Dance sector welcomes arts GCSE and A Level reform

Dance students performing at the National Dance Teachers Association conference in 2012. Photo: Brian Slater
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Dance industry bodies have welcomed the government’s announcement that arts GCSEs and A Levels will be reformed as more rigorous qualifications, saying it will be “vital” to ensure the development of future artists.

They said the “rigorous, demanding qualifications” planned by education secretary Michael Gove will secure high standards of dance education in schools, which will help to develop both artists and audiences.

However, they warned that dance is a major artform and needs to achieve “an even higher" profile in schools.

Yesterday, Gove revealed plans to reform the qualifications, which will be taught from September 2016.

He said the changes would mean every young person in the country would have the opportunity to study "high-quality, rigorous, demanding" qualifications.

Caroline Miller, director of advocacy organisation Dance UK, said: “These changes will ensure that dance education in schools is of a high standard, which is vital in developing the next generation, not only of dancers – both recreational and professional – but also of dance audiences.”

Linda Jasper, director of Youth Dance England, which supports dance for young people, added: “Dance is a very challenging discipline involving technical performance, choreography, the study of set works of renowned choreographers and the understanding of the contexts in which choreography and performance are made and evaluated.

“As a major art form, it needs to achieve an even higher profile in schools and this review indicates its importance to government policy.”

Meanwhile, the National Dance Teachers Association said it supported the government’s decision to maintain dance as a separate examination subject.