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WL or Elmhurst?


J9wot242
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Hello All, I'm new to this ballet scene but I wondered if anyone had any advice with regards to WL and Elmhurst.

 

My DD has been an associate at Elm for 3 years and a JA for 1 year.  She has got through to the finals for Elm and we have been really impressed with the tour round and how the school is run.  We are more turned towards Elm (if she gets offered a place) but unsure what to do if she is lucky enough to get offered a place at WL.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks

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There are so many factors involved in deciding where to send your child if indeed sending them away to school is the right thing for them.

 

You not only have to consider the quality of the training but all the other things you would be thinking avout at a normal school, academics, ethos, pastoral care, distance from home etc.

 

What suits one may not suit another

 

I suggest you post this in the doing dance section where there are lots if parents who have had to make similar decisions.

 

And good luck to her for finals.

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There are other threads on similar discussions. Most don't have a choice. Some children are offered one, but not the other, so WL, not Elmhurst, or Elmhurst not WL. If you do have a choice there are many practical considerations.

 

If you require funding although both schools offer MDS they fund different different things. Distance from home is an important consideration as you will not know until your child starts vocational school how they will cope (and this can change as they move through the school), so there is distance to the school in terms of time as well as how much it will cost in fuel (now a real issue for some with fuel prices) or rail fares. Additional costs are school and dance uniform, music lessons and Bupa cover. All these items add up.

 

Both schools have a different feel, in the environment, buildings, pastoral, dance and academics, both are excellent, but different.  If your DC is invited to finals at both you will be able to have a small window into how they feel. Both schools make you very welcome at finals and its a very special time. If you have a choice what I will say is you need to listen to your child and where they feel they will be most happy. Going away from home at 11 is a very bumpy road, very hard for you and the children, and if they feel they are in the wrong place it can be much worse. Families have turned down places at both schools for different reasons.

 

Best wishes to your DC for WL and Elmhurst. Share your journey and the forum will share information and support.

 

NL

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In my experience, the more you are involved with a school, the more it grows on you. You are bound to feel more inclined towards Elm because you have been an associate for 3 years and toured round the school.

 

However, you have to be objective and look at what will be best for your daughter.

 

I also find that a lot of children (and parents) are swayed by ' the look of the buildings' and 'feel' - you're not buying a house!

 

Also, yes its about where your child feels happiest but as we know, 10yr olds can often be swayed by one odd thing e.g. my DD was overawed by the fact that you could get hot chocolate out of a machine in the dining hall at White Lodge whenever you want, and if she'd had a choice, would have made it based on that - not  a great basis for making a decision  :)

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I would also suggest that location and logistics are an important factor.

 

its hard finding the right secondary school for any child, all schools look very glossy when having tours and do their utmost to make you feel welcome, add to the mixing pot dance training and boarding and there are a huge number of questions and considerations - all of which will be very personal to your child and your family.

 

Weekend activities, accessability, food options, extra ciricular opportunitiies, discipline, cost of additional trips are just a few things which make each child feel different about each school and unfortunately difficult to get a true feel for when having a school tour. 

 

Keep all options open, see what decisions you have to make and best of luck with the auditions!

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We were fortunate to experience both schools - which would I choose if I had to....? No idea :D

 

Well, that's not quite true - would probably have chosen WL but ONLY because it's 40 minutes away from us rather than 2.5 hours.  Both excellent training, lovely house staff, great facilities (now that the boarding and studios have been sorted at WL), good academic teaching.  Don't get me wrong - it's not all rosy at either school, but there's nothing really that makes me favour one over the other, except there's something lovely about going to a school in Richmond Park - I miss that ;) , but we've kept in touch with staff at both schools so we're lucky that we can visit occasionally.

 

As it turned out, Elmhurst was the better school for my son, but mainly because the ballet class was much smaller and he got more individual attention - that's not a luxury you have in many years anyway (especially for girls).  Also the physio/medical care he received at Elmhurst was much better than at WL which turned out to be an important issue for him.

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All good advice.  Another thing to consider is the kudos attached to attending WL.  Everyone the world over has heard of the RBS.  However things turn out, to have that on your CV will always be impressive both inside and outside of the ballet world.  I have experience of both schools but find many people haven't heard of Elmhurst.  Obviously this is not the only consideration, but worth thinking through.  Good luck with the auditions; it is a very anxious time.

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I think it's very hard to turn WL down. DC was lucky enough to be offered both WL and Elmhurst and although Elmhurst much closer chose WL. We found Elmhurst very accommodating and friendly and more homely than WL but still chose WL .

Three students from last years year 11 at Elmhurst were offered a place at RBS upper school and all accepted , even though one of them had been assessed out in year 9 at WL. It's difficult to turn down WL.

I must also add I do think Elmhurst is a very good school.

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You're quite right about the kudos attached to WL - my dream (and I'm sure Elmhurst's ;) ) is that eventually people will see the schools as the same and choose the one closest to them.  Having had the advantage of experiencing both lower schools, if I'm completely honest, given the choice I suppose I'd have chosen WL when he went for year 7 because of the reputation.  At that time, Elmhurst was just moving to Birmingham, ds was a JA and we never even thought to audition anywhere else - the ballet forum didn't have all the parents on like it does now so there wasn't advice out there like you now have.

 

Something to remember is that what matters more on a student's CV is where they graduate from, so your choice of lower school is just about giving them the best chance possible to get into as good an upper school as possible - if you get my drift.  But I suppose it's always going to be nice for my son (and me) to say that he spent a few years at the Royal Ballet School! 

 

My ds always felt bottom of the class at WL (we had to remind him that even being at the bottom of 12 students at the RBS was amazing!) so although we're all glad he went there, we were also glad he moved.  It is quite tough to be at WL and not be one of the favourites with the director!

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When thinking of 6th form places at Elm or WL one must also remember that at the moment Elm's 6th form is funded by DADA but WL is MDS which works out alot cheaper for many folks. Although at a event at Elm I have heard Robert Parker aknowledge this problem and say that they are hoping to do something about it. Whether they will manage that in the current financial climate remains to be seen.

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Good point Peach3 but very, very few students are in a fortunate position to need to choose whether or not to go to Royal Ballet Upper School ;)

 

Would be good if Elmhurst could manage to fund some upper school places in the MDS system, especially with the problems of DaDA funding at the moment.

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