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Assessment/appraisal results


JulieW
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Just wanted to wish everyone waiting for their assessment/appraisal results good luck, and to say that if it's bad news I'm at the end of the keyboard to "listen" - we know how awful it is, but also that it's not the end of the world, or a possible ballet career.

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I was mainly thinking of Elmhurst and White Lodge as I know their letters come during half term, but I know that Hammond and Tring have assessments too - just not sure when they get their results. When I think back, waiting for year 9 (especially) appraisal results ranks as much worse than results of auditions :unsure:

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Hoping results aren't to long in coming. I remember the day we got our letter telling my DS he was no longer suitable for W/Ltraining and as both JulieW (thanks for all your support) and Meadowblythe say it is not the end of the road. My DS has done much better by changing schools. It is a very stressful time and if I can help in any way, not as good as Julie to emotional! I'm afraid.

 

Regarding Tring I believe they don't assess out but can withdraw funding which we know happened to one boy.

 

Wishing all good luck, we know our apprasial result (deferred) as DS did'nt do it due to injury!..

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I was specifically thinking of the full-time students dancing10 as they hear during half-term and the results can have a huge impact on their lives one way or another, but of course I wish the best of luck to the associates too ;)

 

We had one horrible year at WL when the appraisals were at a different time and we were told to expect a phone call if they were not being offered another year's training - but not when the phone call might come. What a terrible couple of weeks they were - avoiding answering the phone, or coming home and dreading hearing Miss Van Schoor's voice on the answerphone, and the sick feeling when my friend rang me to say she'd had bad news.

 

I've often heard people complain about the system, but I always say that we know that's how it is when the children go into the school(s). It is absolutely horrible when you get bad news, especially if it comes out of the blue, but you quickly have to move on and make other plans and as I have often said "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".

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Why does it come out of the blue like that Julie? I'm at a loss to see why the schools don't mention areas of concern beforehand so that families are at least forewarned if possible. I know people go into things with their eyes open, but if you get excluded from an academic school - or sacked from a job - you at least get warning first (hopefully!). I don't understand why they can't either give a reason in the results letter or have correspondence or meetings with parents first?

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The whole system is archaic and out of touch with modern education techniques! My DD's friend got assessed out and it was completely out of the blue. She actually had a meeting with the ballet teacher on the week-end of the half-term where she was given a good report and then 2 days later received an appraisal letter saying she was assessed out. I don't think the director of the school takes any notice of what the teachers who see them every day say. It is all on one yearly appraisal class, a bit like an exam. Also know of a couple of people who were assessed out one year and assessed back in a year or two later. i understand the need for assessing out and that it is part of being in the ballet school system, but its the whole way they seem to do it.

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We were given a hint at the teacher meeting in the December but they wouldn't give us a clear "you may get assessed out" I think it all depends on Ms Stock and how you do on the day.

 

But it shouldn't only be "how you do on the day"; imagine if you were coming down with something? Surely they take into account more than just one day?

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I have to say that this is how the Bolshoi Academy works also, assesment in front of the whole panel and then the student will be told if they are to stay or be assessed out. They are given marks by the teachers but it all comes down to the panel. Must admit I am feeling rather anxious as these assessments dont happen until May, by which time all the auditions in England will be finished.

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To answer some of your questions/comments - the point is that we don't really have the answers and I think this is somewhere where the schools could do with being a bit more transparent - so this is just my opinion (and I can only talk about WL and Elmhurst from personal experience).

 

The assessment/appraisal classes aren't quite like an exam where you pass or fail depending what you do on the day as they are mainly considering the student's physical traits, not just how well they do their pirouettes. For example, most of the people I know who have an idea of why they're assessed out have been for reasons like lack of flexibility, feet not being "right" for pointe, girls who no longer have the "right" physique. The panel will have had input into the score given like in an exam (we don't see the score at Elmhurst), but there is certainly a feeling that it's whether the director of the school likes you or not (at WL particularly). So I suppose this is where the disparity between their ballet reports and the appraisal results come in.

 

Elmhurst results are given as "Satisfactory", "Satisfactory with concerns" or "Unsatisfactory" but the unsatisfactory only leads to them leaving in year 9 (some people choose to leave after an unsatisfactory result). As I have said before, the year before my son was assessed out of WL we had a results letter showing that he had passed his appraisal but that they had concerns about his future as a ballet dancer (turns out they were wrong of course as he now has contract ;):) ) so we had at least had a bit of a warning, but I know that not everyone gets this, and can have had a pass the previous year, and satisfactory ballet reports, to then find they aren't being offered further training. This is shocking when it happens, and some people will be very angry, but ultimately it's up to the director who is in their school and there's nothing you can do about that, you just have to live with it and move on in whichever direction is best for your child.

 

There certainly have been some "odd" situations over the last few years with students being assessed out and then getting back in again, but as many of us know who those students are I'm not going to comment on what I think the reasons might have been.

 

We all know about students who haven't got into the schools in the first place or even got through to finals, who have gone on to be successful at getting places for sixth form and, beyond that, jobs. The same goes for students who get assessed out. The schools just have to do what they think is right for them at the time and as parents we just hope they're wrong!

 

(Primrose - good luck to your daughter - I never say "I'm sure she'll be fine" because what do I know :D - but I'm sure she will ;) )

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For boys, becoming too muscular can also be a reason for being assessed out.

I have known of children whose parents decided not to take up a place at vocational school, including WL, because they didn't want to put themselves and their child in that stressful situation.

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My heart goes out to those young dancers going through this harsh and unforgiving process. It's hard enough being a young teenager without the stress and uncertainty of whether one is going to have to change schools and leave friends.I understand the logic behind the assessing out procedure and why changing course is theoretically a good idea at an earlier stage rather than investing years of training in a classical ballet programme only to discover that you don't have what it takes to gain a classical contract. Well done to those who have made it through and to those who have received bad news this week please pay heed to the wisdom and experience of those on this forum who have been through this process and survived.

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Elmhurst results are given as "Satisfactory", "Satisfactory with concerns" or "Unsatisfactory" but the unsatisfactory only leads to them leaving in year 9 (some people choose to leave after an unsatisfactory result).

 

 

What is the implication of Satisfactory with Concerns? That seems a particularly harsh result as it sounds as though they don't really like you but let you stay anyway. Do any of these students go on to become Satisfactory?

 

Why would the school choose to keep students who a unsatisfactory? Surely that is not fair on students that audition for the school that may be denied a place due to lack of beds?

 

There are time when I am glad that we are not in the system as this sounds worse than waiting for actual audition results!

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Jellybeans - the Satisfactory with Concerns just means that they want to address something that might cause a problem. If that's not then overcome over the next year it would probably become an Unsatisfactory or, in my son's case, go back to Satisfactory followed by a place in sixth form. It's not that they don't like the student, just that there's something that needs more work in order to stay, or perhaps a concern about something physical that could go either way, but they're prepared to give it another year and see what happens.

 

As for getting an Unsatisfactory, but staying at the school, this is different at WL and Elmhurst. At WL if you fail your appraisal then you leave, no matter which year you're in, but Elmhurst's policy is only to "assess out" of year 9 so you can get Unsatisfactory in your assessment in years 7 or 8 but stay at the school. I can see what you mean about an "unsatisfactory" student taking up a much-needed place, but it's a kinder way to treat children of this age, and I believe there are some who go on to get Satisfactory in following years - children change such a lot at this age. Part of me thinks WL is better, being "cruel to be kind" but then I come back to how young these students are and what a huge impact these decisions have on them.

 

As I said before, some parents may choose to withdraw their child anyway after an Unsatisfactory result and if the child really wasn't getting anything out of the training I'm sure the school would suggest they find somewhere better suited to them - but that's just conjecture.

 

And yes, waiting for these results (especially in year 9) is far worse than waiting to hear about any audition :wacko:

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JulieW thanks so much for starting this thread. It's so nice to know there are people out there that could provide support if needed.

We have certainly found waiting for these letters to be more stressful than waiting for audiiton results. It was a 'yes' letter for DD and so we are breathing a sigh of relief, but next year who knows........it is absolutely gutting to hear about those having to leave, I do hope anybody in this situation resettles quickly and finds a place to continue training if they want to. Dancers change and develop at such different rates during these years - as JulieW's son has proved it doesn't have to be the end of the road.

 

Best wishes to anybody out there with equally shredded nerves :unsure:

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What happens to those assessed out? I know they can be invited to the finals of other vocational schools, but presume they may have missed the boat for local over-subscribed state schools? Must be a dreadfully upsetting and stressful time for parents and children.

 

It is strange how much children change though. Even at White Lodge and Elmhurst, I bet the 'best' children with the highest appraisal marks in year 7 are not necessarily the 'best' by year 9 and it probably changes again by year 11.

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Many audition for other vocational schools, but not all get in, and some don't want to audition so go home and perhaps carry on dancing locally until trying again when they're older, and we've known the odd one or two give up on the idea of a dance career at that point and just dance for fun instead. We were given the opportunity for my son to go to the associates class on a Saturday, but he got into Elmhurst so we went for that :). Our local comprehensive school didn't have spaces when I enquired, but they said that often people leave due to moving so he probably would have got in, but that was a worry. I think they're pretty sympathetic to your plight and would squeeze them if if at all possible.

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What happens to those assessed out? I know they can be invited to the finals of other vocational schools, but presume they may have missed the boat for local over-subscribed state schools? Must be a dreadfully upsetting and stressful time for parents and children.

 

It is strange how much children change though. Even at White Lodge and Elmhurst, I bet the 'best' children with the highest appraisal marks in year 7 are not necessarily the 'best' by year 9 and it probably changes again by year 11.

Yes I agree - it is clearly a marathon as opposed to a sprint if you see what I mean!

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The year it happened to us there were still audition dates available so we were able to audition for both Tring and Elmhurst. Mad dash to get photos done!! This doesn't seem to be the case now with both of these schools either not having audition dates or all booked up. One of the boys assessed out in our year was told all audition dates at Elmhurst were full but he was invited up to Elmhurst to take class instead of auditioning. Then recalled for finals. Not alot of help from W/L in getting places at other schools.

 

The treatment we received at these schools was very different with one of them saying "you have been assessed out of one and come here but there is no funding for you!" and we were made to feel as though we were wasting their time. The other very welcoming. The results were interesting as of the 4 who were assessed out in DS year 2 were offered both Tring and Elmhurst, 1 was offered Tring and 1 Elmhurst with not even a recall at Tring. Goes to show that each school is looking for something different.

 

Strangely my DS who hadn't been offered a place at our local state school even though he was a sibling for year 7 had remained on the Waiting List and was offered a place for year 10 which we could have needed!!

 

For us despite the angiush caused in being assessed out I think he is much happier and has progressed much better at the school he is at now than he would have been if he had stayed at W/L. I have been known to think should he have come here from year 7! But think what he would have missed out on performance wise if he had.

 

Being assessed out is still a very unpleasant situation to be in but as JulieW, Meadowblythe and myself can say it is not the end of being a dancer and changing schools can be a blessing.

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