect to pick up much info on classical training. It’s more geared towards your LSC, Urdang, Bird, etc… type colleges. 

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On a slightly brighter note re the financial aspects, when you are doing your sums don't forget to include expenses that you WON'T have if your DC goes away. There's the obvious of course - no local dance lessons and associate classes if you do those. Also if your DC competes in festivals at all, the costs that go with that disappear. Your weekly grocery bill will go down, and I noticed a significant decrease in utility bills - especially water, as my DD is fond of having at least one bath and one shower a day!

I'm not trying to pretend that those things in anyway cover the additional costs, but they are not insignificant. My initial financial projections were actually a bit worse than things have turned out in reality this year so I've been quite pleased. I suppose it's better that way than underestimating the costs and getting a nasty shock!

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Bluelou - The course at Hammond is the level 6 Trinity diploma in either dance or musical theatre and as such is a higher education qualification with the Hammond being an institution of higher education rather than a sixth form (for further education) so its perhaps a bit misleading when people refer to 'school' and 'sixth form'.  There is no automatic progression from year 11 onto the diploma courses but a completely separate entry procedure. Also, it is a full 3 year course . If you leave at 18  you don't leave with a level 3 or 4 qualification in dance or ballet - they don't have that option.  2 A levels can be studied alongside the diploma but that is optional - the timetable slots are for either A levels or pilates/Zumba and a lot go for qualifications in pilates rather than A levels.

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15 minutes ago, lilacfairy said:

Rambert welcome 16 year olds also!

 

Dd is going to apply for entry at 16 (2018 entry) but has been advised that they tend to take more at 17 or 18 because they are more mature. Still, going to give it a go! Do you happen to know roughly what percentage of the intake are 16?

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I know of several dc's who have been offered places at Rambert at 16 in the past, both vocational and non vocational.

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Thank you everybody so much for all of your advice - it is much clearer now about where she can apply and when.  The other thing that I find is it's much easier to have difficult conversations along the lines of - you might get in and not be able to go because of funding - when I say that we're having this conversation because of advice from this forum.  It's more like people who know are saying it than just me!  I find it so difficult to have conversations with many other parents - dancing and non dancing as I just know that they are looking at me and thinking - she's deluded!  We know it's tough, she doesn't want to be the next Darcey Bussell, she is just passionate about ballet and is prepared to work hard to get where she wants to be and we're prepared for the knock backs along the way.  I think that we have a plan b, c and d now.  We don't need to audition for a couple more years but for all the reasons mentioned I knew that we needed to get organised.  I have now got a notebook with all the names mentioned and everything that you've said so we can see the wood from the trees! 

 

Thank you all so much for sharing your expertise and experiences.

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Hoglett

 

I suspect there are plenty of us who know, deep down, although our children may have a career in dance, the chances are they may never dance in the very top companies.  Speaking personally it doesn't lessen the joy I feel when I see my son dance, or make his wonderful life experiences  any less exciting.  Yes, you may need to think outside the box a little, and take a route less travelled, but it is still a journey worth taking.  

 

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20 hours ago, meadowblythe said:

I suspect there are plenty of us who know, deep down, although our children may have a career in dance, the chances are they may never dance in the very top companies.

 

And the children themselves may change direction in the course of their intense studies.

 

The now-adult child  of a friend of mine in one of the best contemporary dance training programmes in the country, with offers of joining a couple of well-regarded companies as a dancer, has decided that they don't want to live that life, but want to work as a multi-disciplinary community artist. 

 

That was the outcome of the three years of professional training, which has equipped this DC to become an autonomous and reflective artist. 

Edited by Kate_N
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