Regarding Response: Changes in Dance at GCSE and A Level Dance – Message from DanceHE Chair Fiona Bannon

I am sure that many of you will be reading the discussions flowing across the SCUDD mailing list, concerning the changes underway in GCSE and A Level Drama.  Their debate ranges across forms of collaborative, performative protests to direct political lobbying of each local MP and the Russell Group

Whilst the right to reply to the implementation of ‘change’ and enhanced ‘rigour’ has had the benefit of some ‘consultation’ it would be useful to hear more views from the membership in response to the drive of ideological change through education.

The continued existence of Dance as a discipline for examination is positive though the centres that offer it may well be dramatically reduced.
Like other disciplines across the arts and sciences, there is major concern about the ‘non-exam’ status of practice and the impact that this will have on learning in Dance and the recruitment of students.

If A Level Dance is a preparation for study at University then what is the likely experience of students arriving to study Dance at Degree level?

We are  starting to see the realignment of Dance programmes in terms of narrowed employability rather than as catalyst for cultural change.
We are starting to see the viability of some Dance programmes questioned in terms of rationalising provision in certain centres.

DanceHE –  represents the sector in terms of lobbying for the discipline. With this in mind it would be good to hear the voice of members  concerned for the future of the discipline and the positive advancements that have been made in expanding the role of dance as a distinct route through HE and life long learning.

Several members of the DanceHE Board attended the Government’s recent consultation meetings for A Level Dance and they will report to the membership soon.

I have included recent links to DanceUK, Youth Dance England and the DfE press release.

Please read through these and share your thoughts about the current politically driven changes that are taking place in education.  I am happy to collate information on-line and off-line and voice the concerns of the sector both formally and informally where ever possible and necessary.

The Government announced on Wednesday 9 April 2014 that GCSEs and A levels in dance and other subjects are to undergo a radical overhaul. New GCSEs and A levels in dance, as well as GCSEs and A levels in religious studies, design & technology, drama, music and PE, and GCSEs in art & design, computer science and citizenship, will be reformed for first delivery in September 2016.

Education Secretary Michael Gove MP made a statement to parliament saying the reforms would include “more rigorous content”.

Here is a round-up of coverage:

Dance UK and the dance sector’s response: www.danceuk.org/news/article/dance-sector-responds-government-announcement-school-examination-reforms

The Department for Education’s press release: www.danceuk.org/news/article/new-arts-gcses-be-introduced-2016

Dance UK and the dance sector’s response: www.danceuk.org/news/article/dance-sector-responds-government-announcement-school-examination-reforms

BBC news coverage – ‘Tougher A-levels and GCSEs for arts subjects’: www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26937958#?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Youth Dance England’s response: www.danceuk.org/news/article/youth-dance-england-responds-gcse-and-level-dance-changes

The National Dance Teachers Association’s response: www.danceuk.org/news/article/national-dance-teachers-association-response-dance-exam-changes

With regards and concern

Fiona Bannon

Chair, DanceHE