Dance in Education Briefing (July)

2 Jul 2017

GCSE Dance Numbers Decline

Dance GCSE entries have dropped by 12.6% between 2016 and 2017, despite an over-all increase[1] in the number of GCSE entries across England. This is the biggest decrease in GCSE Dance numbers in a single year since 2010 when the EBacc was first announced.

Statistics[2] provided by Ofqual show the number of entries for GCSEs, so the final figures are likely to be revised again later this year when the number of students having taken the qualifications are released by the Joint Council for Qualifications.

All non-EBacc subjects have suffered a decrease in the number of entries, with drama going down by 8.7% and music by 6.9%.

The over-all decline in non-EBacc subjects has been reported on by Arts Professional which said: “The declines come despite a 165,000 increase in the total number of GCSE exam entries – now over 5 million – and an additional 314,000 entries into GCSEs in EBacc subjects.”

Cultural Learning Alliance have also released their statement on Ofqual’s statistics.

One Dance UK continues to advocate strongly for dance to be part of every child and young person’s school education, working constructively with Government. We also work with colleagues across the arts as part of the Bacc for the Future Campaign.


Dance within PE

Due to the Election, the statement from DfE on the distribution and monitoring of the increased PE & Sport Premium has been delayed. One Dance UK awaits this information as it has a direct impact on dance at Key Stage 1 and 2, where it forms a mandatory part of the PE curriculum.

In the meantime, we have some guidance on how schools can use the PE & Sport Premium to develop dance in their school. This will be updated once the new guidance is published.


Ofsted Chief Inspector encourages a closer look at schools’ curriculum

Amanda Spielman gave a speech to Festival of Education delegates on 23rd June, outlining her vision for school accountability and curriculum going forwards. Spielman is the new Chief Inspector at Ofsted and has over-all responsibility for inspecting and regulating standards in schools. She said:

Of course, the curriculum doesn’t just mean a set of national curriculum or GCSE subjects, important as these are. It also means what is snappily titled: ‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’.

And, within that, one area where there is room to improve is the active promotion of fundamental British values in our schools.”

This could be good news for dance, which has long been able to deliver on children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Indeed, one of the recent resources published by One Dance UK is on how dance can be used to explore the Fundamental British Values, which is available as a free download for members.

The challenge may still exist for dance teachers to gain an opportunity for an Ofsted Inspector to come to the dance studio or school hall. However, this small but significant prompt from Spielman, may help provide the collateral for a teacher to make the case for their dance teaching to be seen and therefore valued more strongly.


New Performing Arts Qualifications for KS4 & KS5 

From September, there are two new vocational qualifications for KS4 students; AQA Technical Award in Performing Arts (Level1 & 2) and Pearson BTEC Level 1 & 2 Tech Award in Performing Arts. These qualifications give a broad range of delivery for teachers however the young people do not get a specific Dance qualification which may affect progression into FE/HE.

Additionally, in 2018, Pearson are releasing their AS and A Level in Performing Arts which brings the same concerns.


Dance Teaching Awards

We have announced the short-listed nominees for the first One Dance UK Dance Teaching Awards. Having received 886 nominations across the nine Awards, the panel had the unenviable job of short-listing them down to just three nominees per Award.

Special congratulations go to those school based teachers and school leaders who have been shortlisted:


Outstanding Dance Teaching in Primary School:

Bobbie Gargrave, St. Michael’s C of E Primary School

Julie Guile, Saughall All Saints Primary School, Cheshire

Samantha Swallow, Rosehill Primary School, Yorkshire


Outstanding Dance Teaching in Secondary School:

Rhys James, St Teilo’s High School, Cardiff

Gemma Richards, Matravers School, Wiltshire

Harriet Simmons, Wildern School, Southampton


Most Supportive Senior Leader or Governor:

Joy Ballard, Ryde Academy, Isle of White

Paul Clark, Matravers School, Wiltshire

Lisa Kattenhorn, Harris Academy Tottenham, London


The winners of each Award will be announced on Sunday 16th July. Nominations open for 2018 in February.


Dance Teaching & Participation Conference

Tickets are now available for the first One Dance UK Dance Teaching Conference, which will take place at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance (Deptford, London), on Saturday 25th November. The programme is in development and more details will be released over the coming months.

The conference is aimed at dance teachers and those that work in dance education and participation in the dance sector in England.

The Dance Teaching & Participation Conference forms part of the One Dance UK Conference Season, which also includes our Choreographer’s Conference and Healthier Dancer Conference, both of which are on Sunday. Early-bird ticket prices start at just £45. Find out more here.


[1] GCSE entries have increase by 3% between 2016 and 2017. Source: Ofqual

[2] The published statistics do not include dance as a separate subject. It has been included in Performing Arts. However, One Dance UK were able to obtain the dance statistics as a separate figure from Ofqual directly.