Successful dancers rom Penzance Ballet SchoolAt Penzance Ballet School, we encourage our students to take ballet exams, which we believe provide a valuable structure for progression and achievement (but please note that exams are optional). We take great care to support our students through our annual exam sessions to ensure positive development experiences and we are extremely proud of our students’ growing track record of success.

Cecchetti Classical Ballet is part of the examination system of the  ISTD, one of the leading worldwide dance examination boards.

Class exams (Pre-Primary, Primary and Standards) are designed for young children who are beginning ballet and later for those learning ballet for enjoyment and recreation.  In these exams, students perform their regular class and are led by their teacher and watched by an ISTD Examiner. It is a relaxed and friendly process and gives the children a goal, a sense of achievement and an introduction to the more formal grade exams which they can choose to follow from age 7

Grade Exams 1-6 are designed for young dancers studying ballet in greater depth. These exams have a greater technical focus than class exams and the students perform their syllabus without the assistance of their teacher. The exams build up progressively, ensuring that steps and skills learned at lower levels prepare for more complex movements as the student progresses, and are a solid preparation for those students who would like to continue to study at a Vocational level. Grades 1-6 are accredited by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual).

Vocational examinations are designed for older students who wish to study ballet in depth or follow a career in dance. At the highest levels the work is studied at full time vocational training schools, preparing students for a performance or teaching career. The Vocational Grades are accredited by Ofqual and include Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2.

Examination Successes

We re-started entering students for exams in 2016, when twelve of our children took their first ballet exams.

The results were as follows (possible results are Not Attained, Pass, Merit or Distinction):

Exam  December 2016 No of entrants Results
Primary 4 1 Merit, 3 Distinction
Standard 1 2 2 Distinction
Grade 2 4 4 Merits
Grade 5 2 2 Merits


Sixteen students entered our 2018 examination session with the following results:

Exam  April 2018 No of entrants Results
Primary 3  2 Merits, 1 Distinction
Grade 1 3  3 Distinctions
Grade 2 4  2 Merits, 2 Distinctions
Grade 3 6  2 Merits, 4 Distinctions


Twenty three students entered our 2019 examination session with the following results:

Exam  June 2019 No of entrants Results
Primary 4  4 Merits
Standard 1 4  4 Distinctions
Grade 2 6  1 Merit, 5 Distinctions
Grade 3 4  3 Passes, 1 Merit
Grade 4 5  5 Merits