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Big meeting at school today - bit nervous


Katymac
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DD goes to an ordinary comp; next year is yr11

 

We are planning quite a few audition, plus a few performances and lots & lots of dance/music lesson; so we are off for a chat about minimising work load, managing expectations and generally being proactive and discussing 'issues' before they become an issue.

 

We have arranged (for the last 2 years) that the PE lesson is used to 'catch up' on homework and for the last year that has happened in Ethics/Citizenship as well.  But each new teacher/cover has needed confirmation - & several times DD has been in 'trouble' as she hasn't been believed.  So we'd like to head that off before yr11 starts as I think it could be quite an emotional year.

 

She isn't doing classical Ballet (she isn't good enough) so there are a lot of colleges she is considering which means a lot of time off; I've tried to minimise it and done lots of Open Days this year.  Her plan B also needs auditions (level 3 BTEC) but tbh DD would rather not do them - I need to persuade the school that time off for Plan B is necessary (even if DD thinks it isn't)

 

Has anyone any helpful tips/hints or suggestions to help us this year?

 

My feelings aren't helped by the fact that the serious sportsmen/women in the school are supported well with lots of helpful/useful concessions etc.  But of course DD is only doing dance. :rolleyes:

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I think you are lucky that school has had concessions for catching up with homework during PE etc.  DDs school does not allow that. 

When I approached DDs school re year 11 I did not make any distinction to the school about plan A or B.  I explained that DD needed assistance from the school on 2 fronts - 1 that she would need time off for auditions and 2 that school would be approached for references for her.  I asked who I should use as a point of contact and said that some, though not all, of the auditions, we could choose dates for and asked when from the schools point of view were the best and worst times for DD to miss any school.  Hence we ended up with many early auditions as school requested we avoid January if possible.  School gave me a contact and asked for as much notice as possible for each audition and the name of each school she auditioned for.  They stressed that I had to go through this contact for her absences to be authorised.  DD organised herself with subject teachers for any work missed, clashes with mock exams etc.  Most were interested in what she was trying to achieve and she got the support she asked for.  DDs school was certainly more supportive of year 11 absences due to auditions than time off for performances.  My DD was never able to do anything like English Youth Ballet as time off for dance was only granted for exams, not rehearsals or performances and she was never allowed to use a PE or Citizenship lesson to do work missed.

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Hi Katymac

 

It sounds like you have done your "homework" 'scuse the pun on the colleges. We eliminated quite a few to save money and  dd didn't even go back to Laine for their funding audition as she did not like the feel of it there. Others were eliminated on grounds of affordability rent etc £200 to rent nr Urdang etc.

 

The best advice I can give you is to get well prepared over the summer, form filling and photograph taking and looking at last years audition dates will give you a good idea of how much time you have... eg.Hammond dada's offers had been sent out mid March other colleges were still auditioning until well after Easter.

Also get dd prepared choose songs,dances monologues etc. my dd was fed up of hearing the phrase "fail to prepare,prepare to fail".

 

We were asked to avoid auditioning  around GCSE time. Does school need to know that some auditions will be planB ?

 

If there is anything specific you would like to know feel free to PM me and I will help if I can.

 

Good Luck as it is a stressful time.

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Firstly good luck. It sounds like your DDs school is quite supportive.

 

Just be honest with them. If her passion is dance then she should follow it and have the support of her school. Education is needed but we don't all want to be academics.

 

My DD has struggled to balance school commitments and a heavy dance schedule. School have given her no support or special concessions. However, it has made her written work concise and to the point as she does not have the time for "waffle"! So in many ways she has learnt a valuable skill. In fact one teacher asked her if she was a busy person out of school as her writing style was so succinct!

 

Luckily for 6th form she will be at a vocational school and I am so looking forwards to the twin academic and vocational aims will be supported and to be honest it will simplify life from that aspect.

 

In my opinion schools place little value on dance. The newsletters are full of those sporting, academic and musical achievements, but none about the dance achievements!

 

Year 11 is a toughie but early applications and auditions certainly helped us.Social life has suffered for DD ( and for us!) her commitment to dance should carry her through. If school are willing to make any concessions then so much the better.

 

Let us know how you get on.

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Echo the advice above to use the summer for both you and DD to prepare thoroughly as year 11 is a rollercoaster ride and it goes so fast. Looking at last years dates is a good idea.  The MT colleges do tend to audition later than some of the more dance orientated ones, although it does vary. 

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We found dd's school (local state) just completely lacked any understanding about dance (ballet) courses and eventually gave up trying to explain properly. We referred to auditions as interviews for 6th form and this seemed to be accepted. Like others no concessions at all were made re: PE lessons etc. DD did check with subject teachers when exams/mocks would be so we could avaoid those dates but at the end of the day we knew what she wanted to do and made our decisions regardless of the schools position and if they had refused permission it would just have been an unauthorised absence and we would have gone anyway. Your school sounds much more supportive so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

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You have obviously given this a great deal of thought and I am sure that the school will realise this. If you feel it necessary, I would politely refer to the support and help provided for and concessions given to the serious sportspeople, indicate how impressed you have been to see this support by the school and request the same level of support and the same concessions for your DD. One serious commitment (ie to sport - or to music, etc) is neither more nor less important than your DD's commitment to dance.

 

I wouldn't mention that there is a plan A and a plan B; I don't think the school will realise that there is any difference and you don't want them saying that they will support time off for plan A but not for plan B, etc.

 

I would also give them the worst case scenario re number of days likely to be missed for auditions - then you can let them know if your DD decides not to audition everywhere and confirm that this means she will need less time off, which should be a plus point for your DD!

 

Do mention your DD's accomplishments thus far in dance and advise the school (or remind them) of any successful auditions, exams

etc that she has already done. Rightly or wrongly, tangible evidence of successes in the dance world may make the school more likely to be understanding and supportive of your DD's ambitions.

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The PE thing was a concession as we objected to 14 GCSEs

 

Too many auditions is a problem; we have such differing views of DD from teachers - so we really don't know how good she is.  So we have to do the great colleges & the more realistic ones too plus the level 3s.  We are arguing discussing it all the time.

 

Clarity of 'system' is something I will concentrate on - so we know the process, I'm guessing if we get as far as 2nd auditions (I think some of them do that) they could be shorter notice. 

 

Forms over the summer is planned, along with photos - we took some earlier in the year so we are starting to get an idea of 'how not to' ;)

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Never mind the students - I also had to have an interview with the head, to explain why I needed so much time (unpaid) off work to take my DS to auditions!  Have promised my attendance will be better this year.  So it is unfortunate DD is now seriously considering a vocational school for music.  :wacko:

Meadowblythe

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Wow Katymac you are so organised already! We are delaying the discussion/search of collages until after Tring

park summer school next week. DD is not sure whether to apply for MT or dance at this stage since she was all about the ballet when she was young but now is becoming more interested in the drama/singing side of MT. We are lucky in the fact that we are not in the UK and exams at 16 here are just in maths English and the mother tongue of the country where we live so there is not too much pressure in terms of academics like in the UK. I know that we will only apply to those places that do A'levels or other HE courses though since DD wants to be able to go to uni if she doesnt make it as a dancer so we will limit our applications in this way but I know what you mean, I'm dreading the whole process especially since it also involves flights for us too. Thank goodness there is quite a big gap between DD and her brother!

 

Good luck anyway and maybe we will meet at some auditions next year!

Dramascientist

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It started off with them being a bit hmm about the whole thing

 

After I'd discussed the whole situation:

 

They were awestruck at DD & the amount she does (& a little concerned)

They are worried about her GCSEs (finally) & agree she is doing too many

They are worried about her auditions & the amount of time off school she will need

They understand my need to be in regular contact with the school & DD's teachers

They agree (tentatively) with my audition strategy

 

But they don't have any solutions - they have to think about it

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Goodness abroad - that's hard

 

I'm my own boss (fortunately) & DH can cover for me if needed; but I think DD will want both of us for auditions

 

Summer schools - she is doing Watkins, Arts Ed & maybe Bodyworks............so with our holiday she has 1 week off <gulp>

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My daughter got invited to attend the sports award evening at her secondary school. They included a section of awards for students who represent county level and above. My daughter was awarded a trophy for excellence in ballet in this category for getting into royal ballet sa's this year. The head teacher also included a nice little speech. Sadly I missed it as I had to take my son to football however my husband said it brought a tear to his eye! We are very lucky to have a very supportive school.

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We have an afternoon off & a late start on a Friday.

 

We can't do Pilates/Yoga at school as she would need to be supervised (apparently)

 

She can't work through form-time

 

I have a named person to liaise with about auditions but I can't contact the teachers about her progress.

 

They do agree with our audition strategy and it's been suggested that she gets herself 'assessed' to see how good she is so we can choose colleges more sensibly (not sure how to do that)

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Your named person to liaise with is what you really needed.  The afternoon off and late start day are bonuses to help DD manage her workload.  Personally I would not worry about the teacher's contact as your DD sees them all the time and really it is up to her to do the work.  We made sure we spoke to all the teachers at DDs parents evening and that helped further and made it easier for DD as individual teachers took note of any crucial dates for DD to make sure that things like the drama practical and language oral exams did not clash for her.  But really it was down to DD communicating with her teachers.

 

I'm not sure how you would get your DD 'assessed' either as that is surely what the auditions themselves do.  If you still have a long list of colleges, bear in mind that by staggering the dates you might be able to drop a college, in particular one of those on the plan b list if DD is offered an affordable place somewhere else first.

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