Examinations are taken through two internationally-recognised examination boards: the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and the National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD).
Examinations are accredited to Ofqual. All Graded and Vocational graded examinations receive credits and are recognised on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). For certain graded examinations, students receive UCAS points, which can be used in applications for university — the number of UCAS points received directly correlates to the standard achieved in the examination (i.e. pass, merit, distinction).
When students are initially introduced to Graded examinations, they progressively build in terms of knowledge and difficulty — this also ensures that steps and techniques learnt at a lower level are carried through and act as a preparation for more complex movements and combinations of steps in later years.
Once all Graded examinations have been completed, Vocational examinations are introduced, allowing the dancer to progress further, both technically and artistically. Through more demanding and mature work, the Vocational Grades ultimately prepares the student for a career as a professional dancer. In the ISTD and NATD, success in Vocational graded examinations is also one of the many required elements for becoming a qualified dance teacher.
Students wishing to pursue a career in dance are recommended to take examinations.
Not only does taking examinations act as a structured and clearly-defined assessment of the standard of a dancer, it also provides lifelong skills: the confidence to enter a job interview, the importance of presenting yourself in a polite and respectful manner, learning the value of hard work and dedication (especially in preparation to achieve a goal — for example, preparing for SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels), to name but a few.
This is now our fifth consecutive year of every pupil entered for an ISTD and NATD examination achieving a Distinction
(Distinction is 80/100 marks and above)
Our School has a 100% pass rate in all children's ballet, tap and modern examinations, with 98% of students gaining distinctions over our school's 35+ years, from Pre-Primary through to Advanced 2.
Please visit our FAQs page for further information.
What happens when my child is ready to take an exam?
Children are assessed throughout the year for their readiness to take an examination. Children in any one class progress at different speeds to each other. Therefore, at our school, each child is treated as an individual — those who are ready to take an exam and progress into the next grade will be entered for the exam regardless of the readiness of their peers and so will not be held back.
The final decision for a child's readiness to take an examination lies with the teacher.
What happens in an examination?
Students are examined by highly-trained and qualified examiners.
In the examination room, the candidates will perform the required elements, as set by the association, for the examiner. This usually includes exercises plus a dance — the candidate will be fully prepared for this in their classes and exam coaching.
Do we find out the results on the day of the examination?
As all examinations at our school are only taken through external, recognised and accredited dance associations, the result of the examination can take up to 21 working days for report sheets and six to eight weeks for the certificate to be issued; all examination results are subject to rigorous quality assurance checks at the relevant association headquarters. For Graded and Vocational examinations, certificates contain a heat-reactive spot and hologram (like GCSE/A-Level certificates) to prove their authenticity.