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Does anyone think upper school students should get a reduction in their fees, due to this horrible virus. I suppose the schools still have to balance the books to keep their heads above water, but are the students getting a fair deal? I can see both sides, but what are your thoughts?

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I think all students, ballet, further education, university etc all deserve to have fees refunded. They are not being taught properly and are paying outrageous sums. What is happening to university students throughout the country is heartbreaking. 

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Are Upper schools getting less teaching? I think universities vary quite a bit depending on which one and what course. I certainly don’t think that online teaching Is as good as face to face for many things. Probably ok for lectures as there’s no interaction in those anyway but a poor substitute for many other things. I feel many of them probably haven’t been totally honest because they wanted to preserve their income...

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Tbh I think I had presumed that upper schools would be back to normal lessons and being taught in person. Is that not the case? School sixth forms are back in school so are Tring, Hammond, Elmhurst etc back as normal?

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I’ve got two at university and although they aren’t experiencing a normal start to the year neither is the rest of the country. If they came home they would be under exactly the same restrictions that they are currently under. Both of their unis explained how it was going to work before they went back. Both offered blended teaching  ( online and in person when In small socially distanced groups). They can both book rooms/library space on their respective campuses, facilities they would not have if they were at home. There have been no surprises or big changes of rules since they went away. So if we could see what we were getting into why is a big shock to others? 
It’s not ideal but not unexpected. We decided in our house life goes on and we have to learn to live with the virus. This means taking all possible precautions and getting on with it.
That is our choice and I would never judge the choices others make to keep themselves well physically and mentally.
Sorry to go slightly off topic.

Edited by Peach3
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10 hours ago, Vonrothbart said:

Does anyone think upper school students should get a reduction in their fees, due to this horrible virus. I suppose the schools still have to balance the books to keep their heads above water, but are the students getting a fair deal? I can see both sides, but what are your thoughts?

 

Hmmmm, how party political are we allowed to get here?

 

If we had a coherent, visible, legible, and properly science-led strategy (see Germany, where my family member who works in professional dance was working safely throughout lockdown, and they launched their new season a few weeks ago) from our national Government, a lot of these subsidiary questions would be able to be answered more satisfactorily.

 

I can't speak for vocational dance, but at my university, we are teaching studio practical classes in person, properly 2m socially distanced and masked. My university has spent upwards of £8 million over the summer on COVID-19 security, including setting up (at university cost) our own rapid response testing system. I'm personally teaching online at the moment, because the seminar modules I teach are better done without masks and distancing - I think the students will receive as good (if not better) an experience online. But I expect to be teaching in the studio (with modified & adapted material - no aerobic activity, no group activity - I'll be using the Laban kinesphere a lot!) in January, for a studio practice module. Converting my teaching to online teaching took over a lot of my research/book writing time (part of my actual job) over the summer, and my teaching hours have tripled, because I'm teaching my modules in very small groups to maximise quality of the online collaborative learning experience. Meanwhile, I've given up most of my out of house activities, so that I stay as healthy as possible, so I'm OK to teach in January. I'm not going back to my live ballet studio, and I do go to the gym twice a week, but not to group classes. I don't see friends or travel - I'm not allowed to for work (which makes my work difficult at times, but archives and libraries are mostly closed), and I've made the personal decision that the beach and the moors will be there next year. Although without a garden, I pine for trees and fresh air, but, well, this too will pass ... 

 

If fees are reduced, this needs to be a government decision. Universities have not been given extra funding - we have been offered short-term loans. University tuition fees barely cover the costs of most undergrad courses - the arts typically subsidise the sciences, but even arts degrees are only just covered by the current tuition fee.

 

For private schools, this is going to be a decision balanced between commercial & safety considerations. But I think we need to remember, that if we want these schools and other institutions to survive, we may need to find ways to cope with the situation. It's all very well to demand one's consumer rights, but what if by doing so, we put the very thing we want, out of business? I think we all need to think long-term and sustainably. Do you want your ballet studio to be there when we find our ways out of this? 

 

I found Nica Burns on Radio 4's Broadcasting House yesterday quite inspirational. She said that she looked at making people redundant, and it would cost £1.5 million - and she said she thought it would be better to use that money keeping people employed. She's looking at just keeping things going. 

 

We have to hope that this is temporary. It must be very difficult for young people for whom 1 year is 5% of their life, rather than the 1.6% of mine. And for those in demanding physical training, the feeling of opportunities slipping past must sometimes lead to despair and panic. But it will pass, we will learn to live with the virus, and I have faith in those (university) scientists in helping us to live with the virus. 

 

Anyway, rant over 

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I can’t thank and praise my DD’s dance college enough for all that they did during lockdown with zoom classes, it was as tho she was still at college there were that many! And now they have returned they are building each week, now in their 5th week back! We are more than happy with arrangements ❤️

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I think it’s a fine balance tbh my Dd is doing a BA at the Hammond and all PS and BA face to face have been suspended due to cases in the over 16.  Apparently the uni which the Hammond is under told them they couldn’t teach the BA F2F and they stud up for the students and have now gone straight to a full as can be on zoom with a review after half term, yes the Hammond has its fault but they have been excellent since March and they are taking the students learning and welfare into account over money!!  It is annoying though that the associates have been completely suspended along with all productions including assessment productions

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2 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

For private schools, this is going to be a decision balanced between commercial & safety considerations. But I think we need to remember, that if we want these schools and other institutions to survive, we may need to find ways to cope with the situation. It's all very well to demand one's consumer rights, but what if by doing so, we put the very thing we want, out of business? I think we all need to think long-term and sustainably. Do you want your ballet studio to be there when we find our ways out of this? 

 

 

^This.  Many times over.

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4 hours ago, Peach3 said:

I’ve got two at university and although they aren’t experiencing a normal start to the year neither is the rest of the country. If they came home they would be under exactly the same restrictions that they are currently under. Both of their unis explained how it was going to work before they went back. Both offered blended teaching  ( online and in person when In small socially distanced groups). They can both book rooms/library space on their respective campuses, facilities they would not have if they were at home. There have been no surprises or big changes of rules since they went away. So if we could see what we were getting into why is a big shock to others? 
It’s not ideal but not unexpected. We decided in our house life goes on and we have to learn to live with the virus. This means taking all possible precautions and getting on with it.
That is our choice and I would never judge the choices others make to keep themselves well physically and mentally.
Sorry to go slightly off topic.

Hi @Peach3I was thinking specifically of the University of Glasgow which has done nothing to help their students - no communication at all beyond telling them to stay in their rooms after the students had discovered their blocks had been fenced off and were guarded by police. When they asked what they should do about food they were told it was nothing to do with university and to sort it out themselves. I have heard similar stories about other universities. 
I’m glad your daughter is safe and well. 

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I think we need to be careful speculating about what has and hasn't been done by individual institutions. Unless someone has a son or daughter at that university or college we cannot know all of the details. Newspapers and television media are looking for shock stories, and will (mostly) spin facts to support their agenda. So while there is most likely some truth in the media reports regarding university lockdowns, the true situation might not be as shocking as it's being reported. 

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1 hour ago, Fiz said:

Hi @Peach3I was thinking specifically of the University of Glasgow which has done nothing to help their students - no communication at all beyond telling them to stay in their rooms after the students had discovered their blocks had been fenced off and were guarded by police. When they asked what they should do about food they were told it was nothing to do with university and to sort it out themselves. I have heard similar stories about other universities. 
I’m glad your daughter is safe and well. 

I'd hardly call a month's rent refund, £50 for food and takeaways including putting mobile food unit on campus & provision of clean bedding/towels for those isolating doing nothing.

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The whole situation is a nightmare. The situation Fiz describes is clearly unacceptable. If I understand the Scottish education system correctly, first years can be as young as 17, and even those who are technically adults are still very young and for many it will be their first time living away from home. If it was my child, and the circumstances are indeed as are being widely reported, I would be very worried and upset.

However, universities, colleges and schools still have costs to cover, including staff to pay and the money has to come from somewhere. I have little time for the current government but I do think they are in a difficult situation here and the public purse cannot fund everything.  Most of the economy has been hit hard, there are very few "winners" in any of this, but as Kate_N and others have said, if we want the businesses and facilities that we enjoyed prior to the pandemic to still be there after it then we have to carry some of those costs. Even things like clubs run by volunteers are suffering from people not being willing to pay subscriptions to keep things ticking over, and they have relatively small outgoings, so for businesses it must be even worse. I know of several dance schools who have been unable to reopen, and I suspect there will be many more to close if things don't improve soon. Even big names may not be safe in the long term.

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7 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

I found Nica Burns on Radio 4's Broadcasting House yesterday quite inspirational. She said that she looked at making people redundant, and it would cost £1.5 million - and she said she thought it would be better to use that money keeping people employed. She's looking at just keeping things going. 

Yes, absolutely agree! A voice of total sense both philosophically & frankly sound business looking at both the short, mid & long term....

I really hope she is in whatever steering committees there are looking st culture & the arts & frankly I’d hand over the reins of running the country to her if I could as she seems to really be an action taker & clear communicator....2 key features sadly lacking in most of our politicisns at present....

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Some very interesting opinions, it's probably impossible to find an answer that meets everyone's needs. Of course we need to make sure the schools survive, which I'm sure they would find difficult with reduced income. I think most of them have worked their backsides off, trying to make the best of an almost impossible situation. 

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On 27/09/2020 at 21:08, Fiz said:

I think all students, ballet, further education, university etc all deserve to have fees refunded. They are not being taught properly and are paying outrageous sums. What is happening to university students throughout the country is heartbreaking. 

But we had a friends daughter who was at University prior to the Virus and only received 4 lectures a week and 1 tutorial! Was this good value ?

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That's appalling.  What was she doing - English Literature?  (Sorry - my roommate was doing EL back last century and "only" had 14 contact hours a week.  I had 21, and was quite jealous of all her "spare" time)

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I know this thread is about upper schools, which are very expensive, but it's also really problematic for the afternoon ballet schools to make it work financially.  We started the term and then were put back into lockdown.  Very few classes agreed to learn via zoom, so the parents aren't paying anything and the ones who did agree are paying a reduced rate.   Teachers need to be paid though, so it's  a real struggle for the management to balance the payments.  Many of my colleagues, who are teachers with their own schools, are not prepared or able to teach via zoom and may end up losing their schools.I think our school is being very considerate of the parents - the question is at what cost?  Teachers need to survive too...........?

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1 hour ago, Dance*is*life said:

I know this thread is about upper schools, which are very expensive, but it's also really problematic for the afternoon ballet schools to make it work financially.  We started the term and then were put back into lockdown.  Very few classes agreed to learn via zoom, so the parents aren't paying anything and the ones who did agree are paying a reduced rate.   Teachers need to be paid though, so it's  a real struggle for the management to balance the payments.  Many of my colleagues, who are teachers with their own schools, are not prepared or able to teach via zoom and may end up losing their schools.I think our school is being very considerate of the parents - the question is at what cost?  Teachers need to survive too...........?

Exactly!

And the government self-employment support scheme is of no use to anyone if most of your day-to-day expenses relate also to the running of the business (because they count against profits in 'normal time') as the SEISS only pays you 80% of your average 3 years profits! My colleagues who registered as limited companies get nothing....

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@drdance & @Dance*is*life I completely agree! I am in the process of Covid proofing my income by taking on additional work in other fields so that if we have to close again I have something else to fall back on. Devastating but I can’t expect the studio owner I work for to prioritise my earnings above their own 

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5 hours ago, akh said:

But we had a friends daughter who was at University prior to the Virus and only received 4 lectures a week and 1 tutorial! Was this good value ?

 

That's pretty typical of a BA at Oxford or Cambridge. Are those degrees "good value"?

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22 minutes ago, Bluebird22 said:

@drdance & @Dance*is*life I completely agree! I am in the process of Covid proofing my income by taking on additional work in other fields so that if we have to close again I have something else to fall back on. Devastating but I can’t expect the studio owner I work for to prioritise my earnings above their own 

I expect you are not alone & wish you every luck as you are clearly very fair & proactive 

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Can’t limited companies furlough staff though? 
the trouble with zoom is that it’s not what people have signed up for, in many cases it’s impractical because of lack of IT or suitable space, or internet connection, security concerns or kids just don’t like it. It’s quite restricted what you can do- turning and jumping on carpeted, concrete floors is a bit of a safety risk so often just missed out. For a few weeks I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suspend classes without any refund but when it’s months and months It’s tricky. Reduced cost with offer of some sort of online class seems to be a fair compromise.
 

my degree was 30 hours a week, I thought of English when short contact hours were mentioned too🤣 It was still 12-14 hours a week In the first year at my uni . I know there’s onerous marking and feedback but yes I would feel short changed by 4 lectures and 1 tutorial. They’re obviously subsidising the courses like mine 😉
 

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Yes Limited Companies were able to furlough their staff, but the difficulty came for people who run one man/woman band businesses set up as limited companies of which they are a director.

 

Technically the rules allowed for directors to be furloughed - but in  this circumstance they weren't allowed to do any work for the business over and above their statutory obligations as a director, which made it very difficult for directors to take advantage of the furlough scheme and still keep their business running.

 

Also many people in this circumstance pay themselves a minimal wage (taking money out of the business as dividends when they make a profit) and furlough entitlement was based on wage not dividend.

 

 

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Taking dividends instead of earnings is a way of reducing your tax bill though. If they’re not declaring it as earnings for paye, then it’s fair it doesn’t count towards earnings for the furlough scheme either! 
I’ve heard some schools insist on their regular teachers working on a self employed basis (which I believe is contrary to employment law if they are to all intents and purposes ‘employed’ rather than just independently using the studio space). Presumably that has meant they couldn’t access the furlough scheme when really they should have been able to

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8 hours ago, Peony said:

Taking dividends instead of earnings is a way of reducing your tax bill though. If they’re not declaring it as earnings for paye, then it’s fair it doesn’t count towards earnings for the furlough scheme either!

But many people are a Ltd company instead of being self-employed. The main reason for paying a directors minimum salary and dividends is often that earnings fluctuate, so they can't be sure at the start of the financial year what they'll earn. You pay corporation and dividend tax on that money, which is a pretty similar level to PAYE income tax and NI.

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