Overview on RSL by Justine Reeve, Facebook’s Dance Teachers’ Agony Aunt

Justine Reeve is passionate about Dance and the Performing Arts and believes that creativity and the arts are an essential part of education. Justine created a Facebook group called  The Dance Teachers Agony Aunt to support dance in schools, to help unlock potential in dance teaching and learning, to create a much needed support network for dance and to find ways to connect formal education with the professional dance world. There are now over 1600 members. She receives numerous messages and e-mails from teachers every day. In aiming to support and advise teachers Justine has investigated every specification that includes dance.

Over the last two years Justine has been looking into the Rock School Limited (RSL) Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) Level 2 certificate in Performing Arts. The qualification is an equivalent to a GCSE, with learners completing a total of two units, one internal and one external. RSL describe their vocational qualifications as ‘innovative, practical and industry focused’. Justine’s initial reactions, when looking at the overall qualification, was that there was choice, emphasis on skills development and that it echoed her own vocational experiences as a dancer and choreographer so it felt valid.

RSL qualifications offer a choice of pathways in either Acting or Dance where each has a choice of four internal units to choose from. For Dance the options are:

  • Dance Ensemble Performance
  • Choreography
  • Global Dance Styles
  • Dance Technique and Performance.

Having a selection of units can create exciting possibilities when planning your dance course as you can play to your strengths, the students’ strengths, or both, or you can even embark on a new discoveries in theory and practice together. Most centres deliver the internal unit in Year 10 and the external unit – Live Performance – in Year 11.

Whilst delivering the internal unit, teachers and learners get the luxury of time explain and develop dance skills, explore how to choreograph, create a rehearsal schedule, improve and to get inspired. RSL believe focus should be on the ‘application and development of creativity’. Learners are encouraged to be creative, to learn new skills, to discover the world of dance, they are encouraged to led, work with others, reflect, receive feedback and have an opportunity to improve and even to resubmit evidence for assessment.

A most encouraging aspect of the grading criteria of the external unit is that learners are asked to ‘Identify what they most enjoyed’. Justine says “ I was thrilled that RSL were asking learners what they enjoyed. I can’t think of any other qualification that asks this! It is that criteria alone that encourages teachers to put the joy back into their subject.”

The CAPA Level 2 Certificate is included in the DfE KS4 approved qualifications list for 2020 and 2021 with RSL announcing that it will be available in 2022 using the discount code LC11, allowing for centres to offer a wider combination of courses. RSL also offer a Level 3 Creative and Performing Arts Acting and Dance course worth 1.5 A Levels, which is worth considering if you want to deliver a vocational Post-16 dance qualification that carries UCAS points.

RSL is a specialist contemporary arts awarding body, working to create engaging qualifications that reflect the changing demands of the creative industries, with an on-going commitment to motivate and support teachers and learners alike. https://www.rslawards.com/vocational/

The Dance Teachers’ Agony Aunt Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/804171839670733/

Justine Reeve: www.danceconsultancy.uk