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We are just at the very beginning of this journey and I was wondering if anyone could advise on the best age for vocational school? Year 7 seems very young but are you less likely to find a place in year 9. Cost would be a major issue for us and my initial feeling is the later the better but I don't want my daughter to miss out if the potential is there, a big if I realise

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The schools have their biggest intake in Year 7, so it is probably easiest to get in at that age, since older applicants are not only competing against other auditionees, but against those already at the school. It is also much more difficult to get MDS funding later on, as the schools are obliged to offer places initially to the most talented Y7's and only if there are spaces left over can they offer them to Y8 and upwards.

 

Perhaps it would be worth considering going to the audition for the experience?

 

Who knows, a place might be offered and you can then decide whether to accept it or not!!!

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Everyone will have different ideas about what's best probably based on their own experiences, so I'd like to say that there is no ideal answer. Certainly consider applying for year 7 for the school(s) you'd most like to go to and would happily let them go to if they got in! There are more places available in year 7 than in older years.

 

We know that there are plenty of students/dancers who went into full-time training later but for some, the best way of getting enough good quality training is to go onto a vocational school. That was certainly the case for us.

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The schools have their biggest intake in Year 7, so it is probably easiest to get in at that age, since older applicants are not only competing against other auditionees, but against those already at the school. It is also much more difficult to get MDS funding later on, as the schools are obliged to offer places initially to the most talented Y7's and only if there are spaces left over can they offer them to Y8 and upwards.

 

Perhaps it would be worth considering going to the audition for the experience?

 

Who knows, a place might be offered and you can then decide whether to accept it or not!!!

Hi all. A question about the above, is it considered 'the done thing' to apply for and audition for, places at say WL, even if you know the child won't be accepting a place if offered?

Is it OK to just do it for the experience?

MY DD is in year 6 JAs and knows she dosen't want to 'go to boarding school' and in fact I wouldn't want her to go either. It won't suit her as she is emotionally quite young.

We have an opportunity to visit WL, but I'm not sure if I will be just wasting everyone's time and putting DD under unnecessary pressure.

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Hi fusster. I would personally be wary of auditioning if you know you will not accept a place if offered mainly because you can become very swept along by the process. If offered a place, it is very difficult to turn it down as the investment on all sides to reach that point is quite high. Your DD might really want to go by that point but if you feel in your heart it is not right for her emotionally you could end up with an expensive and stressful mess to deal with. We initially turned down an EImhurst place as we had not worked our finances through and it was very difficult for my son. l will be facing the same situation with my DD this time next year and deep down I know she will not be ready to go away although she says she wants to try. If it was the emotional maturity aspect then you could discuss it with your daughter at each stage and see how things develop. It's tempting to audition to see if they have potential in the eyes of the schools but if you may end up too far down the road to turn back easily. Saying all that though, there are places that are turned down each year. Good luck making your decision.

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Guest Autumn days

Fusster, people do audition just for the experience and people do turn down places if they a not ready. Is your dd going to audition for MAs? It is reasonably common for someone that jus ticks the MA box to be invited to the WL final anyway but there is no obligation to go. That way, if your dd IS invited to the final, you will know that they are very interested in her but can turn down the audition. I would like to think that this would not jeopardise the chance of an MA place!

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Please ask questions about Lower School auditions in this thread. I apologise for not tagging all Schools but tags are limited in number and cannot be added retrospectively.

 

If anyone has questions or info about auditions at schools not listed, please do post anyway.

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Yes it is ok to audition just for the experience. It does give a good insight into what to expect in the future. But its important the child is prepared for the fact they will not be going if successful.

 

And yes its harder to get the funding when older. But I do think going into year 10 is desirable if it can be achieved because then you are guaranteed 2 years training because the schools dont assess out during gcse years. I had a pupil join WL in year 10 and was envious that the family not only saved 3yrs worth of funds but also escaped the dreaded appraisal stress!

 

But for us personally going at 11 was the right thing for our ds, there simply werent matching alternatives both in terms of academic schooling or ballet training.

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Fusster, people do audition just for the experience and people do turn down places if they a not ready. Is your dd going to audition for MAs? It is reasonably common for someone that jus ticks the MA box to be invited to the WL final anyway but there is no obligation to go. That way, if your dd IS invited to the final, you will know that they are very interested in her but can turn down the audition. I would like to think that this would not jeopardise the chance of an MA place!

 

Hi MIAS. Thank you, I didn't know any of this! Yes she is applying for MAs so this sounds like a sensible alternative.

I'm glad I posted my question now.

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My daughters current MA class includes several children who were offered a yr7 place but turned it down. They knew before the audition it was not right for them but the JA teacher encouraged them to attend finals anyway so they could make an informed decision. WL says a lot of children there had never considered going away before being offered a place. Equally so, you have no idea what you are turning down until you have been there to look around. The audition is as much for parents and children to assess what a school has to offer as for the school to assess the child. Who knows how you would feel if your child was talented enough to be offered a place. And if no place offered then it's good to experience an audition when the end result is not crucial. Hope this gives good for thought!!!!

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Fusster- Hi there is a separate box on the form for mids however as mum in a spin stated your dd may still get invited to a final! Good luck my dd is doing the rounds also this year, it only seems a short time ago she started jas in year 4. Initially dd was happy going to extra ballet classes with royal . . . .now after 2 years she has been totally absorbed and is having a thoroughly lovely time with all the amazing opportunities she has experienced. Xx

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Yes, you can ask to audition for both associates and full-time, there is a box on the form to tick for a combined audition. And... it doesn't cost any more either!

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Fusster- Hi there is a separate box on the form for mids however as mum in a spin stated your dd may still get invited to a final! Good luck my dd is doing the rounds also this year, it only seems a short time ago she started jas in year 4. Initially dd was happy going to extra ballet classes with royal . . . .now after 2 years she has been totally absorbed and is having a thoroughly lovely time with all the amazing opportunities she has experienced. Xx

 

Hi Amber21. Sounds like you have a bit more experience than us. My DD only started JAs this year and is, I believe a couple of grades behind everyone else. Which of course means she probably isn't at a good enough standard to actually get into WL anyway. But I agree the opportunities are fabulous, maybe we will see you at Covent Garden in Half Term?

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How does the year 7 audition start?do they start with a bar or something else?do they let them warm up before?what excersizes do they do in the centre?do they have to hold the stretching for a long while?what's the most demanding thing they ask for?are they allowed to touch the students? for example checking feet or flexibility.

Just a few questions that I thought people might be interested to know.

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Hi Amber21. Sounds like you have a bit more experience than us. My DD only started JAs this year and is, I believe a couple of grades behind everyone else. Which of course means she probably isn't at a good enough standard to actually get into WL anyway. But I agree the opportunities are fabulous, maybe we will see you at Covent Garden in Half Term?

When my ds got a ja place he had only passed grade 2. In less than a year he had a place at WL.

If your child is a ja then he/she has obviously shown the attributes they are looking for, grade is irrelevant. If anything those who have not done too many grades are more likely to be able to be trained a certain way as its hard to undo ingrained habits and stylisations .

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Hi Amber21. Sounds like you have a bit more experience than us. My DD only started JAs this year and is, I believe a couple of grades behind everyone else. Which of course means she probably isn't at a good enough standard to actually get into WL anyway. But I agree the opportunities are fabulous, maybe we will see you at Covent Garden in Half Term?

Hi Fusster I don't think it matters about grades its about potential as a lot of even more experienced mums or dads will advise you on here. Amongst other things no one really knows!! Yes we are going to Covent Garden in half term, I will pm you!

 

I have only just read hfbrews reply above!! Totally agree lovely news re ds!! x

Edited by amber21

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Hi Fusster I don't think it matters about grades its about potential as a lot of even more experienced mums or dads will advise you on here. Amongst other things no one really knows!! Yes we are going to Covent Garden in half term, I will pm you!

 

I have only just read hfbrews reply above!! Totally agree lovely news re ds!! x

Are you attending the audition insight day Amber21/fusster?

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Are you attending the audition insight day Amber21/fusster?

Yes pas de chat I will pm you! x

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Hi Fusster grades do not matter RBS look at potential also physique. When training the teachers do often say we will do this the RBS way. The training is carried out this way wether you are in the studios at covent garden white lodge or your associate class venue. Good luck .

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I did read somewhere on the forum that RBS no longer do RAD, is this correct?

 

Yes, that is what we've been told via someone currently at the school.

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The vocational schools have offered RAD exam classes to allow entry to the prestigious Genee and Phyllis Bedells competitions, including RBS until recently. However, I don't think following a particular syllabus is otherwise especially important for vocational dance students and of course performance at audition or on stage is the parameter by which vocational and would-be vocational students will be assessed; exam results will not matter.

 

For non-vocational students in the UK, I think exams are more important simply as a way of assessing and demonstrating progress and a certain level of knowledge. Most students don't go on to dance professionally but will have confirmation of their level of achievement as assessed by an independent examiner if they do exams.

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From my own point of view one advantage of doing syllabus exams is that students who eventually want to go into teaching will have reached the required level (advanced 1 I think) to be able to take one/several of the various teaching diplomas needed to be a registered RAD/ ISTD teacher.

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Just noticed this on the Elmhurst website !

 

STOP PRESS: October 2013

Although there is no official deadline date for receipt of applications, due to the number of forms already received we strongly recommend that students apply as soon as possible, especially for those hoping for an audition date in November

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Hi everyone, just after a little advice......Dd has always been fairly solid in her thinking that she would audition for schools at 16 or possibly year 9 for entry in year 10. However, after an opening evening at high school last weekend where she appeared visibly upset and again last night when we had tears at bed time she has revealed to me that she only wants to go to a normal high school because of her friends but she would really like to try for a full time vocational place instead as she feels she would enjoy it so much more and is worried that by auditioning later the children who started younger will already be so much further ahead than her! Gulp! I wasn't quite expecting that, neither do I really expect her to be offered a place but I want to give her the opportunity if that is where her heart truly is! So my question is, have I missed all of the open days for 2014 entry?! Or in fact any of the application deadlines for auditions?! Also can anyone tell me their views and opinions on any of the schools that take from year 7? Just to note, ballet is primarily her focus but she also loves modern, contemporary and creative dance + the small amount of jazz she experienced at summer school. Many thanks in advance!

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Clara I am not entirely sure which year your DD would be auditioning for but presumably year 7,8 or 9 so lower school. RBS do not do open days and applications are still open. I believe their deadlines for applications vary according to where you audition but closing dates are in November. Elmhurst do not have open days but you get a tour of the school on audition days. They do not have formal deadlines but auditions themselves run November to January so you would be wise to apply soon. Hammond open day has already passed but I think you will still get a tour of the school on the audition day. Again no formal deadline but I would advise applying sooner rather than later. Their auditions run from November to February. I think auditions at Tring have already started and they have had an open day already. Their website I am sure lists all the audition dates and if spaces in an audition are still available.

In terms of which schools she should apply for, get the advice of her dance teacher certainly but generally I think most people would apply to all 4 as being offered a place at one school is a great achievement, having a choice of offers is a luxury that most do not have.

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Hi Clara. Go for it and see what happens! To do all 4 schools is expensive and challenging logistically as you may end up with 8 auditions (first, and finals) but all the schools offer different things and if you can do all 4 then you will get a feel for what will suit your daughter if she is lucky enough to get offers. Have your finances clear as it fees etc will likely be more expensive than you hope. If your daughter is primarily classical, then RBS and Elmhurst would be top of the list (in my opinion) and then Hammond and Tring offer more in the way of jazz or musical theatre options alongside classical. I dont think you will be too late to apply at this stage but you may have to act fast on application forms and photos. Huge luck. Welcome to the madhouse ;)

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Whilst it is true that most applicants apply to all four schools if you know up front that a particular type of school won't be right for your dd then it's pointless applying

 

We investigated Tring Hammond, Sylvua Young & Italia Conti for my not so classical dd but only applied to Hammond in the end as even if she were offered a place at the others we would not have been able to afford them. A boy in dds year also only applied to Hammond as it was commutable.

 

RBS & Elmhurst were never even considered, they didn't offe what she wanted & I doubt she would be what they wanted.

 

Yes you have mussed open days but send off for prospectuses & investigate websites so you have an understanding of what each school is offering.

 

My dd having attended a taster day originally decided not to apply then changed her mind after accepting a place at a normal school. So last minute!!!'

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It's not too late! But get cracking on the forms and photos .

I agree if Ballet is the main focus do RBS and Elmhurst as the main thing and consider others as a plan b . Welcome to the roller coaster !

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Or don't forget, there's also Young Dancers Academy in London. Check out their website. They offer excellent training and also feed many young dancers into RB lower school.

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