By Lisa Clark
The Plymouth Herald
April 8, 2013
The talented 14-year-old wowed chiefs at the prestigious Tring Park School of Performing Arts. But although he was offered one of a select few places at its Hertfordshire base, the teenager was denied a scholarship. That would leave his proud but desperate parents, David and Tracey, with a mammoth £30,000 a year bill.
David, who is due to leave his job as a Royal Navy submariner after 26 years, said: “He’d really love to go and I’m hoping to be in a position to pay for the second year. But I don’t know what’ll happen when I leave the Navy.
“There are only 340 pupils in the school and it has an intake of 30 each year. The academic as well as the vocational side of the school is excellent and we’d love to be able to send him.”
The family are now hoping that Plymstock School pupil Oliver can be part- sponsored for the first academic year. He is due to start in September on either the dance or performance foundation course.
Oliver currently attends Plymkids Children’s Musical Theatre School. He began Dancing at Alison Sawle’s School of Dance at the age of just nine.
This year he attended the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) senior ballet awards in London, where he competed with more than 70 other pupils – only four of whom were boys.
With Plymkids he has been in various amateur and professional productions including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Evita and Joseph at the city’s Theatre Royal.
At the Tring Park auditions Oliver beat off more than 100 skilled performers and dancers to gain a sought-after place.
Without scholarship or sponsorship the course is out of reach for many families.
Oliver had to attend another two-hour audition to see if he could win one of the very limited scholarship places. Unfortunately it was not to be and a letter was received at the end of last month saying that the school could not offer scholarship.
David said: “It’s so frustrating. We feel like you have to be at one extreme. Either you are really rich and the funding doesn’t matter, or you are struggling and you are more likely to get a scholarship because its means tested. It almost feels like we’re being punished because I have a reasonably good job, but we’re by no means rich.”
Oliver will now be placed on a reserve list for funding, but if it does not become available, it is likely he will continue his studies at Plymstock.
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