Anonymous Story 50

“So my daughter entered the top UK vocational school at one day over 11 years old. From the first week, she was bullied and abused (her head & body pulled backward by her bun as she was “standing like a clown!”). Throughout her first year, she endured daily bullying in front of her peers by visiting teachers (two complained to inspectors) and the shoe fitter. All the artistic teachers at the school were aware of it; nobody did anything. My daughter survived the year; just barely. Then things took a bizarre twist.

By the time Year 9 came (13 years old) she passed her assessment to stay on until Year 11. However, in a meeting with us, she was told by the AD that she would never make any upper schools because she was so bad at ballet and would be given no performance opportunities if she chose to continue at the school (?!). Mystified, we couldn’t understand why others had been assessed out and she had not if she was indeed “so awful”. It transpired that the AD wanted her out, but the rest of the panel and artistic staff did not and they had overruled him…

She stayed despite being the football of the Staff vs. AD political game. And yes, no performance opportunities were given when possible. This year she gained a place at another prestigious upper school without finals. However, in the process, she lost her childhood and now has the cynical attitude of older company dancers. As she sums it up at 16, “I love ballet: hate the industry.” Now, after 5 years, she wants to speak out, despite knowing this will probably cost her any chance of a career. Brave girl.”


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