Jump to content
Moonbeam

Advice on Primary Ballet Exam

Recommended Posts

I think it might be to do with the numbers then, I just can’t understand why they didn’t put her in for it in March when they did have enough to do a RAD session as she had been in that class a year and at the rehearsal class for pre primary she was miles ahead of the other pupils as she had been in pre primary for almost 2 years and all but her had been in the class less than a year.  I don’t have a huge desire that she has to have all of her certificates especially when it’s just the primary exam so if they’ll move her to grade 1 without it I would happily do that as she dances a lot and has other exam experience as she does modern and tap too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update is there’s no budging on the class she’s in and they don’t have enough numbers to have a RAD examination this November.  Now I need to work out if it’s just me being annoyed about it and what’s best for my daughters xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the numbers thing makes total sense, I'd question why the teacher is not letting her move up to grade 1, especially due to her age. Fair enough, she probably wasn't ready to do the exam last March but to hang around for another year seems odd to me. But out of fairness to the teacher, I don't know your daughter nor her teacher so I can't really comment. Only you know your daughter well enough but as a comparison, my bunch of 'very average' grade 1 children are 7-8 years old.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter will be 8 soon so I think she should be moved to the Grade 1 class and is ready to be challenged more too.  Point blank refused to saying they don’t do that there and I think it ultimately boils down to the fact that if my daughter is moved without examination then others will request the same too and that would mean less income for the school but I may be wrong as I don’t know how much income is generated from examinations.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might see if I can find somewhere that she could sit the exam but I think even that would then mess the class numbers up as everyone seems to move on in groups rather than individually. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds like the way it should be Parenttaxi, I couldn’t agree more that there is a very rigid approach to everything and I feel really sad that it’s not taking the children as individuals into account.  They’re clumped together in groups and if this exam display is anything like her last one, when she finally gets to sit it that is, then she’ll be one of if not the oldest child sitting primary exam as she’ll be 8 and a half by then.  I just hope she’s still enjoying it by the time that happens, that is if we don’t decide to move her to another school. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would move her. My daughter was in a similar position some years ago and due the erratic way her dance teacher was behaving, I moved her away to another school. Unknown to me then was that her new teacher examined the junior RAD grades and told me after her very first lesson that she was perfectly able to sit her Grade One exam then. She went to the Grade One and Two classes and did the exam at the next session in November. I would think that there is a danger that your dd may lose interest if she is constantly held back like this. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s altogether possible she’ll lose interest Fiz as I’m sure none of the things she’s learning just now are challenging. Can I ask what age she was when you moved her?  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She was almost six. They changed the ages for RAD grades some years ago. Her sister was nine and I moved her too. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Fiz, I may have to look at moving them both as my youngest is 6 and hasn’t even sat her pre primary yet despite dancing there for 3 and a half years.  I think we may have to move to ISTD though as all other RAD schools are a bit more of a travelling distance for us unfortunately. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m really sorry, Moonbeam. It doesn’t sound to me as if the dance teacher has your dds’ best interests at heart, only her own. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like that to me too and it’s quite sad as we’ve spent 5 years at that school. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Moonbeam said:

Point blank refused to saying they don’t do that there and I think it ultimately boils down to the fact that if my daughter is moved without examination then others will request the same too and that would mean less income for the school but I may be wrong as I don’t know how much income is generated from examinations.  

 

The school should make no money at all from the exam itself. All they are supposed to do is collect the exam fees and pass them on to the examining body.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you're in this situation Moonbeam. My DD was in a similar situation waiting to take G2. I felt very loyal to her dance school but in the end they were just holding her back. I moved her and her younger sister and haven't regretted it a single moment. Although as a result she is still 'behind' in the grades for her age (took G3 aged 12 this spring) she has had the opportunity to start the vocational grades, pointe and got accepted into a high quality associates scheme. Both my DDs absolutely love their current dance school.

 

I wish you luck with your decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

 

The school should make no money at all from the exam itself. All they are supposed to do is collect the exam fees and pass them on to the examining body.

 

 

We usually pay more than the exam fee to cover extra prep lessons but I can’t remember how much we pay in comparison to the fee. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Streetdancer said:

I'm sorry you're in this situation Moonbeam. My DD was in a similar situation waiting to take G2. I felt very loyal to her dance school but in the end they were just holding her back. I moved her and her younger sister and haven't regretted it a single moment. Although as a result she is still 'behind' in the grades for her age (took G3 aged 12 this spring) she has had the opportunity to start the vocational grades, pointe and got accepted into a high quality associates scheme. Both my DDs absolutely love their current dance school.

 

I wish you luck with your decision.

Thank you.  It’s so hard isn’t it when you want to support your local school and you do feel so loyal to them.  The associate schemes look fantastic, that’s a fantastic  achievement!  Well done ☺️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't post often Moonbeam but I had to reply. In your shoes I would definitely seriously consider a change of school. My dd was in similar situation to Streetdancer and we moved schools 3 years ago and haven't looked back. Initially my dd didn't want to leave her original school but trialling some classes elsewhere helped her change her mind! She moved from a RAD school to an ISTD one after learning RAD Grade 2 for more than a year.  With no exam date in sight she started losing interest because she just wanted to do more ballet (which wasn't possible at her original school) and felt she knew the syllabus better than children who were scheduled to take the exam!  She moved age 9 and although she spent more than a year in Grade 2 she felt stretched because of the new exercises she had to cover in ISTD that she didn't do in RAD and also due to the un-set work. Most importantly she has been allowed to attend more than one grade at a time to help her 'catch-up'. (She started ballet at age 5 , took primary exam at age 7 and grade 1 at age 8.)

It doesn't sound like your dd's school is working for her right now. I wish you the best of luck in deciding next steps. Is an associate scheme an option?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The associates scheme isn’t very close to us and would mean she wouldn’t get to dance as much as she also does ISTD modern and tap.  There are other classes she can attend and we’ve spent a lot of time today looking at them but I do think trialling them before we decide is definitely the best way.  I’m not even sure how confident I would be putting her forward for the associate scheme given how far behind she is, there will be girls already in grade 2 classes at her age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand your fear about putting her forward for an associate scheme. But do remember that at your daughter's young age they will be looking at potential and many schemes only start at age 8 anyway. If distance is an issue, depending where you are, could a monthly or fortnightly scheme be an option? My dd's first associate was monthly, and it was just what she needed at the time to improve her confidence. She now attends a different fortnightly one which works well for us. Glad you're looking into alternative local schools and I hope you'll reach a decision that works well for all the family.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, OnlyDance said:

I understand your fear about putting her forward for an associate scheme. But do remember that at your daughter's young age they will be looking at potential and many schemes only start at age 8 anyway. If distance is an issue, depending where you are, could a monthly or fortnightly scheme be an option? My dd's first associate was monthly, and it was just what she needed at the time to improve her confidence. She now attends a different fortnightly one which works well for us. Glad you're looking into alternative local schools and I hope you'll reach a decision that works well for all the family.

 

That’s a really interesting point a monthly session would be a fabulous start.  I’ll have a look and see if they do a monthly one ☺️ Thank you so much for replying xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, ParentTaxi said:

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'

Thank you, that is reassuring to hear.  I told my daughter last night that she wasn’t sitting her exam and if you’d seen the look on her face 😪.  Today brought more questions once she’d thought about it, she asked why there wasn’t a rad exam and I explained again they didn’t have enough numbers and she told me how sad it had made her and how much she was looking forward to the exam and moving into the next class and said that’s her in that class for another year and said again how sad it made her.  Do you happen to know if there’s any way for her to sit the exam in November at another dance school? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's unlikely your dance teacher will accept your DD doing her exam elsewhere. Can I suggest approaching them again and ask whether she can do grade 1 now together with the primary classes? That way, she can learn stuff that is new and also keep reminding herself of the stuff needed for the exam next year. It will mean extra fees of course but a suggestion?  Or alternately, move her. The school should have given you a cogent reason in the first place and to tell you to leave if you're not happy is hardly a dance school worth your effort? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, HopelessMummy said:

I think it's unlikely your dance teacher will accept your DD doing her exam elsewhere. Can I suggest approaching them again and ask whether she can do grade 1 now together with the primary classes? That way, she can learn stuff that is new and also keep reminding herself of the stuff needed for the exam next year. It will mean extra fees of course but a suggestion?  Or alternately, move her. The school should have given you a cogent reason in the first place and to tell you to leave if you're not happy is hardly a dance school worth your effort? 

I was going to approach them again and ask if they would let her do both at the same time as that would at least be a compromise however I’ve just checked the timetable and the classes are at the same time unfortunately. 

 

I think you are right though, I don’t think they would accept her doing it anywhere else anyway.  

 

Feel a bit stuck again as the reason we didn't actually move them both last time was given was given the timescales the earliest she would be able to do the exam with a change of school would have been November anyway and we thought we’d be as well just waiting and then making a decision after she’d sat the exam and now we’re in the exact same situation again except I have a very unhappy girl this time that feels like she’s not getting the chance to move on.  I’ll keep looking at the other options and keep speaking to as many teachers and mums as possible to make sure I make the right decision for them both. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A decent school will let you try classes before you decide. I was certain a change was best for our daughters when the teacher who was also the principal told me she couldn’t understand why my youngest daughter hadn’t been put in for her exam and when I saw how engaged she was with the children and they were with her. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Fiz said:

A decent school will let you try classes before you decide. I was certain a change was best for our daughters when the teacher who was also the principal told me she couldn’t understand why my youngest daughter hadn’t been put in for her exam and when I saw how engaged she was with the children and they were with her. 

I think they’re going to have some extra busy weeks coming up soon while we try out a few new classes.  How long did it take you to find a new school you were happy with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go with your gut. Mine was held back. No reason given. Eventually we went elsewhere for other reasons and wish we left earlier. If it doesn't feel right, it's probs not right. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...