The Royal Academy of Dance was established in the 1920 and over the years we have entered hundreds of pupils for their exams. We encourage all pupils to take the RAD Classical Ballet exams. However, exams are not for everyone’s character or budget and they are not mandatory.

Younger Pupils

For younger pupils (Ballet basics to Primary) we operate a standard school year, where pupils can join classes any time from September onwards. In July our younger pupils have the following options:

Ballet basics – Presentation class to parents

Pre-primary – RAD class award or JDanceStudios internal class award

Primary – RAD examination or RAD class award

If a pupil has recently joined the school they will probably need to skip an assessment for that year and take part the following year. At this young age the assessments are simply about demonstrating the skills pupils have learnt and we are careful not to put pressure on pupils at this age. Also, as mentioned above examinations are not mandatory!

Older Pupils

From Grade 1 onwards the syllabus is more demanding and we may need more than one calendar year to teach each grade fully, depending on whether pupils double up classes during the year. Typically these higher Grades can take four to five terms to achieve the required standards. As a result the timing of our examination session will move from year to year. The RAD exams take place three times per year – Nov/Dec, Mar or Jun/Jul.

There’s lots more detail to an RAD exam. Lots! Our RAD qualified teachers study at degree level for three years to learn how to teach ballet to pupils. That usually follows years of learning the subject themselves. These are the important points:

1) Teaching the RAD syllabus takes time – approximately 60 hours for each exam grade. With 38 teaching weeks per year that means that pupils either need to double up their classes thought-out the year or take more than a year to achieve the required standard. To be entered for an examination all pupils from Grade 1 onwards must have good attendance and are expected to take additional exam classes in the run up to the examination.

2) Exams are testing but everyone wants pupils to do well. RAD examiners are very encouraging during the exam to bring out the best in every pupil. Our feedback from pupils and the pianist (who plays during the exam) is that examiners are always friendly and do their best to help pupils do well.

3) Exams do take commitment from pupils and for parents. Pupils do need good attendance and will need to practice. We will let you know well in advance of the examination what to expect in terms of any extra classes, fees or exam dates. We don’t like to give you surprises.

4) Pupils take examinations when they are physically strong and old enough to do so. Accordingly, pupils need to be at least the following age on 1 April during the school year, which runs from September to July:

Pre-Primary – Five years old

Primary – Six years old

Grade 1 – Seven years old

Grade 6 – Eleven years old

Intermediate foundation – Eleven years old

Intermediate – twelve years old

Advanced Foundation – thirteen years old

Advanced 1 – fourteen years old

Advanced 2 – fifteen years old

For further details about RAD examinations please see – Exams.

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