Centre for Advanced Training scheme FAQs

What is the CAT scheme?

The Centre for Advanced Training scheme is a year-long progressive training programme for young people aged 11 to 18 years. The scheme offers high quality, targeted circus training for students who demonstrate passion, potential and a keen interest in the arts. 

What is the difference between CAT and the London Youth Circus?

The London Youth Circus is a part time programme for young people aged 11- 21 and gives students the opportunity to have focused training each Sunday in a specialist skill – acrobatics, static trapeze, flying trapeze, juggling or tightwire.  This programme runs alongside our CAT scheme and is not funded by the government.  

CAT students train on the London Youth Circus programme each Sunday and must commit to extra training during the week. In addition to their regular training they receive mentoring and skills enrichment opportunities throughout the year. The CAT programme is funded by the government with grants awarded based on parental income.

If you are unsuccessful in gaining a place on the CAT scheme you may be offered a place on the London Youth Circus programme. 

What does the CAT scheme involve?

From all CAT students we expect exceptional commitment, attendance and a good attitude towards training. You will maximize your training by attending workshops and meetings and taking ownership of your own learning.

CAT scheme training involves: 

  • Individual training plans (ITP).
  • Specialist workshops during term breaks.
  • Paid support for external classes (theatre or extra dnace workshops)
  • Dance training
  • Trips to the theatre (usually one per term/pending availability).
  • Opportunity to access additional supporting classes during the week. 

Why do I have to participate in dance training?

Dance and circus go hand in hand helping students to develop coordination, technical and creative skills such as balance, flexibility and choreography. Attending dance classes as part of the CAT is non-negotiable.

How old do I need to be to apply for the scheme?

You can be in the scheme from the age of 11 up to 18; the last point of entry is aged 16 for new applicants.

The CAT scheme is for students in Primary, Secondary and BTEC (Further Education) and is not available to students at Degree level (Higher Education).  

Do I need lots of circus experience to apply?

To become a member of the CAT scheme you do not need to have a wealth of circus experience. However, circus is a performing art and an energetic activity so having an awareness of these elements is helpful. Students should have a genuine interest in the arts for the future. 

Do I need to live in London?

The CAT scheme is open to students across the UK. Students living outside of London must be training with a circus school if they would like to apply. If this is the case and you are interested in applying, please contact participation@nationalcircus.org.uk for more information. 

How do I remain a CAT student?

Once you are accepted onto the scheme you do not have to re-audition each year. Current CAT students are reviewed each year and either asked to reapply or removed from the scheme due to ineligibility. Reapplying requires parents to complete the application form each year to determine their grant amount. 

How often will I train?

Students train each Sunday on the London Youth Circus programme and additional circus skill and fitness classes throughout the week with the average amount of training being 11 – 18 hours per week. Training hours will differ depending on the age of the student.  

To enhance their circus training students have the option of taking extra classes at our centre or offsite at various venues, supported and agreed to by our department.

Intensive workshops are organised throughout the term and during half term breaks, CAT students must attend at least one of these as a requirement of the scheme.

Your attendance is monitored and you must attend at least 80% of your classes throughout each term. Failure to adhere to the guidelines of the programme may mean you are removed from the scheme.

More questions?

You can reach us on participation@nationalcircus.org.uk or 020 7613 8261.