About Safer Dance, the Dance School Safeguarding Working Group

The key driver

Reports of alleged safeguarding incidents in ballet schools in August 2020 were described by the Royal Academy of Dance as a “wake up call for the dance teaching industry”. The sector is currently unregulated, with no single governing body.

The UK government published “Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After-School Clubs and Tuition Non-statutory guidance for providers running out-of-school settings” in October 2020.

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 dance school sector.


Terms of Reference - last updated 23rd June 2021

Mission statement

The Dance School Safeguarding Working Group (DSSWG) aims to help protect children and adults at risk who attend dance teaching in out-of-school settings (“the sector”) in the UK by supporting and facilitating the implementation of high standards of safeguarding.

There are two key aims of the Working Group:

1. Making safeguarding a key aspect of dance education which is recognised by all participants through the education of stakeholders (including dance teachers, children, young adults, adults at risk, parents, school staff, dance associations, local authorities and other interested parties)

2. Cooperation within and support to regulators that operate within the sector

Aim 1: Education of stakeholders

The DSSWG aims to achieve its mission by:

a. recognising and publicising the specific issues surrounding safeguarding in dance to: dance teachers, children, adults at risk, parents, school teachers, those involved at a multi-agency level, dance associations, relevant regulators and other interested parties

b. Making safeguarding is key aspect of dance education recognised by all participants through education of stakeholders (including dance teachers, children, young adults, adults at risk, parents, school staff, dance associations, local authorities and other interested parties)

Dance teachers and leaders in dance schools and associated settings

c. encouraging all dance teachers and leaders in dance schools and associated settings to adopt best-practice safeguarding guidance across the UK (e.g. the DfE guidance code of practice for Out of School Settings)

d. supplying, and signposting to simple and clear safeguarding guidance, including policy and practice templates, for dance teachers/schools, relevant to their practice

e. helping teachers achieve recognition for good safeguarding practise

Children (under 18s)

f. helping children understand what is and is not acceptable practice in terms of their safety and wellbeing

g. helping children know how to express and/or report any safeguarding concerns they may have either within the dance school, or to professionals outside the dance school (e.g. at school or to other helplines)

Young adults (18 to 25 year olds)

h. helping young adults understand what is and is not acceptable practice in terms of their safety and wellbeing

i. helping young adults to express and/or report any concerns they may have either within the dance school, or to professionals outside the dance school (e.g. in further or higher education or to other helplines)

Adults at risk

j. helping adults at risk understand what is and is not acceptable practice in terms of their safety and wellbeing

k. helping adults at risk know how to express and/or report any safeguarding concerns they may have either within the dance school, or to professionals outside the dance school

Parents

l. helping parents understand the non-statutory nature of safeguarding guidance in the sector

m. encouraging parents to be aware of good safeguarding practice in dance schools

n. signposting to parents how to express and/or report any concerns they may have either within the dance school, or to professionals outside the dance school

School workforce

o. providing an understanding of safeguarding in out-of-school dance settigns for those who work in schools to fulfil their statutory reporting requirements more effectively

Aim 2: Collaboration and Regulation

The DSSWG aims to achieve its mission by:

a. publicise ways for dance teachers, including those not affiliated to a dance association, to demonstrate high quality safeguarding practice, e.g. via Local Authority recognition and CDMT’s Recognised Awards Scheme for pre-vocational schools and teachers

b. supporting dance associations to:

have high quality safeguarding guidance for their members, focused on policy, practice and up-to-date Continuing Professional Development

provide support to their members who have concerns and questions regarding safeguarding

support cooperation and transparency between dance associations nationwide with regard to safeguarding

agree information sharing protocols to prevent teachers of concern moving from one association to another, in line with current GDPR legislation

c. lobbying for governmental change and greater awareness of the dance education context in respect of safeguarding

d. collaborating with similar organisations within and outside the UK to enhance understanding of safeguarding in dance

e. reflecting on historic and ongoing safeguarding cases with a view to promoting lessons learned

Scope

1. Dance teaching offered in Out-of-School Settings

2. Safeguarding surrounding events and competitions in which children, young adults and adults at risk compete

Review: December 2021

23rd June 2021



Note

This working group does not act on behalf of the organisations to whom its members belong.