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A level v BTEC dance which is better


Janice
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Hi

My Dd wants to audition for vocational schools next school year which is ok with me, her no 1 at the moment is Central she is aware that we could not afford the fees of most school. Anyway my question is if she does not get an offer at her chosen schools and decides to try at 18 she needs to do something. Our college of choice offers A-level and BTEC dance, what are the differences and which is best?

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I think this depends more on the quality and quantity of training you have available for your DD to keep her at a suitable standard to reaudition again at 18 if she does A levels. Btec is obviously more practial than A levels however DD's teacher advised her not go go that route. We have a very good college ofering level 3 btec in dance within an easy daily commute but the teacher pointed out that since DD was already working at advanced, in ballet and modern she was technically already further on than a level 3 qualification and that parts of the course would not challenge her at all. Consequently our backup plan was for DD to do A levels and step up her dance training out of school. The concession we were going to make was in the number of A levels. Her school require them to do 4 A levels and we had specifically requested that she take only 3 as she would have had significantly more evening commitments than the average student. Local students doing the btec have been about grade 6/inter foundation level and they have gone onto study further at 18 but down the musical theatre route rather than ballet. Really it depends what your DDs ultimate goals are.

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Generally speaking (all college courses are different and some are much better run than others) I think most of our dd/ds are probably dancing beyond the btec level 3 (A level equivilent) and would be unchallenged however it does give another qualfication which might well suit some students. My advice would be to ask to visit and observe the btec dance classes to get a better picture of your particular college. If she is going to try again for vocational schools again it won't matter at all what she does as it is the audition which is the deciding factor.

 

Just a thought (don't really know about the various diploma courses) but if the vocational school diploma was the same level as that already done would funding be an issue?

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BTEC dance at 16 is usually the Level3 2 year Extended Diploma which is equivellant to 3 A levels. You often find the first year is a 90 credit diploma and the 2nd year becomes the ED. If you are aiming at ballet training, by the very nature of the high level you are already at, you don't expect a college vocational BTEC to be able to replicate that level of ballet training. However what it will give is usually contemporary opportunities with choreographic ones as well. As has been said it depends on lots of things including the training you already have, the expertise and quality of the BTEC tutors and what your dancer wants! My DD did this at the local college and it was the best experience she could have had as although she was far and away the best ballet and contemporary dancer they had they were able to challenge and push her and she never felt that she had time to 'rest on her laurels'. Equally she is not academic and the very practical nature of the course, its continuous assessment and high expectations suited her. Go and see their performances and ask questions!

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Dd wants to follow the classical ballet route , but is well aware of all the issues that go with that choice. She is doing a BTEC level 2 through school at the moment and is loving it. Her teacher had told her the other day that she would find the level 3 at a particular college to easy.I had already said we would not consider this college after seeing some of their performances, I was not impressed. This just led on to thinking what she could do between 16 and 18 is she was not successful at audition.

We live in the sticks and transport is not great so that limits what is available. The amount of training that she could get is again difficult as there is not much again the problem with living in the sticks and it is all RAD. We spend huge amounts of time in the car, like alot of other people on this forum.

Dd is very certain though whatever she does it has to involve dance.

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We are in a similar situation, regarding plan 'B' for sixth form. My dd is a CAT student and asked this specific question a couple of days ago to one of her CAT tutors, who also teaches on the Level 3, 2 year diploma managed by DanceEast in association with a local school.

 

The tutor's take on it was - consider carefully where you do the 2 year course (our one closer to home would be too low a standard in terms of dance provision and working level of other students, and she would therefore find this too frustrating) but the DanceEast one would be better. It still wouldn't be at the level of ballet and contemporary dd is currently doing, but the tutor said that there would be enough opportunities for dd to make things more challenging for herself - especially in terms of things like choreography etc. A good relationship with the tutors would be important so that they can adapt things where possible, as would a very clear idea of what schools you'd wish to audition for at 18 so that focus can be directed towards this.

 

I would also guess that continuing to find any outside opportunity to train, especially in ballet - eg. associates that take up to 18, NYB, EYB etc, continuing exam pathway, continuing gaining performance experience would be important.

 

As far as my dd is concerned, the opportunity to dance and learn more about dancing far outweighs the appeal of normal sixth form!

 

I know that for lots of our DCs going away at 16, if they haven't been at vocational school before, is the pinnacle - but in all honesty there are so many fantastic schools from 18 onwards that it shouldn't be seen as second best, unless classical ballet is the sole ambition (and let's face it - that will unfortunately only be a reality for a very few of them!)

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