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Vocational School vs SA


Lala
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My DD recently was offered a yr10 place for a vocational school and was over the moon. However reality is starting to sink and she is very worried about leaving her school and all her friends!

Yesterday she was offered a SA and this has now confused her more.

Deep down we all know she wants to go to the vocational school and this is what she has wanted for a while but joining a school at 14 must be difficult and I'm sure she is just scared and starting to panic.

Help!

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Hi Lala,

I'm absolutely not an expert, but didn't want to see your post slip down the board so thought I'd have a bash at answering so it stays nearer the top til someone who knows what they are talking about comes along!

But for what it's worth, here are my thoughts.

To have both an offer from a school and SAs your daughter must have a lot of potential. They are both great opportunities so whichever she chooses will be good. Is the school she has had the offer from her "dream school" or not? If it is, I would be tempted to go for it, as the chance might not come along again. If not, maybe weigh up the pros and cons again.

I've no personal experience, but from reading here it seems some schools are very much focussed on purely classical ballet, whereas others are wider dance/performing arts schools. If your DD is set on a classical route and the school offer is a broader type school, maybe doing SAs and applying for a classical school at 16 might be better - there seem to be a lot more choice of schools for post 16 courses. That said of course, she'll have to reapply at that point whether she takes up the year 10 place at school or not, so no doors are closed either way.

I guess other factors to consider include how good the local teaching she can get is in addition to the SAs as of course she will be competing with girls who have been at vocational schools since they were 11 when she applies for upper schools, and then of course there's the finances, which I guess make the decision for many people. And I wouldn't ignore gut feeling either. A piece of advice I picked up from a friend recently is if you are stuck between choices, toss a coin. If your instant feeling when the coin lands is disappointment or excitement you will know which one you truly want!

Good luck, whatever you choose.

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Hi Lala,

My DD started at vocational school in year 10 this year. It was a tough decision as she was so happy at her normal secondary school, doing really well academically with a great bunch of friends. However her determination to do whatever it takes to improve her ballet overcame all of this and we felt we had no option but to support her to go away.

 

It was a bit daunting joining a very different social culture and established group of girls at age 14, but they were very friendly and welcoming and she has settled in really well. Academically she is finding that she is repeating a lot of work that she has already done, as her previous school started GCSE courses in year 9, but frankly this is a blessing as its one less thing to worry about in the first couple of terms.

 

Her ballet technique and strength were behind the other girls as you would expect and she is having to almost work twice as hard as them to try to catch up and it has been quite exhausting at times, but after 2 terms, she doesn't regret her decision for a minute and is still very much determined to be a ballet dancer.

 

In some ways it has been harder for us as parents. We miss her very much and feel very lucky that we have had her at home for the last 3 years and managed to delay things until year 10. If we lived within access to plenty of high quality ballet training locally, we probably would have delayed the decision until 16.

 

It is really something that only your DD can know if she wants, but I do sympathise as it is a difficult age/time to be making big changes in a young person's life.

 

Good Luck

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Congratulations to your DD ! What an exciting time for you all.

 

My DS was offered a place halfway through yr 9 (he had auditioned for a yr 10 place). Another boy joined at the same time as he did, and since then a further two boys and at least 4 girls have joined their year (others have left during the same time). Certainly at the school he is at, they are so used to integrating new pupils, that despite everything being new and strange they soon find their place in the group.

 

My DS had met a couple of people through summer school, and managed to find them on facebook before starting, and that helped put him more at ease, as they were able to chat beforehand. I found some wonderful parents on here, who answered all my questions, and explained lots of things to me - even emailing me uniform lists and timetables!

 

It will be great for your DD to have her school friends when she is at home for exeat/leave out, and throughout the long summer holidays, with mobiles and facebook and twitter it is a lot easier to keep up with people, and she will have a whole class full of new friends who share her love of dance, to get to know.

 

Thinking about how much they all improve after a week or two at summer school, and times that by two years, it puts her in a much stronger place for the post 16 places.

 

Two and a bit years down the line, and now in the middle of all the 6th form auditions, I am so pleased my DS has those 2 years of professional training under his belt, and last night he was out for a meal with all his "old" friends and although they have all moved on, the bonds they have are so strong that even though everything changes - everything stays the same.

 

Good luck to your DS, whatever her decision

Edited by Seagazer
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Slightly different experience, but similar, in that ds was moving from WL to Elmhurst, but he started there in year 10 and found the first couple of months hard because he missed his old friends, but after that you'd have thought he'd been there all along. It will be a big change for her, but as Seagazer said, it's great that she'll have friends at home as well as at school.

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