‘The advantage is clear. Choosing a school with an excellent examination structure puts your theatrical training ahead of the crowd.  It is an absolute must if you want to prove your ability and reach the standard that theatrical producers and educational faculties require. The syllabi are structured so that young children begin with charming, imaginative, exciting and explorative areas of dance, soon gaining confidence, strength and determination to succeed in their goals.’  AJW 

Five Girls in a Row

Royal Academy of Dance Ballet – Pre-Primary to Advanced

 I.S.T.D  Modern, Jazz and Tap  – Pre Primary to Advanced
ISTD classical  methods are included within general class tuition.

Please see our singing site for musical theatre exams.

RAD Certificate
Example Certificate

Exams help dancers rise to a higher standard, tidy and polish their work, and sharpen up the memory. Pupils receive personal mentoring throughout their study years at AWDA, bringing together physical prowess, a hunger for culture and a love of dance … all qualities that will see them succeed in the dance profession or in their chosen careers. 

Frequently asked questions

When are candidates ready to take an exam?

A candidate needs to be secure, at a reasonable to excellent standard, when demonstrating the set pieces that they have learned. They will then be prepared to cope with the abilities needed when working at the next level. This is part of what the examiner looks for when assessing the dancer.

Do pupils have to take exams? 

No they don’t, but we actively encourage pupils to take exams as this ensures that they reach the standard that they need to obtain. It is important too that children dance ‘just for fun’ and for strength in body development and co-ordination. Mindfulness and imagination create a feel for freedom and style within the movement.

What about boys?

The ballet syllabus is especially designed to keep boys occupied, interested and fit and we have provided tuition through the vocational levels from infant stage.

My child has not taken exams before but has experience? How do we fit in?

Chances are that your child may be adept with dance skills but had little knowledge of technique or basic steps. We can place your son or daughter in classes which can fast track the basics but be sympathetic to their age and experience. Medal and performance tests are a good way to bridge the gap between a full grade or major level examination.

My child has learning difficulties or a disability.   How much will they be able to keep up with the class? 

When possible, we will accommodate pupils with special needs, and help them to integrate and feel at home in our classes. Such pupils do manage to cope with exams and performances and the dance societies have excellent structures in place to assist those with special learning challenges, provided they can still obtain the desired standard needed to succeed.  There are times when the help that the child needs cannon be fully gained in a mixed ability class.  All pupils need special help at times and may need some private lessons for a specific problem.  Parents must be prepared for a realistic evaluation of a child’s reaction to the classroom environment and their ability to participate with the group.  Much is to be gained from the love of music and dance, even if the visual delivery may be unorthodox at times.

Will my child be in a class with other children of the same age?

We will try to arrange this, but it is so important that basic work is not missed out. Placing new pupils in a class above their standard, with a group who may know their teacher’s methods instinctively can slow up development. Our classes are kept small, ensuring that every pupil is in a situation where they can benefit during every lesson. Progress can still be swift and in time the dancer will catch up to the peer group.

Where do I take my exams?

We prefer attendances at the headquarters of the dance societies (Battersea Square, South London for RAD, and Chichester College, Sussex, for ISTD). Singing exams are usually held at Ealing University (LCM) or in Wimbledon, whilst piano exams are held locally.

What will it be like?

Dancers can be examined in sets of up to four people. The teacher will make sure that the candidate’s have physically warmed up and that they have thought through the aspects of their exam. Entrants will need to be well groomed and wearing the correct uniform. Most sections of the exam will be danced with the other candidates but certain items will be danced alone. The examiner will make notes  throughout the exam and candidates will be expected to readily demonstrate their knowledge.  Once finished, entrants will curtsey or bow, thank the examiner and return to the dressing room. 
A target date of one month is set for the return of your results. The teacher will explain the marking system, speak with both candidates and parents to outline where progress has been made and where there is room for improvement. Candidates will then receive their certificate and medal and will be able to progress to the next grade.

CD’s will be played for classes and exams but we do have the advantage of our ‘on site’ musical arranger for any other musical arrangements required and the facility to edit music to studio standard.

What if I move abroad?

You will be able to find schools all over the world where you can continue your examinations just where you left them.


UCAS points can be claimed on certified dance, singing and music exams from Grade 6 upwards which count towards university and college entry.

1st, 2nd & 3rd
Cerys, Katie & Annabel

The school is registered with the following examination boards

LCM Logo

Principal – Amanda Warwick RAD registered teacher (T.Cert)  AISTD dips
Registered address 104 Middlemead Road Bookham Surrey KT23 3DD
Telephone  (01372) 457274