UK education secretary Damian Hinds last week laid out 5 Foundations for Building Character– five areas of activity the Department for Education (DfE) believes are just as important as academic achievement in developing resilience and confidence in young people. Here at Northern School of Contemporary Dance we are delighted to see dance, and the creative and performing arts more broadly, acknowledged as positive, character-building pursuits by the government.
Two of the five Foundations- creativity and performing, are offered in abundance through our Learning & Participation programmes. We regularly see children and young people growing in confidence through our evening and weekend classes, and more intensive courses such as our Centre for Advanced Training scheme. We believe dance teaches perseverance and resourcefulness while enriching young people’s lives, expanding horizons and perceptions of success. So we are heartened by this latest announcement from the DfE, which recognises the value and importance of these activities, establishing a commitment to increase access opportunities and more clearly signpost them to young people.
Janet Smith, Principal and Artistic Director of Northern School of Contemporary Dance said:
“We really welcome this news and that the DfE is supportive in recognising the contribution the arts can make to an individual’s development.
Dance has for many years played a significant part in supporting the physical, creative and emotional well-being of children and young people, though often sitting outside of formal education systems and with limited funding to support the growth of good practice. The arts enable us to become more engaged in society, make valuable connections and make sense of the world around us.
Our hope is that this statement will re-ignite interest in the arts within and beyond education, and place value on the significant difference arts organisations make to the development of our young people, and to our society as a whole.”