Parity of experience for all students – the equal opportunities fund

Parity of experience for all students – the Equal Opportunities Fund

In January of this year, The Royal Ballet School launched a new Equal Opportunities Fund, with the aim of ensuring our students receive equal opportunities and experiences while training at the School in the face of unprecedented and increasingly challenging financial circumstances.

The Royal Ballet School seeks the most exceptional young dancers from around the world and provides them with the highest quality training to achieve excellence on the global stage. The School’s admission criteria are solely artistic merit and potential in classical ballet, never the ability to pay fees. This ensures that any dancer with the artistic potential to succeed has the opportunity to join the School, no matter their financial status or socioeconomic background.

Supporting students

The Royal Ballet School offers students means-tested support through a number of avenues. Eligible students are supported through the UK government’s Music and Dance Scheme (MDS). Other students in Year 10 and up are offered donor-funded means-tested bursaries, ensuring all students are provided equitable opportunities to realise their potential.

In the face of rising costs of living and training, the School acknowledged the need to provide additional support to students and their families. As a result, the Equal Opportunities Fund was created to alleviate the financial burden of additional expenses not covered by School fees.

With one in seven students from families with a gross household income of less than £15,000 per annum and over a third from families with an income of under £40,000, the Equal Opportunities Fund provides life-changing support.

It is so important that every student who comes to The Royal Ballet School believes 100% that their progression is about their ability to dance.

Pippa Adamson, Chief Operating Officer

Equal Opportunities Fund

The Equal Opportunities Fund allows every student to benefit from the full Royal Ballet School experience. Thanks to the extraordinarily generous support of two donors, all White Lodge students had their ballet shoes provided free of charge in 2022.

Beyond ballet shoes and uniforms, the fund proactively and reactively supports families and students with other costs, including clothes, toiletries, social events, school trips, travel costs, music lessons, guardian costs, additional healthcare, and audition costs. Having the funds to attend a school trip to the cinema with their peers, participate in music lessons outside of School, or cover the travel expenses for international auditions for our soon-to-be graduates, can have a far-reaching impact on our students’ lives.

Transforming our student’s lives

When students have the resources they need, they can transcend limitations and truly shine on the stage. Pippa eloquently summarised the purpose of the Equal Opportunities Fund:

Students should not have to worry about their ability to pay and should not feel that their families are making significant sacrifices.

She also spoke of the transformative impact of the Fund:

Each time we make one of these awards, particularly to a family in need, it is inevitably a tearful moment; the relief from families is palpable, and it is life-changing in that moment. The family feels truly supported, and their child can now focus on doing what they want to do.

Now more than ever, the Equal Opportunities Fund plays a vital role in ensuring that our students have the support they need to become some of the most exceptional dancers in the world.

If you feel able to support the extraordinary students of The Royal Ballet School, please get in touch with [email protected].