Update - May 3rd 2021
Our work continues and the group is growing - now at 29 members. As a result, we now have a central committee which meets monthly, with the wider membership still contributing as well. The group is also now a member of One Dance UK.
We are still engaging with many dance associations, supporting them to meet the high standards which are needed to ensure children are safe.
We have also created a reference document putting the UK government's guidance for out-of-school settings into a dance context. We aim to use this as the basis of our future projects, raising awareness and providing a signpost to dance teachers, parents and children
New members are welcome, regardless of your role.
Update - January 11th 2021
We now have a strong group made up of members of key dance organisations, education experts, safeguarding experts, plus parent representatives and a school teacher as well.
We have a Terms of Reference and a Theory of Change for the first phase of our work and we have split into workstreams:
• One group is currently working on creating a clear idea of what particular safeguarding concerns are related to dance
• This will feed the next phase which aims to create awareness-raising materials for children, parents, schools, local authorities and small dance schools
• Another group is looking at engaging with the dance associations whom we hope will influence their members, supporting them to disseminate and influence good practice. We have found 38 associations.
• Finally, we have a group looking specifically at how the dance competition sector works as this is quite a unique challenge.
Other groups have been very helpful, include the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Sport England and The Artist's Safeguarding & Well-Being Hub (ASWH)
First meeting - November 12th 2020
Sixteen of us met virtually for the first time (see Members page for details). This is a strong group with a great deal of expertise across the sector and we shared our concerns for the welfare of children and vulnerable adults who undertake dance classes in out-of-school settings. We prioritised the key aims of the group in order to create a clear Terms of Reference which will be finalised at the next meeting.
Press coverage is encouraging with an article already appearing in Dancing Times and interviews undertaken for Dance Magazine and the Dance Gazette.
Next meeting - November 26th 2020
Responses to launch of Safer Dance -
Dancing Times https://www.dancing-times.co.uk/safer-dance/
Wednesday 21st October 2020 - DfE launches "Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After-School Clubs and Tuition - Non-statutory guidance for providers running out-of-school settings"
A new body is being launched to promote safeguarding in dance schools as the Department for Education releases new voluntary guidelines for keeping children safe. The government’s guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Community Clubs, After-School Clubs and Tuition, is due to be published today (October 21). [the publications can be found here]
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 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 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 a specialist dance school was forced to close after allegations of sexual misconduct.
The reports of alleged safeguarding incidents were described by the Royal Academy of Dance as a “wake up call for the dance teaching profession”.
“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,” Peter Flew said.
Luke Rittner, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Dance said, “We applaud this initiative from the government and will do what we can to support its implementation across the sector.”