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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 September, 2003, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
Boy's ballet dream realised
Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot
Michael Rounsevell hopes to follow in the dance steps of Billy Elliot
A mother has re-mortgaged her home to pay for her son to go to ballet school.

Michael Rounsevell, 18, beat 5,000 people to get into the Rambert School of Ballet in London.

The cost is £10,000 a year for three years and Michael has been given a bursary for nearly £5,000 by the ballet school.

But the course in performance dance, like many other stage-based studies, does not fall into the category of higher education as defined by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

Prestigious school

Michael's mother, Gillian, from Hayle, Cornwall, said that finding the rest of the money had been a struggle.

She said: "I find it very hard to think that people of Michael's age can go away and have a lot of their course fees paid.

"But because Michael wants to do dance at this amazing company, he doesn't have the same opportunities financially that other students have.

"I feel that he is being penalised."

The DfES said in a statement: "Higher education is a course of study which leads to a qualification to a degree level.

"Degrees are usually undertaken through universities, but can also be studied through courses offered by any colleges.

I would love to perform with some big companies, including Rambert itself
Michael Rounsevell
"Further education broadly describes the formal education undertaken after compulsory schooling and means study to an A-level standard."

Michael said he was thrilled at the opportunity to join one of the world's most prestigious ballet schools.

He starts his course in London in three weeks and said he would be working during the whole of his three years to supplement his living expenses and course fees.

His inspiration for dance came from his involvement in the Penwith Youth Dance Company at the age of 12.

He said: "It's great to have got through all the training and now have the chance to attend such a decent school.

"I would love to perform with some big companies, including Rambert itself.

"That would also be a big thank you to all the people who have helped get me there, including my mum."

Gillian Rounsevell
"I feel that he is being penalised"

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