Frequently Asked Questions
I am coming along/bringing my child for the first time, what should be worn?
For the trial lesson we recommend that you/your child wear the following: For a trial lesson in Ballet for younger pupils up to Primary a dress with a knee-length skirt, full enough in material to hold out either side of the body, in one plain pastel colour, with bare feet. Please note stockinged feet are not recommended for any class as this will be too slippery.
For Modern Dance/Hip Hop and Tap a pair of black leggings and a plain black t-shirt (without slogans) may be worn.
After the trial lesson, if you decide to formally register your child/yourself, the regulation uniform must be worn. Children feel especially singled out and vulnerable if they are the only child in the class wearing a different colour or uniform. We do on occasions have some second hand uniforms that we can offer that will help keep the cost down. Older pupils should contact the school with regard to what to wear for a trial lesson.
Can I get regular updates about my child’s progress?
Parents need to arrange an appointment to get updates on their child’s progress. This can be done by emailing the head office to arrange a time that suits both the teacher and parent.
Parents must not approach the teacher at the start or end of a class. Our timetable is tightly planned to ensure that all types of classes are available to our students. If a teacher has to ‘pop out’ to chat to a parent, this then impacts the other students in the class as the teaching time is reduced when talking with a teacher. There are regularly scheduled parents’ watching weeks when parents can come in to watch their children dance and see the child’s progress for themselves.
Why do I have to give a full terms notice in writing if I want to leave?
This is a rule common in all private fee-paying schools, and, aside from the courtesy point of view, it is essential for us to be fully aware of the number of children in a class. For more information, please see our Terms & Conditions.
May I pay on a weekly basis, or do I have to pay per term?
Our fees are payable per term in advance. This is because if fees are paid on a pay-as-you-go basis, we could arrive at some of our rented studios to find that, for one reason or another, numbers are insufficient to cover the cost of the already-paid-for hall, pianist and teacher.
My child has been in the same class for over a year, when will he/she be taking their examination?
The short answer to is; “when they are considered by the Principal and teacher to be ready”. Children are all different and individuals and must be treated as such. Please rest assured that when the pupil is ready to take their examination, you will be informed. The Bristol School follows the syllabi of The Royal Academy of Dance for Ballet and The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance for Modern Theatre Dance and Tap. Both these societies have high standards that they rightly expect candidates to achieve and aspire to. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that your child will be ready to take an annual examination if the required standard has not been attained. We aim to enter children who attend two ballet classes per week for an examination each year, but children who only attend one ballet class per week will take 18 months to two years to reach the same level. We must bear in mind that all children develop at different rates and there is always an exception, but, rest assured, that we always have the best interest of the pupil at heart and will certainly not hold them back if they show exceptional promise and aptitude.
NB1: The Royal Academy of Dance with whom we enter pupils for Ballet examinations have minimum age limits for examinations. Pre Primary Class Award is 5 and children must be 5 on January 1st for examinations taken in March and September 1st for examinations in November. Primary has an age limit of 6 with the same date regulation. We cannot enter children for Royal Academy examinations until they are of the appropriate age. So if they move into a lesson too early, they will face a longer period of time in that class than is ideal.
NB2: All examinations are held in the main Clifton studio on weekdays during school hours and it is the responsibility of individual parents to arrange for the necessary time off school. The dressing room is for the examination candidates only please do not attempt to enter the dressing room as the need to ask you to leave is upsetting and unsettling for the teachers and your child. This request is actually for the good of your child and after many years experience is found to be very successful.
May I watch lessons?
We cannot accommodate parents watching classes during the term. We make arrangements for parents to view their childrens’ progress three times per year. We find that when parents are present the children, especially very young ones, tend to keep running to mummy and older children look for approval. This does not make for a happy or disciplined class, and that is why we restrict parental viewing to three occasions per year. WATCHING CLASSES – PARENTS VIEWING WEEKS: * the week before we break up for Easter; * the week before we break up for Summer; * the week before we break up for Christmas. (See our Term Dates)
Can my child wear a tutu to class?
If children own a tutu they may wear them during the first full week of each month and also on parent’s viewing day.
Do you do school shows?
The school presents its annual school show during the Summer School week that is held at the end of July. In doing this, it prevents any interruption and disruption of class work during term time and because pupils are taking part in classes on a daily basis during summer school a great deal more can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
I already attend another school for some classes, may I join the Bristol School of Dancing for lessons?
We do not take pupils who are already pupils of another dance school. There are several reasons for this, one of which is the ethical consideration to the other teacher and school. The teaching of dance is a highly disciplined art form within the industry, and every teacher has his/her own ideas and teaching methods that it is hoped will carry their pupils from pre-school lessons right through to the Advanced level. This continuity can only really be achieved when all teachers in one school agree with the methodology and ideas within the school. The Bristol School aims to be as ethical as possible toward our fellow teachers and their terms notice condition, and ask all prospective pupils if they have given the required notice before acceptance into the school. The one and only exception to this is our annual Summer School when, for one week, classes are open to all.
Do you follow school terms or are the classes arranged differently?
Firstly we would need to say “which school?” as state and private education terms and holiday breaks vary enormously. Where possible we endeavour to keep as close as possible to the private school calendar, but there are occasions when we do not coincide. For example at Easter we will always take our three week holiday over the traditional Christian Easter Festival, and not as some LEA’s now practise, taking this holiday at the same time each year irrespective of whether Easter falls early or late.
How many classes are there per term?
There are nine weeks in each term, so if a pupil were only attending one lesson per week they would have 9 lessons in any one term.
May my child join the school at any time during the term, or must I wait until a new term commences to register?
Children may register at any time during the term and fees for that term will be adjusted accordingly. We do not want children to have to wait what could be several weeks before joining us.
Do you have classes during the school holidays?
There are occasions when we hold classes during holidays, but this is usually for pupils who are preparing for examinations. However, our annual Summer School is held during the last week of July into the first week of August and is a popular fun week enjoyed by all. It is open to everyone, not only pupils of the school. Click HERE to find out more.
Do you offer private tuition?
We do offer private tuition, but normally only for solo dances for competitions. As far as Syllabus classes are concerned, if a pupil needs extra coaching we can offer lessons at the main Clifton branch.
If I cannot make my usual lesson, may I make it up in another branch or in another class?
Regretfully we cannot allow pupils to interchange lessons for those they may miss. Each pupil’s name must appear on a class register for health and safety reasons, and if you swap one class for another, our computer system would pick up that you have attended an extra lesson and you will be then charged for an entire term for that particular class.
How many children are there in a class?
This varies considerably depending on age, popularity and forthcoming examinations, but a large class would be considered to be a maximum of 20. When a class is of this size there is more than one teacher in attendance. It would normally work out to be a ratio of one teacher to every 10 children.
Other important information
"Thank you for making the week so special. Watching the effort and dedication of all the children in the show was a fitting tribute to you all"