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 - 27th November 2020

Mission statement

The Dance School Safeguarding Working Group (DSSWG) aims to help protect children and at-risk adults 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. Education of stakeholders (including dance teachers, children, young adults, at-risk adults, parents, school staff, dance associations, local authorities and other interested parties)

  2. Cooperation within and regulation of 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, at-risk adults, parents, school teachers, those involved at a multi-agency level, dance associations and other interested parties

b. ensuring safeguarding is a key aspect of dance education

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. focusing on being a positive enhancement to dance teachers/schools’ working practice as well as protecting them from not following good practice

f. developing a network of teachers who can support and review each others’ practice

g. facilitating a safe and secure forum for dance teachers with questions and concerns, which will ensure issues are reported correctly as necessary, and to inform the group of current concerns and new areas to address

Children (under 18s)

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

i. helping children know how to express 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)

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

k. helping young adults to express 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)

At-risk adults

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

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

Parents

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

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

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

School workforce

q. providing a framework for those who work in schools who may need support when an individual confides in them

Aim 2: Collaboration and Regulation

The DSSWG aims to achieve its mission by:

a. providing a mechanism 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

· ensure their own policies follow multi-agency reporting expectations

· 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[1]

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

Review: May 2021

27th November 2020

[1] OOSS are organisations or individuals that provide tuition, training, instruction or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision, but are not: schools, colleges, education settings providing alternative provision, 16-19 academies or providers caring for children that are registered with Ofsted or a chidminder agency


Note

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