At FHSD we treat every child as an individual. We prepare children for exams and put individual pupils forward when they are ready to achieve a good result. By working this way, we believe children will go into an exam room well prepared and give their most confident performance. It also means when the results come back and children receive a good result it reinforces their self-belief in their own abilities, thus improving their self-esteem leading to more confident children. This does mean however that teaching is harder for individual class teachers as we may have multiple exam grades being prepared for in the one class. Some schools only do examinations once every two years and alternate with a show every other year, but our children in the main, manage both in the same year. This is because when class teachers are preparing their show dances they have one eye on the syllabus and introduce new work for their pupils’ next exams, in their show dances. This may not be the case for higher grades as they can take a minimum of 2 years to prepare for exams.

FHSD offer BATD (British Association of Teachers of Dancing) and UKA Ltd (United Kingdom Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dance) Examinations.. There are two structures or “ladders” of exams – Graded examinations and Medal tests. These are structured as follows;


Graded Examinations

  • Pre-Primary
  • Primary
  • Grades 1 through to 5
  • Elementary
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

These exams contain a set of exercises designed to show a child’s ability in demonstrating specific movements to a required standard.

Medal Tests

  • First Steps
  • Pre-Bronze
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Blue Riband
  • British Medallion
  • British Award
  • Premier Award

These tests contain dances designed to show a child’s ability to perform complete dances to a required standard.

We also have the Starlite 1 and Starlite 2 exams. These are introductory examinations where the teacher accompanies the children into the exam room and assists them, so for the children it isn’t too stressful and the Examiner observes. We think they are a lovely way to introduce very young children to exams – they get the formality of the exam room, the uniform, the numbers on their front and carry in their own report sheet and greet their Examiner with it, but they do not have the worry of remembering everything in the syllabus by themselves. If children are learning multiple subjects then we may not put them in for all their Starlite exams and may move them forward onto First Steps or Pre-Primary depending on their ability in that subject, but they will usually sit at least one Starlite examination as a way of introducing them to the examination process.

Finally, there are:-

Professional Examinations

  • Associate Member
  • Full Member
  • Fellowship Exams