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Every child has a choice to take the ISTD GRADED/VOCATIONAL exams which are accredited by Ofqual or just enjoy the gradual progression through each level. The next exam session is 14th July  2024 at Warblington school. Please go to members website page for timetables



Why enter your child in an exam?  'Enjoyment through achievement' is a phrase that sums up our philosophy, and earning a government recognised qualification with an ISTD certificate is a rewarding experience. If you are working hard to make progress with your ballet, you need some way of recognising your success and reassurance that you are on the right track. 

The exam offers motivation and inspiration, working from a carefully structured syllabus towards a goal, giving each child a real sense of achievement and a performance opportunity. Throughout the build up towards the exam we will endeavour to sympathetically encourage and guide them.

Of course, ballet exams will not suit everyone and exam syllabuses are not intended to provide a complete curriculum or choice of repertoire. Your child can enjoy the gradual progression through each grade still gaining the stimulation and interest that they require. As it is still a way off we will be entering some children that are not quite ready yet, but should be ready for this time. Pupils must have reached their fifth birthday before they can be entered for the pre-primary exam. Please see the chart below for age limits.


If you do decide to enter your child into an exam, they may need extra lessons. All students must be attending two ballet classes or more with RBS&PA and have the music or dvd and syllabus to practice at home. Which can be purchase from Rochelle Dancewear Shop. Please ensure that they are happy that they know all the syllabus work before going into the exam. The grades must know all the french terms, arm and feet positions and for Grade 2 and upwards the directions must be studied.

The cost of the examination varies depending on which grade your child is taking, the fees include the examiner's fee, the pianist's fee, administration and the hire of the hall which is payable in advance. All fees must be paid by the date given and returned with the attached application form, which is compulsory for examination entry. IF you do not pay by this date your child will not be entered for exam. All cheques are payable to the Rochelle Ballet School.


Each candidate will be issued with a PIN number by the ISTD, which will stay with them for life, regardless of which school they attend. Therefore, please can you check the details on the attached form to made sure the information is correct. We will need the application form back even if your child does not wish to take their exam.


It may be necessary to have an examination rehearsal at the exam venue so the pupils can familiarise themselves with an examination session you will be notified if this is possible and of the fee payable and for any extra lessons.


Please make sure your child has got the correct uniform for the exam. Any queries about the exam uniform, please address them to Miss Vanessa Searle or Chloe Collins 


Grooming is part of the examination. So you will be informed of how to put the hair in a ballet bun. Please no jewellery (including any kind of body piercing), no nail vanish and no tattoos!! Please ensure you bring with you on the day a hairbrush or comb, extra bands, no scrunches please, hair spray and/or gel and hairpins. Hair ribbons to match your leotard will be provided on the day. Pre-Primary will be given a number to place on their leotard.


Please arrive at least ¾ hour before the students exam time is scheduled. 


Syllabus Books - £25.00 (General Graded exams Primary - Grade 6) (Vocational Graded Examination in dance - 

Intermediate Foundation & Intermediate) (Vocational Graded Examination in dance - Advance 1 & 2)

DVD's - £30.00 (Pre-primary Class Exam) (Primary Graded - Grade 2)

(Grade 3 & Grade 4) (Grade 5 & Grade 6) £55.00 (Inter F & Intermediate) (Advanced 1&2)

(Set Dances Primary - Advanced)





Report with the marks gain will arrive between 2-6 weeks after the exam date and the

Certificates follow 2-4 weeks later.


Distinction: Grade A   100 - 80 

Merit: Grade B    79 - 60 

Pass: Grade C    59 - 40




Age Limits 

Pre-Primary Class examination- 5yrs  and no maximum                                              

Primary Graded examination- 6yrs and no maximum                                                      

Grade 1 - 3  Graded examination (7 years and no maximum)                                                 

Grade 4 - 6  Graded examination (9 years and no maximum) 

Vocational Graded Exams

Intermediate Foundation - 11 years and no maximum                 

Intermediate - 12 years  and no maximum    

Advanced 1 -14 years and no maximum                                  

Advanced 2 - 14 years and no maximum   



The Graded Examinations in Dance are accredited on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland as shown below. These qualifications are recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Regulation (Ofqual) and Qualifications Wales.

Grades 1, 2, 3 - Level 1 - 7 Credits - G.C.S.E Grades D - G

Grades 4 & 5 - Level 2 - 10 Credits - G.C.S.E Grades A*- C

Grade 6 - Level 3 - 13 Credits - G.C.S.E Grade A*-C 



Intermediate Foundation - Level 2 - 28 Credits - Grade A*-C 

Intermediate - Level 3 - 28 Credits - A/AS Level

Advanced 1  & 2 - Level 4 - 33 Credits & 38 Credits - Higher Level Qualification

In addition the level 3 qualification (Grade 6, and the Intermediate Vocational Graded Examination in Dance) Carry UCAS points, and pupils will need to work towards these to be able to use them for university entrance.


For more information on Graded Examinations the Council for Dance Education website has a document on Graded Examinations.


UCAS tariff points translate your qualifications and grades into a numerical value, which some universities, colleges, and conservatoires may refer to in their course entry requirements. If students took their Grade 6 and/or Intermediate from 1st September 2010 (when the qualification was transferred to the Qualifications and Credit Framework), they can receive the following UCAS points.

When completing the online UCAS online application form, there are multiple sections that need to be completed:

  • Selecting the subject (Dance) and then specifying the genre (e.g. Imperial Classical Ballet)

  • Inputting the qualification date as stated on the certificate

  • Selecting the awarding organisation – the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing should appear on this list

  • Selecting the grade (Distinction, Merit or Pass)

About UCAS Tariff Points

UCAS points (also known as UCAS Tariff points) are a way of measuring the relative value of qualifications in the U.K. 

The UCAS Tariff assigns a numerical score to the possible grades that can be achieved in each type of qualification. The higher the grade a learner achieves, the higher the number of points they will receive.  

Importance of UCAS Points

Some universities, colleges, and conservatoires may refer to UCAS Tariff Points in their course entry requirements. Being able to compare qualifications they are less familiar with against more common ones encourages a fairer decision-making process when it comes to making offers.  According to UCAS, two-thirds of university courses don't use the UCAS Tariff to advertise course requirements, but for those that do, it allows greater flexibility over the grade combinations needed to meet the requirements.

A grade-based offer (means a learner must achieve a certain combination of grades (e.g. AAB), whereas an offer based on UCAS points (e.g. 120) allows a learner to use any combination of grades to meet the threshold.

ISTD Qualifications and UCAS Tariff Points

ISTD graded and vocational graded dance examinations at Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 are allocated points on the UCAS Tariff as per the below table.  The number of points learners can get depends on how well they did in their examination (i.e. Distinction, Merit or Pass).

Grade 6 Tariff Points

Distinction 14

Merit 10

Pass 8

Intermediate Tariff Points

Distinction 33

Merit 27

Pass 24

Equivalence of qualification levels  

Level 3 ~ Equivalent to A Level standard

Level 4 ~ Equivalent to the first year of a degree or a Certificate of Higher Education

Level 5 ~ Equivalent to the second year of a degree, a Diploma of Higher Education, a Foundation Degree or a Higher National Diploma

Level 6 ~ Equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree with or without Honours

Level 7 ~ Equivalent to a Master’s degree or to a PGCE

Level 8 ~ Equivalent to a Doctoral degree Merit M


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland only, candidates who receive government funding will have been supplied with a Unique Learner Number (ULN) and this must be provided. Any other candidate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who wishes their achievement to be recorded in their Personal Learning Record should provide you with their Unique Learner Number, which they can obtain from their secondary school. This is applicable to candidates aged 14 and above only. All such candidates MUST be made aware of the following privacy notice:

Some of the information you supply will be used by the Skills Funding Agency to fulfil its statutory functions, issue/verify your Unique Learner Number (ULN) and update/check your Personal Learning Record. The Skills Funding Agency may share your ULN and Personal learning Record with other education related organisations, such as your careers service, school, college, university, Government Departments and public bodies responsible for funding your education. Further details of how your information is processed and shared can be found at

We hope that you will appreciate that these qualifications complement learning in the curriculum and help develop wider skills as well as confidents and commitment in learning. Dance classes, and therefore the examinations that go with them, also form part of a healthy lifestyle particularly in encouraging regular enjoyable exercise.

All our examinations are based on progressive mastery - so it is important that pupils can start from an early age and develop the physical, technical and performance skills which will be refined over the years.


The Lowford Centre

Portsmouth Road 



SO31 8ES

When taking exams at the Southampton Centre. Exam music player fees need to be paid on the day to the organiser.

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