Most people with a future as professional dancers start very young. Ballet dancers have to begin intensive training by the age of 11. Some schools are specialist ballet schools, such as the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst (in Association with Birmingham Royal Ballet). Hammond, Italia Conti, and the Arts Educational School and Tring Park concentrate on dance with drama. Pupils at several designated schools qualify for government help but few schools offer dance scholarships.
Some, especially boys’ schools, do not offer dance at all, while others offer a wide range including folk, modern, ballet, ballroom, and traditional dancing in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Dance may be taught as part of physical education or sometimes fall to the music or drama departments. Some schools emphasise free movement while a few still regard dancing as a social accomplishment. Some offer qualifications from RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) or ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing).