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  1. I know that moving to an ISTD school might seem a real waste of the time she has already spent learning the RAD exercises, but the RAD focus on set exercises done with great technique will stand her in good stead wherever she goes. The ISTD approach of unset 'free work' from the very beginning will keep her on her toes and ensure that even if the exercises are not particularly stretching for a while, there's always the variation of the unset work to look forward to. Quality of teaching - and appropriate progression - is more important than exam board. Ask to see recent exam results too - a good school will have mostly Merits and Distinctions. You may also be able to jump a grade or two when you move, as it is likely that the new school will put her into around the right grade for her age, rather than being too fixated on 'not taken that exam yet'
  2. I do think that it sounds as if the dance school is being very rigid in its thinking, and requiring everything to be done 'their way' for the school's convenience, rather than looking at the individual dancer and what they need. DD's dance school may have 8 doing a particular exam, or 1 - an assessment is made of each child's readiness towards the end of the previous term, then a list put up of who is recommended for the next term's exams (usually, but not always, all 3 genres). DD has done exam preparation with a big group, in a 4, in a 2, on her own....whatever has met her dance needs at that time.
  3. Are there the equivalent in RAD of the ISTD exam centres, which you can travel to to do an exam? DD's dance school sends pupils to our local ISTD one for the vocational level exams (because apparently they need particular examiners, so the visiting examiners can't always do a mixture of vocational and normal grades), but when we have been there I have seen much younger children doing normal grade exams there. The only disadvantage is that you sometimes have to do an exam with another person from another dance school - DD was a little disconcerted when doing her Adv2 tap at 15 that her exam partner was 25 - but it would be a way of getting the exam 'over and done with' if that is the requirement to move up to a more appropriate grade?
  4. DD is at an all ISTD school - so does ISTD ballet as well as tap and modern theatre. It's good quality training - alumni at BRB and a variety of dance colleges (usually at 18). She has taken an exam each year, pretty much, though obviously it slows down at the higher vocational grades . She would have been Grade 4 or so at the end of primary? If you are looking at Grade 1 at 13, you do almost certainly need to find another school.
  5. * Next stop Great British sewing bee? * Would love to - but I'm not good enough at tailoring / adapting patterns to fit....
  6. I sew them on 3 sides to the canvas (using a short hemming stitch that doesn't go all the way through to the satin but which links the ribbon and canvas every few mm), and then catch the top to the inside top of the fabric cover of the drawstring, with a second strengthening row of similar stitches parallel; to these but at the bottom of the drawstring casing. Nothing goes through the fabric to the outside of the shoe. I'm also a 'chain stitcher' for the front of the shoe, completely covering the satin on the end and the linking fabric down to the sole, in continuous hoops worked in opposite directions until the two 'ends' get close enough together for a continuous tear-drop shaped spiral. I was taught to sew by my mother, who learned from my grandmother, and made all my own clothes except school uniform from the age of about 10 (I was better at it than my mother, and buying ready-made was too expensive for us at that time). progressed through ballgowns at university to costumes for DD, though i do draw the line at making 'normal' clothes these days, partly becuase - as others have said - it is now cheaper to buy ready made than make your own. DD can also sew - did Textiles GCSE, has made some of her own clothes and is much better at e.g. machine freestyle embroidery than me - but is less good at hand sewing so I do her pointe shoes.
  7. FWIW, I think that a small number of well-run festivals with a good standard of dancing but without the bitchiness that cut-throat competition can foster are a perfectly reasonable part of the 'dance diet' of the good recreational dancer. DD will not become a professional dancer. Her performance opportunities within the dance school are relatively limited, as they're not a big 'show' school. However, she has HUGELY benefited from taking part in festivals, in particular in group dances (where tbh she excels in a way she never does as a soloist). It's an opportunity for her to do 'her thing' with her friends, in costume, on stage, to a high standard and to have a reason to do so. DS, who plays music instead, equally gains from competitions like MfY and NCBF, as well as from concerts. Equally, the solo classes, in which she is almost always a 'and will the other competitors step forward to take their bow' person, give a focus for her private lessons and an enjoyment of 'dance as a performance'. When she leaves her dance school for university at 18, will she remember the 10+ hours a week of classes? No, probably not. Will she remember the exams (she's just got Adv 2 Modern to go)? No. Will she remember the cameraderie and teamwork of the 3 times a year festival performances, and the weekly group rehearsals that lead up to them? Absolutely.
  8. I think the over / under-representation of some schools may come down to some schools have a greater tradition of going forward to Regional All England than others. For example, we attend a fairly local festival that can be a qualifier for All England. DD's dance school has no history of attending Regional finals. Two of the other schools attending have a very strong history of attending (and specifically aiming towards) All England. Dances and groups from DD's school that did qualify did not then enter the Regional Final, whereas equivalent - and lower- scoring groups and dances from the other schools did. It's just about what a particular school focuses on, I suppose - for some schools, All England is part of their annual round (while perhaps ISTD Ballet Awards, Janet Cram and Star Tap might not be, despite pupils getting qualifying marks in exams), while for other schools, the exam board-based competitions are natural parts of the annual cycle but AED is not, even though pupils have qualified in the qualifying festivals.
  9. I find the minimum age for IF / Intermediate on the low side, tbh. If a child took Intermediate at 11, then moved on the the Adv 1 syllabus, the latter would be a huge physical challenge as it's a big step up. DD took Adv 1 with her friends last year - so she'd have been around 15 - and they found the syllabus a physical and maturity challenge despite all being 8+ hours of dance a week girls from a young age.
  10. Very briefly on ISTD: - It has 2 'variants' - Cecchetti and Imperial ballet - which are separately taught, separately managed by the exam board, and separately examined. - DD dances at an all-ISTD school, and has indeed swapped to the vocational grades after Grade 6 / InterFoundation (those 2 are at a very similar level). - Class graded examinations for 7 and 8 are available, Intermediate and Adv 1 would be the vocational 'equivalents'. - My understanding is that the vocational ISTD grades, like the normal graded exams, differ primarily from RAD in the significant emphasis on free work [I love the description 'hilariously stressful' - for DD it is just 'how ballet is done'!] BUT that the vocational RAD grades have more free work than the graded exams so in some ways a switch to RAD for the vocational grades wouldn't be such a change. However another local ISTD school interleaves RAD vocational grades with ISTD ones, so at the higher grades at least there seems to be no great difficulty in sliding between the two exam boards.
  11. Having read your latest post, I would strongly suggest that you need to find a new school for the next stage of ballet. We have been lucky because we - accidentally - ended up at a school which goes from pre-Primary all the way up to advanced vocational grades. The school has a policy that pupils always do classes at their own grade and with the one above, so 'the next thing' is always visible. Ironically, as DD (15) runs out of exams to take across the 3 disciplines - just 2 more Advanced exams left - I am wondering whether she too will remain motivated for the full 3 years she has until she leaves. i would also suggest that you might want to look for a school that does 'groups / performing groups / troupes', whatever they call it, just at this point. They don't have to perform often - DD's dance school competes 3x per year - but the sense of dance as 'a team game', a 'shared enterprise' as well as genuinely a performing art can do wonders at that age. Of course, if she decides to dance seriously at a future point, competitions can be distracting, but DD's happiest dance memories will always be of 'Groups Days' at local festivals, whisking in and out of costumes, sharing the stage with others and wanting to be perfect 'for the team'. DD, for example, worked tirelessly at double pirouttes, because a specific group ballet required them, and if she couldn't do them, then they all had to do singles and it didn't look so good.
  12. I agree with richieN, that the way in which you communicate this at the start and as it goes on will really help. It will also help if you understand, and make it really clear that you understand, where the school is coming from - in terms of attendance stats, SATs grades, and the resources required to catch your child up for every lesson she misses - and either mitigate each as far as possible, or where that is not possible, make it really clear that e.g. you understand she will miss some work, and that this may well impact on her attainment, but you accept this, rather than expecting the school to sort it out. Remember that 'asking for the work that your child would be doing in class' isn't always feasible (because without the teaching, the resources don't make sense) and finding suitable alternative work every week to e.g. do while travelling can be very labour intensive. It may seem obvious, but it can be really irritating if a parent who has taken their child on a holiday in term time, or on a long series of sporting events, then finds fault with or questions the school / teacher because their child's grades aren't quite as good as the parent expects them to be....
  13. (So for example when DD did panto, over the short term her attendance was pretty dreadful, but it was only in November / December / January and it ended up fine over the whole year - and she did work between performances. Missing a similar number of days over a whole year would have been a real issue.) Also worth thinking about which day of the week it is, and what she will 'always miss' - if I were your DD's class teacher, i would try to move Games or indoor PE onto that day, and avoid e.g. Science being timetabled for that afternoon, as it is an assessed subject, but again that will be something you should be sensitive to in your discussions - if possible, have the discussion before timetables for next year are set.
  14. A whole day per week would bring your DD's maximum attendance down to 80% of she was present every other day (for comparison we consider over 95% as good attendance, less than 90% as 'of concern') and this is genuinely low. If the school is 1 form entry (1 class of 30 per year, or perhaps less), that is low enough to have a significant overall effect on attendance, but of course if it is 3 form entry it will be much less of an issue for the overall figure. Is there any way that she could come in for at least 1 register on that day, and maybe for English / maths as the first 2 lessons (which they usually are) e.g. to come in for 9 am and leave at, say 11 or whatever the timetable says? That would a) immediately jump her up to 90% attendace and b) mean that the 'critical' lessons each day weren't missed. It would also depend on whether this was for the whole year or a block of 5 or 6 lessons - the latter would have a large short term effect on her attendance but would average out over the year to be OK. The first really might be an issue, even for the most reasonable and accommodating head!
  15. If you are considering whether they can use Code B (Educated Off Site) - a 'present' code not an 'absent' one, which obcviously the school woruld prefer - look at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564599/school_attendance.pdf Note that there are quite stringent conditions for code B, including that the child must be supervised by someone authorised by the school and that measures have been taken to safeguard pupils (the school remains in charge of your child's safeguarding for a session for which code B is recorded - that cannot be delegated to you or to the dance teacher)
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