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Applying to new performing arts school


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Hi,

when the school you are applying for contact their current school for a reference, is it regarding their academic ability? She’s only been there two months so I can’t think what else it could be.
Also, the school are not very supportive of her after school dance/hobbies.  When discussing home work and the amount they get and fitting it in, her teacher said well something has to give. Basically get the homework done and don’t go to dance. Seemed a bit unfair as it’s more than a hobby to her. It’s what she wants to do as a career.

Has anyone else had this from secondary school, and if so, how did you get the support in the end? 
They told me they set home work to take 20 mins, but I’ve been doing it with her and it is much longer. 24 pieces of home work since 15th September so far


I am hoping this is just secondary school, and not her individual school being extreme 

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It is possible that the teacher simply doesn't understand how serious she is about it and the amount of training involved

 

The way I approached it was to book an appointment with her head of year.  I explained that she had a serious vocational ambition and explained the amount of training she was doing outside school.  I drew up a little timetable showing her dance classes and travel time.  

 

Once the head of year understood this,  she actually came up with options herself, potentially dropping a subject, and having some days not in school for a full day.  She said they had recently had an aspiring footballer come through, and I think for him they arranged for him only to be in school 3 days a week.  In the end we didn't take up any of these options.  It seemed to be enough that once the staff knew what outside commitments she had, and why, they took the pressure off a little.

 

So if you are not getting the answer you want - go higher up the management tree. Explain that your dd will be competing with students at vocational school who are training for several hours every day, so it is important that she can keep up her level of training ahead of her auditions.

 

If your dd is taking much longer to do her homework than they expect it is worth asking for additional support from the school on this front.  We all help our kids with homework sometimes but it shouldn't be the norm all the time.  If it is they are not really getting the benefit from it.

 

 

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I think you are right. I need to speak to the head and explain. It’s not as though she’s just started it, all her hobbies have been going on for years. I guess she has just started secondary, so they have no back ground on her. Fingers crossed it goes well, as the teacher was less than interested and if she does not do homework there will be consequences. It was mentioned she could stay behind for half hour to do it, but sadly that’s when her hobbies start and the time it takes to get her, get her ready and get to the place, and that is daily! If she stayed behind she would have to give it up

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Learning to manage her time will be essential to your DD as she moves up through secondary school, and this skill will serve her well for vocational training where the pressures of academic work still have to be balanced with the demands of the artistic timetable. 24 pieces of homework is actually less than one a day (Mon-Fri) since 15th September, so the school will not consider this a lot. Lots of Year 7 students find training themselves to get homework done on time difficult, but if she is genuinely 100% focused on a task (ie no TV, no texting, etc) and it is taking longer than the allocated time, she is probably going into more detail than they expect her to. It will feel less overwhelming with a good plan of when things will be completed and keeping an eye on what needs doing first according to the submission dates will help :)

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DD is yr 11 .... she gets 2/3 homeworks a night,  each 40 minutes and some due in the next day.  She does have some grace from teachers who understand her 'out of school' schedule,  but she gets the work done! She doesn't start classes every night as early as she did ( straight from school ) but she is at the studio much later! Which means she is up late most nights completing school work. 

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47 minutes ago, SissonneDoublee said:

Learning to manage her time will be essential to your DD as she moves up through secondary school, and this skill will serve her well for vocational training where the pressures of academic work still have to be balanced with the demands of the artistic timetable. 24 pieces of homework is actually less than one a day (Mon-Fri) since 15th September, so the school will not consider this a lot. Lots of Year 7 students find training themselves to get homework done on time difficult, but if she is genuinely 100% focused on a task (ie no TV, no texting, etc) and it is taking longer than the allocated time, she is probably going into more detail than they expect her to. It will feel less overwhelming with a good plan of when things will be completed and keeping an eye on what needs doing first according to the submission dates will help :)

I think you have hit the nail on the head right there. If the home work is taking longer, going in to more detail than she actually needs to. I have been helping her, so maybe she’s learning from me too. The teacher did say is she doubting herself too much? So maybe the issue is more time management and knowing when to close the book, think and then go back to it, rather than not being able to fit it all in a 24 hr day. 

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Thank you everyone. I think tomorrow I need to rethink our routine and make some changes. All valid points above. Academically she is great so the last thing I want is the potential new school getting a bad reference because of me

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1 hour ago, Kanangra said:

The reference might be a character reference too - for effort and behaviour.

Thank you. I’ve spoken to the school a couple of times on the phone and both times they told me she is definitely one of the good kids. I guess they have taught many through the years they can tell who will give them grief or not. I think I just need to adapt an hour or two at home to keep everyone happy and go in the right direction. 

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2 hours ago, Ljmk said:

Thank you. I’ve spoken to the school a couple of times on the phone and both times they told me she is definitely one of the good kids. I guess they have taught many through the years they can tell who will give them grief or not. I think I just need to adapt an hour or two at home to keep everyone happy and go in the right direction. 

Sounds like you have nothing to worry about! Good luck with the new school!

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Best of luck, Ljmk.  I think that if you are open with the school and show that you are willing to work *with* them, it will go a long way towards them trying to reach a compromise with you.  

 

As well as all the great advice you’ve been given here about your dd learning time management and so on, I would say - from personal experience - that no matter how much potential a child has to make it as a professional dancer, it is *vital* to have a plan B, particularly in the form of a good range of academic qualifications if the child is at all academic.  So much could happen between now and earning money as a professional dancer; injury, illness, the job market, being assessed out of full time training or even the student changing her mind, which she must be allowed to do.  

 

These next few years will be about juggling quality dance training with keeping up with homework (and like dance, good academic work is about quality work, not just quantity - if a child is sitting for hours and hours but struggling to produce good, concise work, there’s something there that needs addressing).  

 

How much are you “helping” with homework, out of interest?  It sounds like you do need a good chat with the school to appraise them of your dd’s current ambition to dance professionally but also to discuss the homework issues. 

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A couple more thoughts from me:

  • It might help to schedule specific time for homework every day. eg if homework is supposed to take 20 minutes - maybe schedule a half hour for it each evening with no TV, no phones, and if it isn't completed in that time draw a line under it.  Explain to the school you are taking this approach as it may take a few weeks to settle into it and there will be some days when homework doesn't get completed.  
  • If possible make a special place for her to sit and do her homework.  This could be a desk in her bedroom, but it's OK if it;s the kitchen table if other distractions are removed.  It just helps with routine if you always do your homework in the same place.
  • When you speak to the head teacher, I suggest you don't describe dance as a 'hobby' - describe it as training for a future career.  
  • If your dd has other hobbies which aren't supportive of her end goal of being a dancer - maybe now is the time to consider if some of these should fall by the wayside.  For many dedicated young people there comes a time when they have to chose between say dancing and athletics/music and scouts.  Whilst it is great to keep some diversity, there often isn't time to fit everything once they are at secondary school.
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