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Safer Dance

Posted on October 21, 2020

Safeguarding

The government’s guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Community Clubs, After-School Clubs and Tuition, was published today, October 21, 2020. Along with many other voluntary groups and clubs for children, dance schools are not regulated by any single organisation and the government’s guidance remains non-statutory. Now leading lights in the world of dance have set up a new Safer Dance group to promote safeguarding in their field.

Peter Flew, a trustee of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and director of the School of Education at the University of Roehampton, is behind the initiative. “I was shocked to learn that most of the basic safeguarding requirements in the out-of-school arena are non-statutory and will remain that way,” he said. “Without a regulator such as Ofsted for the sector, parents may well assume a school is following good safeguarding practice when it, in fact, isn’t.”

He has set up a working group of individuals from across the dance, education and safeguarding sectors who will work together informally to support good practice in dance schools. It aims to be a conduit for good practice, to lobby for better awareness and regulations and to provide links to training organisations.

Concern about the issue in the dance world was heightened in August when Ballet West was forced to close after allegations of sexual misconduct. The reports of alleged safeguarding incidents were described by the RAD as a “wake-up call for the dance teaching profession”.

Flew added: “This is an ideal time to support the implementation of this guidance by creating a working group of professionals across the dance, education and safeguarding sectors with a mission to support its effective implementation in the sector. Luke Rittner, chief executive of the RAD, said, “We applaud this initiative from the government and will do what we can to support its implementation across the sector.” More details about the new body can found on dsswg.org.uk.

Photograph: David Banuelos Photography – Shutterstock.

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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