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Piepie

Concerns about vocational school

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My ex dds were doing singing and drama on top of ballet lessons and they also did not achieve grades at GCSE that they might otherwise have reached. It is a very fine line between homework, dance and other activities and satisfying all those concerned.

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Our DS went to a vocational school years 7 - 11 and gained 9 solid GCSEs . We feel that he has come away will a fully rounded education and still being able to follow his dream of musical theatre. As parents what we found difficult was getting him to revise as he was so far away and we didn't have much control over this. We did however structure a revision plan which captured him on his weekends home and holidays. We supervised his revision and did over 100 hours with him and got him through it . My husband had to learn simultaneous equations again!! . He really didn't have much interest in them apart from music and drama and didn't understand the importance of passing them . We told him he needed 5gsces to be accepted into the musical theatre colleges so he went along with it..... This was a little white lie on our part. If he had stayed at home and not gone away to dance maybe he would have gained more grade As but he probably would have not kept up his dance and given into peer pressure. We weren't very popular with him for a while !!

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Tabitha made a good point about Adult Access courses. Our local college does them , in several subjects,and you choose which particular pathway you want, EG Humaniites,Science,etc. They are specifically designed for adults with few or no formal qualifications who want to go to University. Over the two years the course is equivalent to 5 GCSE`s at Grade C and 3 A Levels, and will get you on to a lot of university degrees. Someone I know had a particularly disruptive childhood and very bad first marriage. She did the Access course in Humanities,went to Queen`s University [a Russell Group uni] ,achieved a joint first class Honours Degree in English and History and now works for a publishing company,which she loves. Didn`t return to education until she was forty. 

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Just to add,Queen`s University is in Belfast BTW. World leader for Research.

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Hi,

I'm new to the dance forum but I really need help in making some decisions about schooling.  

 

My child is at vocational school, and doing fine in terms of ballet.  However the rest of the schooling is really not good, issues with hiring and retaining academic teachers becoming worse and worse.  My child is really quite bright, and it was a big sacrifice as we had to give up a non-means tested scholarship for an independent school to go to ballet school where we have now been means tested out of receiving any of the MDS.  This would be fine if we only had one child, but we don't so we actually can't afford to go to the school.  

 

Plus 

  • dancing a lot, being guided by people who know about dance
  • child likes it

Minus

  • academics rubbish
  • too expensive
  • can't do other sports
  • not sure if a career in dance is a good one anyway

So my query is can I bring them home and provide enough dance training and still give them the opportunity to audition for vocational again at 16 when I feel decisions about the rest of your life might have more weight than at 12, and with nine or ten good GCSEs in hand!  I would love to hear from anyone else who has made this decision, and what it was like for your child when they re-integrated into mainstream.  

 

Thanks

 

Hi Piepie, I can't add anything to the excellent advice given so far regarding academics at vocational school as my daughter didn't start full time training until she'd finished her GCSEs.  What I would say though is that family finance must be the overriding factor when deciding on your child's future education as even if the other sibling/s are supportive of their dancing brother/sister, resentment can rear it's head further down the line if family life suffers as a result of so much money being directed at one child. It also puts a lot of pressure on the child to succeed especially if injury occurs or they lose the passion for dance.  Being at mainstream school and dancing 6 out of 7 days a week was a juggling act and homework had to be fitted in to lunch breaks, to/from and in between dance lessons and the 1 free evening.  Having said that, my daughter who is average academically, did achieve a good set of GCSEs, so it can be done.  All the best for whatever you decide to do. 

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I'm about to do my first Scottish GCSE equivalent on Thursday and am feeling a little ill prepared and it is difficult to juggle the amount of school work and dancing every day. I go to a very good academic, private, all girls school and sometimes the teachers expect you to be able to do things for the next day so generally I go into school an hour early and work before people get there and then again at lunch, work at dancing in my breaks, it is really hard but it can be done! I managed to get all A*'s in my mocks but not without a lot a lot of hard work, nothing comes easy for dancers!

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I'm about to do my first Scottish GCSE equivalent on Thursday and am feeling a little ill prepared and it is difficult to juggle the amount of school work and dancing every day. I go to a very good academic, private, all girls school and sometimes the teachers expect you to be able to do things for the next day so generally I go into school an hour early and work before people get there and then again at lunch, work at dancing in my breaks, it is really hard but it can be done! I managed to get all A*'s in my mocks but not without a lot a lot of hard work, nothing comes easy for dancers!

The very best of luck for your exams,BadBallerina

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I wish some of my year 11 (state school, non dancing) students had that work ethic BadBallerina! I hope your GCSEs go smoothly.

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That sounds familiar, BadBallerina - dancers do have great time management skills along with self-discipline! Wishing you the very best of luck to add to your hard work for your exams.

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Elmhurst this year is doing iGCSEs in Maths Double Science English Language and Literature and Geography , the other subjects are standard GCSEs.The school therefore does not feature in the GCSE statistics.

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BadBallerina your dedication is amazing I'm sure this attitude will serve you well in the future. I would be incredibly proud if my DD has anything like your work ethic. Good luck ????

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Piepie

 

I agree with a lot that has been posted.

 

My DD went to a vocational school from Y7. Although she had an MDS we struggled throughout to afford it. She was bright and we had concerns throughout her time at the school with regard to the academics. A concern shared by a number of the other parents.

 

If you are convinced that she wants to be a dancer, and she has the ability, then you will probably find the money somehow.

 

My daughter did no go on to be a professional dancer so there have been some “what if?” conversations, but I am sure taking all things into consideration that she has no regrets.  She managed to reintegrate back into mainstream school in 6th form without any significant issues.

 

If my daughter had gone to a local school I am convinced that she would have had better GSCE grades. This probably narrowed some of her options when deciding degree courses. But if she had not taken up the option to go to a vocational dance school then we probably still would have wondered “what if?” at times!

 

Good luck to you and your child whatever choice you make.

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Thanks to everyone who replied on this thread, it has been really helpful.  I think we are going to research our options of returning dc here, present them with these options saying either it's this year or next.  I really like the thought that these years haven't been wasted, that they have provided a good grounding in dance and we can use this to build on.  I do believe that dc will rise to the challenge, and if they want to dance, then we will do everything we can to support that whilst also keeping other doors open, rather than leaving them at that school and starting to feel that the cons are seriously outweighing the pros.  Regretting not having got them into a summer school now!  

 

Really grateful for all the support, it's such a hard thing to talk about with other people who don't understand. 

xx

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If it helps at all, and I hate to sound all doom and gloom, but as a parent myself I think its only fair to be realistic. There are so very few jobs in a good ballet company!!

 

I can't stress how important her GCSE results are. Unless they are the top end in their vocational class then the likely hood of good work is so slim right now. Not enough funding for other companies, visa issues to work elsewhere and no one moving on as there just aren't any jobs - its not a great scenario that needs a really good plan B.

 

I teach talented graduates weekly at pineapple, they are so deserving of work, i use all my contacts and yet the jobs just aren't there. Thats the truth of it. Possibly if you want a good classical job then looking overseas to train is the best option!

 

Somehwhere like Tring has fab classical training but also covers the other genres more thoroughly leaving greater opportunities for work.

 

ALSO there are so many ways now to achieve the same level of vocational training outside of these schools..........but yes under one roof is always easier as a parent!

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The chances of achieving a similar level of training as a vocational school is very much dependent on where you live.....

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Also some families may not have access to decent state schools and an MDS can be a way out. 

 

Ditto the needs of siblings or your employment may make accessing all the training tricky.

 

I think all dancing families whether their kids are vocational or serious non vocational are making compromises one way or another. The ideal balance is different for each family.

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