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Vocational school open days


taxi4ballet
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DD wants to audition for vocational school soon and we have been looking at open days/insight days etc and found details re RBS and Tring, but can't find anything for Elmhurst.

 

I'm wondering if anyone knew whether Elmhurst hold open days for prospective pupils and parents as I've scoured their website to no avail and e-mailed them, but not had a reply.

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I have never seen the point of open days at vocational school as the auditions are pretty much the same as an open day and if I'm going to go to all the trouble and expense of getting there with my DD, I may as well throw in an audition as well.

 

Also, the websites are very good and if you need to know anything specific, just email or ring the school.

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The RBS audition insight day is classes and talks at the upper school in Covent Garden, you don't get to go to White Lodge and look round or anything. JA's are given the option of one of two mornings prior to preliminary auditions to go to White Lodge and look around if they wish but you must book this. I think Elmhurst might allow a tour of the school if you contact them I have seen one or two parents being shown around in the past but I don't know the circumstances these tours were requested or allowed under.

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You get a tour of White Lodge on finals day and also a chance to talk to house parents and members of the PTA. At the prelims for Elmhurst you will be given a tour of the main building but it isn't until the final audition that you get to see the inside of the boarding house. Even then parents are permitted only in the common room and to talk to the house parent while the children are allowed to go to the dorms with current year 7's who will answer any questions they may have.

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To offer tours of the boarding accommodation to all who audition which could be 500+ students and parents is surely very disruptive to the students whose home it is. It seems fair to show those who have reached the final audition as they actually stand a chance of getting a place at the school.

 

For W/L we went to the summer fair/open day and did the tour of the school. If I remember correctly they alternate the years they do the open day.

 

At the end of the day only a very few of our DC will actually have a choice of which vocational school they attend. Once offered a place schools may be more accommodating in allowing a visit to help make your choice.

 

Doing a tour of the Tring boarding several years ago put me of my DS going there. We haven't seen Hammonds boarding but Elmhurst is the most spacious with 3ft beds compared to 2ft 6 offered elsewhere.

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I have done both open days and/or tours with all of the 4 schools:

 

1. RBS no open day but can book 'JA for a day' for those seeking 11 years Year 7 and then Audition 1 with no tour, Audition Final with tour.

2. Elmhurst no open day, Audition 1 tour of school facilities, Audition Final tour of accommodation (although this may have changed).

3. Hammond not sure on open days but Audition 1 tour of school and accommodation, Audition Final none.

4. Tring yes open days, Audition 1 tour of school, facilities.

 

My experience was that I needed the Open Days for Tring because I had never seen the school or accommodation and if my DD was going to audition, she needed to have a solo dance and possibly singing piece/music which all costs time and money so wanted to be sure it was right for her before we committed to the audition.

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I agree that you want to see everything but I would be surprised if anyone made a decision about a vocational school, purely on the buildings or boarding accommodation - surely it's about the standard of teaching? My DD goes to ballet lessons in a run down old church, but her dance teacher is excellent and we wouldn't go somewhere else just because it had nice studios.

 

As KathyG says, it's not like most people are lucky enough to get a choice anyway, so my advice is go for them all and look round on audition day.

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For us, accommodation was VERY important and if the accommodation had not been good enough we would not have allowed our daughter to audition. You also don't get to look around at Audition 1 and so we would have still been none the wiser on accommodation if my DD had been lucky enough to get a Final Audition. By this time we would have wasted much time and effort on the solos, photos, costs to apply, time off school etc only to find that the accommodation was not suitable. At the open day you also get to watch a short performance in their small theatre and to ask lots of questions about teaching, scholarships, number of MDS places available etc which you don't get at Audition 1.

 

I would highly recommend the open days.

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For us, accommodation was VERY important and if the accommodation had not been good enough we would not have allowed our daughter to audition. You also don't get to look around at Audition 1 and so we would have still been none the wiser on accommodation if my DD had been lucky enough to get a Final Audition. By this time we would have wasted much time and effort on the solos, photos, costs to apply, time off school etc only to find that the accommodation was not suitable. At the open day you also get to watch a short performance in their small theatre and to ask lots of questions about teaching, scholarships, number of MDS places available etc which you don't get at Audition 1.

 

I would highly recommend the open days.

I can only add that if I had looked at the accomodation a WL prior to my DD gaining a place and this being as you say VERY important to you, then she would not have been going. So in hind sight and after 5 years of fantastic training, I am glad that I did not see the Year 7 boarding facilities prior to new parents day, as I thought it was awful and so did she for that year too. However after being 5 years down the line, it is the training at vocational school that is the most important and not the boarding facilities to me, as some schools facilities can look amazing, but the standard of the training might not be the best. Of course this is only my opinion. Hope this helps :)

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Yes I agree LTD - the accommodation in year 7 at WL is Victorian and even the year 9&10 rooms are very small and cramped. DD has stayed in all through several summer schools. Would anyone turn down a place at WL because of this though? I doubt it. Elmhurst rooms by comparrison are huge and have loads of storage space, but again, I don't think this would influence my decision. In my experience, none of the accommodation is below satisfactory or harmful to health and really should be a small factor in the decision-making process.

 

Edited to add: Sorry IP, not meaning to disagree with your personal experience of Tring boarding accommodation. I wasn't impressed with it either, but I would have still let DD go there if I thought it was the right place to go. I think it's when other things aren't quite right and then the accommodation isn't good either, that it all starts to add up.

Edited by Ribbons
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I would say that the quality of pastoral care is what I would look at first and foremost! Children are very adaptable and would probably be happy almost anywhere as long as the adults looking after them are sympathetic and approachable.

 

Agree with this, and about the standard of vocational training, but something else I'm interested in is the academic side of the schools too.

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