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Upper School Dilemmas

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I've looked for inspiration on here and need some wisdom.  My DC has had offers for places at RCS, Central and Elmhurst. We are concerned by the current lack of graduate dancing jobs at the end of it. There are pros and cons for each - RCS and Central great reputation and courses but uses up your University funding.  Is DC narrowing options too soon? Elmhurst good for A levels and has the option for University if it doesn't work out but will join an established year group.

 

Living in London at 16 does concern me - the cost of Liberty Living 14.5K for a room is extortionate!! 

 
Are there any other options at this late stage? Is it too late to look elsewhere? Can you do A levels at home and then apply for Central and Rambert, when DC has had a chance to decide if a degree in dance is what they really want? 
 
 

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Posted (edited)

Not that this is a subject I know a huge amount about, but I was struck by the comment about "joining an established year group" at Elmhurst. Is this really an issue? I've got the impression from reading other threads on this forum that there is so much movement between ballet schools at the post-GCSE stage - as well as students going full-time vocational who weren't before - that most people are in the same boat.

Edited by RuthE
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They certainly won’t be the only new child entering that year. I know of a lovely child going in September. And I know one who is continuing on into the sixth form who is also lovely. I’m sure anyone joining will be fine. Well done for all the places! 

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Posted (edited)

This is all pertinent stuff providing food for thought as we look towards US auditions next year. I had not thought about the point that at 16 if it’s a degree course then they could in effect use up any university funding limiting options at post 18/19...and really 14.5k for Liberty living??? Gulp!!!

If does also slightly concern me this whole third year run as a company most schools now seen to be.... lovely & great experience in one way but still so cushioned by no doubt inclusiveness of course & family funds. The reality of joining a preformance company & touring probably much much harsher.....

Congratulations to your DD Prosecco on having such so many amazing top School’s to choose between! Good luck with decisions & future!

Edited by Peanut68
Typo

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Sorry I misread your OP, Prosecco, assuming your DC was a DS when you didn't specify their gender!

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There is now funding for Master’s degree and PhD so not too concerning if they want to change career. With a dance degree they will be a graduate. All 3 levels of quals can be obtained via student loans.

 

Congrats to your Dd.

 

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1 minute ago, Mummy twinkle toes said:

With a dance degree they will be a graduate.

Only if you are able to complete the 3 years. If not - due to injury as in my dd's case or for other reasons - then you have used up part of your degree funding with nothing to show for it and no A-levels either. You get a level 5 qualification if you complete 2 years, but all that means is that you are unable get funding to go to college to study something else, and you can't get on a degree-level course in another field because they won't accept the dance qualification and you don't have enough UCAS points because you have no A-levels either. You would also have to self-fund part of the degree. Catch 22.

 

To be honest, on the whole, A-levels might be the best option.

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It is really unnerving the way the qualifications vary & how these end goals can dictate the funding. And the then likelihood of the qualifications being transferable or indeed job securing! 

Am I right in seeing that RBS will be a degree course next year? Does that mean it too will be student loan funded? With the reputation of assessing out (if this dies still occur at US.... I am by no means sure) this may present huge worries for future education needs

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First of all congratulations on receiving offers for those excellent schools. I always think it’s best to acquire as many qualifications along the way as we all know dance is a short lived career, even for the best. I completed a dance degree many years ago and it struck me how academic the thing was. We studied anatomy, physiology, Laban and Benesh notation, covered teaching, and performing and wrote more theatre critique than the Times arts correspondent! Alongside practicals every day, in many different styles, Pilates and Alexander technique. It is not an easy ride. I’d say sit down and weigh up the options as a family, finances are a huge consideration. I worked on a few independent contemporary projects but earnt most of my money from teaching. I went back to uni in my mid 30’s and studied mental health nursing. At one point I owed the student loan company £24k! 🙈🙈🙈🙈🙈 Don’t tell the husband! 😂 My classmates now work as accountants, on cruise ships, are primary teachers, chemical engineers and work on oil rigs! 😆 Having said all this my DC dance and have always encouraged them, so it can’t have been that bad! xx

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Having had a dancing daughter change path following a bad, career-preventing injury in term 1 of full-time 16+ training, I would either go for Elmhurst or A’Levels in your position.   At Elmhurst you won’t be using any Degree funding in the form of a Student Finance loan, there is the option to do A Levels and IIRC the 6.1 students live in school accommodation.  At least if it turns out that a dancing career is not going to happen for whatever reason, your dd will have A Levels behind her and still has the option to go to University and study something completely different.  

 

As Taxi says, if you don’t complete your dance degree for whatever reason and you don’t have A Levels behind you, changing path is much harder.  

 

Don’t worry about joining an existing group at Elmhurst, some of the Year 11s will be going into 6.1 but students from all over will also be joining.  Graduate employment - always tricky!  It depends upon so many things and the hard facts are that getting a contract in a classical company is very difficult, unless you’re at RBS.  It’s not the only indicator of a good school though and things change in the whole industry from year to year.  

 

Going away from home at 16/17 is very hard if you’re not used to it so whichever option you choose, check out the reality of what pastoral care and facilities there are - house parents, hot meals available, healthcare and mental health support *onsite* that the students can and do access - all very important.  Having to shop, cook, clean and do your own laundry after a 9-12 hour day can be way too much.

 

If you choose A Levels followed by Rambert et al at 18, can your daughter still access sufficient good quality teaching and exercise so that her body is best prepared for the rigours of full-time training? Is it going to be possible to juggle this with full-time academics?

 

Congratulations to your dd on a great set of offers, by the way! 

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First of all congratulations to your DC on offers!

We went through the gruelling audition process last year, so I know exactly how you feel. I think these feelings are completely normal and I would say they are “last minute stress/ doubts”. I went through it myself as I knew that our life is about to change 360 degrees. It all came around so fast.

We too had various options to choose from ballet schools including two A level normal colleges (just in case). We have spent various nights burning the midnight oil weighting financials, looking at graduate lists that the school have published, pros and cons of each school, she even talked to her friends that are now in their final year gathering feedbacks.

Many sleepless nights looking into the ceiling (mainly for me) BUT I always told her to live and pursue her dream. So why to stop now when opportunity came? I want for my DD to travel, to see opportunities that dance will bring and then when body no longer can support it, she will have time to retrain and pursue other passions or 9-5 job. She was always very vocal that she wants to pursue forensics after her ballet life. She will have roof over her head, food to eat so why not.

You can retrain at any stage of your life. I am 38 and retrained now twice. One of my latest degrees was financed by my employer. There are opportunities and possibilities. And imagine I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up 😁
What I don’t want is to have daughter living in regrets and telling me why she didn’t follow her passion when she could and had the opportunity. But then it will be too late to dance.

Regarding London and housing there are many other options. For example hosting family. I know many would choose to stay with their peers and friends but for some finances would not allow it. I used that option when my DD travelled for her summer programs and I offer the same for international and national students while she is at her school away from home.  

I would not worry at all about your DC to "join an established year group". She might surprise you how easy she will fit in and find new friends.
My DD is 4,000 miles away on her own doing everything on her own (away from boarding) and coping very well. Making friends was my least worry. 

Good luck, be proud of her achievements xxx

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1 hour ago, FlexyNexy said:

First of all congratulations to your DC on offers!

We went through the gruelling audition process last year, so I know exactly how you feel. I think these feelings are completely normal and I would say they are “last minute stress/ doubts”. I went through it myself as I knew that our life is about to change 360 degrees. It all came around so fast.

We too had various options to choose from ballet schools including two A level normal colleges (just in case). We have spent various nights burning the midnight oil weighting financials, looking at graduate lists that the school have published, pros and cons of each school, she even talked to her friends that are now in their final year gathering feedbacks.

Many sleepless nights looking into the ceiling (mainly for me) BUT I always told her to live and pursue her dream. So why to stop now when opportunity came? I want for my DD to travel, to see opportunities that dance will bring and then when body no longer can support it, she will have time to retrain and pursue other passions or 9-5 job. She was always very vocal that she wants to pursue forensics after her ballet life. She will have roof over her head, food to eat so why not.

You can retrain at any stage of your life. I am 38 and retrained now twice. One of my latest degrees was financed by my employer. There are opportunities and possibilities. And imagine I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up 😁
What I don’t want is to have daughter living in regrets and telling me why she didn’t follow her passion when she could and had the opportunity. But then it will be too late to dance.

Regarding London and housing there are many other options. For example hosting family. I know many would choose to stay with their peers and friends but for some finances would not allow it. I used that option when my DD travelled for her summer programs and I offer the same for international and national students while she is at her school away from home.  

I would not worry at all about your DC to "join an established year group". She might surprise you how easy she will fit in and find new friends.
My DD is 4,000 miles away on her own doing everything on her own (away from boarding) and coping very well. Making friends was my least worry. 

Good luck, be proud of her achievements xxx

I agree with every single word of this, my dd is 16 , studying a dance degree, living independently 400 miles away and loves every minute and couldn’t be happier, I ask her often if she wishes she was doing a levels and I get a resounding no in reply, even though this was very much on her radar. That does not mean I don’t question often if we have done the right thing in letting her go, I could never stop her trying to live her dream. 

 

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Something else to bear in mind is that if your dc is doing a degree course, the staff will not talk to or liaise with parents even though the student is under 18 and still technically a child. At school you still have the opportunity to talk to staff and go to parents' evenings etc, but on degree courses, everything regarding the student is considered confidential.

 

There could be times when a dancer aged 16 or 17 just isn't ready to cope alone with the situation if problems arise, but they have to. The degree courses are run in the same way as university courses in this respect, where the students are over 18 and can be expected to cope fully independently.  

 

The situation has to become borderline catastrophic before they will even consider discussing things with you, and even then, only at the student's and parents' insistence. By which time it will probably be too late for there to be a positive outcome.

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I definitely think Elmhurst would be your DC's best destination. Excellent training alongside A levels. 

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2 hours ago, taxi4ballet said:

Something else to bear in mind is that if your dc is doing a degree course, the staff will not talk to or liaise with parents even though the student is under 18 and still technically a child. At school you still have the opportunity to talk to staff and go to parents' evenings etc, but on degree courses, everything regarding the student is considered confidential.

 

There could be times when a dancer aged 16 or 17 just isn't ready to cope alone with the situation if problems arise, but they have to. The degree courses are run in the same way as university courses in this respect, where the students are over 18 and can be expected to cope fully independently.  

 

The situation has to become borderline catastrophic before they will even consider discussing things with you, and even then, only at the student's and parents' insistence. By which time it will probably be too late for there to be a positive outcome.

This is very interesting as one of the colleges my daughter applied for have sent 2 copies of every letter - 1 addressed to me and 1 to her - stating the reason that she is under 18 and so they have an obligation to keep parents up to date. Maybe this is open to interpretation and varies from place to place? 

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I did a dance degree back in the days when it was almost impossible to find the course offered as a degree. I would NOT recommend it! My DD wanted to do a dance GCSE - thankfully I managed to talk her out of it (with a dance gcse teachers support!). DD has thanked me several times for this advice as she has been observing friends who did it! This might be contentious but dance as a degree (or gcse or a level) struggles to find an academic enough level to really be interesting academically, even though it may be challenging and stretching for the dance itself. 

I think I’d be saying to a talented dancer today - get decent A levels in subjects that interest you (not dance), then get out there and work as a dancer while you are young. Go to Uni after as a mature student to get a degree that will

open doors to your chosen “second career” . Best of both worlds... perhaps? 

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Olivia - is it a college offering a Diploma or is it a degree course?   Most of the colleges offer in the Level 6 diploma communicate with parents whilst their young person is under 18, the degree offering institutions can have a very different attitude. 

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1 hour ago, oliviaT said:

This is very interesting as one of the colleges my daughter applied for have sent 2 copies of every letter - 1 addressed to me and 1 to her - stating the reason that she is under 18 and so they have an obligation to keep parents up to date. Maybe this is open to interpretation and varies from place to place? 

When we went to the open day at the school dd eventually went to, one of the things they explicitly said was that since it was a degree programme, they would treat the students in the same way as they would be if they were at a university, in that the students would be treated as adults regarding confidentiality and parents would not have involvement. The awarding university's student welfare page says that "University staff are prohibited by law from disclosing any information about students to unauthorised third parties, which includes family members and friends".

 

So although students on the dance course would still only be 16 or 17, this would still apply and they would have to be treated as adults.

 

It seems to me that dance students fall through the net because, unlike normal universities, many of them will be under 18 for much of the time they are at these schools, and they really should be treated differently with regard to their welfare and safeguarding. Something has to change.

 

(Sorry to hijack your thread Prosecco, but this is something I feel very strongly about!)

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If it helps at all.......

I agree that those starting upper school @ Elmhurst will not feel as if they are joining an existing year group as there is a lot of coming and going between Yr 10 and 12 and in fact I would say new students generally outnumber the existing ones......

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I have long wondered about how these schools that taxi mentions stand legally, particularly under Child Protections Laws.  Other parents I have known with under 18s at such places have been very upset when things have gone wrong and nobody would talk to them.  This is one of the reasons I recommended the Elmhurst offer to Prosecco.

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Hi yes level 6 diploma rather than actual degree. I wonder where they would stand from a children’s safeguarding point of view on this?     It’s not something that would have even crossed my mind if I hadn’t read this. 

 

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If your child comes out with a Trinity College Level 6 Diploma and you have had a DADA then they can't access any Student Loan to go to University in the future UNLESS they are applying to study a NHS related course ie Doctor, Nurse, Midwife etc.

A Trinity College Level 6 Diploma is class as Higher Education and you can only get funding once. If you have had a DADA then that is your funding!! 

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I thought the DaDA/Student finance rule had stood for years. Trying to get them to confirm one way or the other is impossible.

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See I understood it as you could get a loan from SFE to “top up” your Level 6 Diploma to a BA (Hons).  Is this not still the case?

 

The other thing to remember about SFE loans for Degrees is that they are for the duration of the course plus one year (a “gift year”) thereby allowing you (in theory) to restart your course or a different degree after one year.

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Interesting that the SFE form asks " Have you started an undergraduate or postgraduate course of higher education in any country since leaving school? "

 

Technically speaking the Trinity diplomas at institutions such as Elmhurst, Tring, Hammond etc were NOT started "since leaving school" but commenced whilst at school.  A technicality?  And of course that wouldn't apply to the Bird/Laine etc type colleges.

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