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Getting a dance teachers permission to leave and attend a new ballet school


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Does anyone have any experience of this? My children and I wish to leave their existing school to attend another school however it appears we are unable to do so without the permission from the teacher we wish to leave.  This makes it a bit difficult as if she refuses us to let us go to this other school we are then left without a dance teacher as either way we are leaving.  Do teachers generally allow a certain amount of time away from an existing school before they will then take that student on?  Any advice would be appreciated. 

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Your current teacher doesn't own you and it's unreasonable for her to request permission as such - informing her should be all that's required. Have you signed any documents that tie you into needing permission? Even if you have I doubt they would hold water in a legal case because its not a reasonable clause.

 

The biggest issue may be finding another teacher to take your children on. If the old and new teacher are acquaintances or with the same examining board for example they might not be keen to ruffle any feathers by accepting your children.

 

Probably the first stage is to find a school that you're happy with that would be prepared to accept your children. Then I would approach your current teacher to discuss it or just give notice.

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Assuming you are a paying customer at the first dance school, you are within your rights to leave and go elsewhere. You may be required to give half a term or a term's notice, just as you would for stopping music lessons.

 

I would always advise courtesy and honesty in these situations; giving polite written notice and saying why you are leaving. I am assuming that you have already chatted to the current teacher so that he or she has a chance to discuss any issues in person.

 

My other advice is to try not to burn your bridges as the ballet world is very small and tight knit. There is no knowing where and when a previous teacher may turn up! But if everything is above board and you give the appropriate amount of notice, it can be a perfectly smooth procedure.

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Is it just a case of the new teacher not wanting to upset the existing one and make her feel like she is stealing her pupils? Never heard of this before. Have your dc been attending the existing school through the hols? I would have thought it would simply be a case of new term, new dance school of your choice.

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There are so many reasons why a student may decide to change schools that this seems such a silly situation

 

Dd nearly had to leave her dance school a few years ago although we were very happy with it purely because when she went up a grade the new class time clashed. Fortunately we were able to work around it in the end

 

Distance, number & type if classes offered and all forts affect things

 

Dds previous teacher has told me about these territorial dance teachers. She can never be bothered with all that.

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I've never heard of parents obtaining 'permission' to leave a (non-vocational) ballet school. All that the (existing) school can insist on is the contractual notice period or fees in lieu of notice. I've also never heard of a prospective school requiring a potential student to obtain permission to leave the existing school. It all sounds very odd to me. I would be a bit wary.

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I would be inclined to write a polite note to give notice, if required.  Keep it friendly and mention reasons for leaving but try to keep the tone positive so that it does not come across as a criticism of the school or teacher herself.  There can be many reasons for leaving a ballet school and it is best not to burn your bridges or leave a school on bad terms.  You will probably find you do not get a refund on classes already paid for if you leave immediately.  As for new schools, I doubt a teacher would want to turn down a potential new student (their source of income) .  Good luck with the process.

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You do not need permission to leave a dance school anymore than you would need permission to leave a shop!

 

However you may have to give a term or half a terms written notice, this is certainly part of the contract that pupils at the schools I work at have to adhere to. Having said that pupils do "disappear" and there is little one can do about it. But then as Spanner says its a small world so its best to do things by the book. For example one parent in our area tried to move schools without payings fees and the look on her face when she saw me assisting at another place was priceless...

 

But we teachers do not own the students, so having fulfilled whatever commitment you have in terms of notice, you are free to go where you like!

Edited by hfbrew
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I have never heard of this either. I am assuming you have not signed any legally binding contract with the school? Provided you have told the teacher you are leaving, and even if you had not, you have the right to leave. Does this clash with any upcoming performances/competitions? That may be inconvenient for the teacher but you are still well within your rights as a paying parent to change dance schools.

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When I was teaching and a new student joined the class I don't ever recall quizzing them as to what school they came from.  It didn't matter anyway since it was what they did in class that mattered.

 

As for students leaving, the schools did not refund any tuition already paid, and it was appreciated when we were told why - such as a family problem, moving away or just not wanting to carry on.  But it certainly wasn't required.

 

Professional ettitquite entered into it only in things like not denigrating another teacher and/or approaching another teacher's student.

 

When asked for a second opinion by a parent - I assessed the student - not the teacher, although the assessment could implicate the other teacher.  But then as a giver of a second opinion, I implicitly told the parents I would not follow up by taking that student into my classes.  In other words, the second opinion was a one-time contact.  Those are examples of professional courtesy.

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We moved our DD at the start of the autumn term a year ago. I had an increasing amount of dissatisfactions with the previous school. I did try to have dialogue with the teacher about many of these, to no avail. Then when we came to move her we felt it could not come as a surprise. We downplayed opinions that the new dance school had better quality teaching, but focused where possible on factual aspects such as cheaper lessons. I had also had dialogue with the new teacher for much of the year, so knew she was very happy to have her.

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We have had experience of this, teachers holding you to ransom- 'if you leave my school you can't go to another of the same exam board'. It's like the RAD mafia! As everyone else has pointed out you are a paying customer and have a right to take your custom where you feel is best for your children ;) easier said than done I know

 

It gets harder the further up the grading system you go as less schools offer the senior grades so my advice would be to go for it as soon as you can. There are some good suggestions here about how to leave without burning your bridges- this is a very small community (!) and your paths will no doubt cross again in the future.

 

I am sure you and your DDs will make the right choice. The best thing we have done is move my DD to a different school where she has regained her enthusiasm and love of dance

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I would enquire at the new school - and make it clear that it is only an enquiry - before then politely giving notice at the current one. That should be sufficient.

 

Teachers have no right to say which school you can and can't move to, in the same way that Tesco has no right to say "I won't let you shop at Sainsburys"! Furthermore, if two teachers are in 'cahoots' about this and won't accept a pupil from the others, they're both as bad as each other; Go elsewhere and both will be missing out on a student who may be very talented (and not to mention the income!).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just thinking about this.Does this sort of thing mainly happen within schools where the same syllabus is taught,EG old and new schools teach RAD? If the "old" teacher is an RAD teacher,and is unwilling to let the student go,would parents have the right or be able to complain to the RAD? Shouldn`t the RAD or whichever ,know what is going on,especially if it is potentially something illegal?

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Just thinking about this.Does this sort of thing mainly happen within schools where the same syllabus is taught,EG old and new schools teach RAD? If the "old" teacher is an RAD teacher,and is unwilling to let the student go,would parents have the right or be able to complain to the RAD? Shouldn`t the RAD or whichever ,know what is going on,especially if it is potentially something illegal?

 

I have a feeling that RAD teachers register their students with the RAD, so a new teacher might be unwilling to take you on if you are still somewhere else and on another RAD teacher's 'list' so to speak, and haven't actually left already.

 

With all the examining bodies, teachers might also be concerned about the possibility of professional awkwardness or embarassment if they know each other, or one of them also happens to be an examiner...

 

If the old teacher is unwilling to let you go -  well, there's no stopping you from leaving first, and telling them afterwards! 

 

When it comes to what might possibly be construed as misconduct of any kind, then i'm sure all the examining bodies would want to be informed.

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You are correct taxi4ballet, all RAD exam candidates have to be registered in advance by the teacher - so usually it is done at the beginning of the academic year, when the RAD sends out its list to each teacher of their own registered pupils so they can amend or update it.  The exam results then go on the teacher's record which is why teachers can be reluctant to enter borderline candidates.

 

Dance boards whether ballet or other genres such as modern & tap have their own syllabus which the teachers have to learn.  There are teachers' courses which are usually arranged regionally, so nearly all teachers in any one area teaching the same syllabus will know each other, and their relationships may date back decades.

 

Then for examinations, teachers are encouraged to co-operate, e.g. a school may host other teacher's candidates during its exam sessions if the others don't have the minimum number of hours to run their own session.  Sharing pianists is another area of co-operation, although now more and more recorded music is permitted in exams.

 

So it is not a sinister conspiracy, rather teachers value the relationships they have with each other and do not wish to cause upset.  It is not so much that the old teacher doesn't want to let you go, but does the new teacher want to accept you?

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Can vouch for everything Pas de Quatre says. In my area for example I teach at two separate schools but have close links with two others. Three of my teaching colleagues either teach for or run other schools, another is very close friends with a teacher at another school again! And yes from time to time we are asked by another couple of schools to host exams.

 

Dance teachers do have a code of conduct and I am generalising here but part of it is to do with not encroaching on another's business which is why there can be caution displayed by schools when approached by another teachers pupils.

 

Luckily I work for schools that are not over possessive and we have lists of teachers we happily recommend if we cant fulfil a pupils requirements. But out of courtesy we do check if a student attending say, Advanced 2 has permission from his/her teacher if we are aware that that student attends other schools.

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Can vouch for everything Pas de Quatre says. In my area for example I teach at two separate schools but have close links with two others. Three of my teaching colleagues either teach for or run other schools, another is very close friends with a teacher at another school again! And yes from time to time we are asked by another couple of schools to host exams.

 

Dance teachers do have a code of conduct and I am generalising here but part of it is to do with not encroaching on another's business which is why there can be caution displayed by schools when approached by another teachers pupils.

 

Luckily I work for schools that are not over possessive and we have lists of teachers we happily recommend if we cant fulfil a pupils requirements. But out of courtesy we do check if a student attending say, Advanced 2 has permission from his/her teacher if we are aware that that student attends other schools.

 

It is so nice when local schools can co-operate with one another like this :)

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