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Written Statement in response to the Culture, Welsh Language And Sport Committee’s Report into “Dance in Wales.”
Purpose: To present the Welsh Assembly Government’s response to the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee’s Report into “Dance in Wales.”
Responses to the Report’s recommendations are set out below. The recommendations follow the Report’s headings and numbering.
1. A Strategy for Dance
The Committee recommends that:
A Strategy for Dance in Wales should be developed by the Arts Council of Wales, with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government, by the end of 2006 in order to:
- address the long term development and future of dance in Wales
- set out plans for the various sectors within dance
- develop proposals for an all Wales marketing plan for dance to maximise opportunities for dance, dancers and audience building. The plan should build on existing programmes of festivals, touring and international performers. It should also look at ways of expanding the numbers of visiting companies to Wales
- the Wales Tourist Board, the British Council and Wales Arts International should be involved in the development and implementation of the marketing plan
- the Sherman Theatre, a mid-scale venue, should be reviewed by the Arts Council of Wales as a potential showcase for dance in Cardiff.
Accept: The Assembly Government remitted the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) to develop a Dance Strategy, taking into consideration the recommendations from the Review, and consulting closely with the dance sector. The requirement to produce a Strategy for dance was included in the Remit Letter for 2005/06. ACW intend to launch the Dance Strategy at their Conference in May. It will include a section on marketing, and audience development.
The potential for the Sherman Theatre to become a showcase for dance in Cardiff will be explored in the context of the emerging strategy, and the plans for the redevelopment of the theatre.
In addition, the Assembly Government Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity, Climbing Higher, in support of Health Challenge Wales, sets out challenging targets for increasing the levels of adult and children’s physical literacy and activity. The development of community and schools dance participation has a vitally important role to play in contributing to the achievement of those targets. The Government expects the Arts Council to work closely with the Sports Council for Wales in developing dance participation to contribute to the physical activity and physical literacy targets set in Climbing Higher. The Dance Strategy will develop the widest possible range and interpretation of dance activities as a means of engaging more people in participation in physical activity particularly in the areas where participation is low and disadvantage high.
Financial implications: These were covered in the Arts Council’s 2005/06 Remit Letter and grant in aid allocation.
A Forum for Dance should be established by the Arts Council of Wales to help develop the strategy and to keep it and current developments in dance under review. Specifically it should:
- commission a separate review of dance training.
Accept: ACW has established three Regional Dance Forums, who each meet twice a year. The forums coincide with the ACW regions; South, West and North Wales. The forums cover all the regional venues and local authorities. They also cover the local community dance companies. The North Wales Forum, based in Colwyn Bay, is the most developed and works with Dawns I Bawb and North East Wales Dance. The West Wales Forum works with Dawns Dyfed, Powys Dance and Tan Dance. The South Wales Forum works with Rubicon, Dance Blast, Community Dance Wales and the Valleys Dance Initiative.
The forums work with the local authority arts development officers, and the local PE and School Sport Co-ordinators.
The objective is to bring the Regional Forums together to form a National Forum for Dance.
The Government welcomes the recommendation on dance training. Dance training was covered in some detail in the Arts Training Wales research document “Inspiration, Aspiration and Dedication,” which was published in 2003. ACW will also include training in the new Dance Strategy. Resources for a further, separate, review of dance training can be considered in the 2006 Welsh Assembly Government budget planning review.
2. Support for Dance
The Committee recommends that:
Additional resources for dance in Wales should be made available by the Welsh Assembly Government to the Arts Council of Wales to:
- raise support for dance at least on a par with other art forms in Wales
- enable support provided through lottery funds to be absorbed into core funding
- provide better recompense and recognition for the work of the community dance sector and to enable it to expand its activities throughout Wales and meet demand for work with older people, the young and the disabled.
- the Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport should give serious consideration to the estimates from the Arts Council of Wales for spending priorities for dance which are reproduced at Annex A.
- The Arts Council of Wales should review the terms and conditions of employment for professional dancers.
- The Arts Council of Wales should review the availability of grants and awards to gifted young dancers in Wales.
Largely accept: The Assembly Government recognises that the £1.1 million ACW has made available to its dance revenue clients is lower than the totals for revenue clients for other artforms. It is estimated that the shortfall for each of the 10 community dance clients is in the region of £30,000. ACW has received WEFO funds of £385,096 (which it is matching with £470,680) for the development of community arts in Wales. These funds will have a significant positive impact on the sector. Some £300,000 will go to the community dance organisations, and will largely make up the identified shortfall.
In addition, the Welsh Assembly Government has made new resources available for dance, and for the Committee review on Arts and Sport and Community regeneration, from 2006/07. £125,000 per year has been added to the Arts Council’s grant in aid baseline.
The Government expects ACW to actively manage its revenue clients to ensure targeted and effective delivery to all corners of Wales in all artforms. The Government notes that the Dance in Wales report does not discuss the development of Ballet. Neither of the Ballet Companies in Wales is a revenue client of the Council, although Independent Ballet Wales (IBW) has been a regular recipient of scheme funding. Both IBW and Ballet Russe are encouraged to continue to apply for annual project funding. A comprehensive Dance Strategy will need to include all styles of dance.
ACW has been working with Equity to review the terms and conditions for professional dancers. It is accepted that rates of pay in Wales are lower than elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and that this should be addressed. The question of the availability of grants and awards will be addressed via the new Dance Strategy, although the Assembly Government notes that individual dance artists have been recognised through the Creative Wales awards scheme in the past. Applications to the scheme from individual dancers have increased in the last year.
Financial Implications: . Any additional costs above current provision will be considered in the 2006 Welsh Assembly Government budget planning review.
3. Learning and Teaching
The Committee recommends that:
The Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning should consider establishing a National body for dance in Education to oversee and make recommendations for improvements in:
- provision for dance within the education system in Wales, including its location within the national curriculum.
- the role that relevant agencies such as the community dance sector, performing companies, the Sports Council of Wales and local authorities, can play in broadening pupils’ experience of dance
- existing initiatives such as Physical Education and School Sports (PESS), and Girls First
- dance within initial teacher education training and continuous professional development for teachers
- the availability of grants and other forms of support for talented young dancers in Wales.
Any developments in this area must take account of those recommended for the wider strategy for dance.
Accept in principle. Dance is an integral part of the National Curriculum in Wales for all pupils up to the age of 11 and figures as one of the areas of activity that schools may offer to all pupils while in secondary education. A number of the issues identified for attention by the Committee are currently being addressed by other mechanisms, including the review of the school curriculum and assessment arrangements 5-16 being led by the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales, ACCAC. In addition the Assembly has undertaken a review of Initial Teacher Training. In both instances there has been extensive consultation on the overall approach proposed and the detail.
In parallel with this work practical support to schools in the delivery of dance is being provided through the Assembly’s PE and School Sport initiative (PESS). The Assembly has made £5m available to date to support the implementation of the initiative. The focus has been on forging effective partnerships between schools and the dance sector to improve both the range of opportunities provided with young people and the quality of provision.
Working with the Sports Council for Wales (SCW) further work in this area will include the provision of training and development opportunities in dance. Over 2000 teachers and practitioners have already received training much of which has been delivered in partnership with community dance companies. In addition, SCW is developing a programme with community dance companies to improve opportunities for companies to mentor and support schools in the provision of dance.
To improve opportunities for 14-19 year olds links have been established with the British Sports Trust to provide leadership training in dance. The training includes generic skills in communication, leadership, organisation and planning so that young people are able to use their skills in the community.
As one element of the development of 14-19 Learning Pathways we are working with Sector Skills Councils to create work related learning pathways or “combined apprenticeships” involving learning in school combined with more practical hands on experience in a work setting.
It is planned that the relevant Sector Skills Councils will be asked to work with a number of 14-19 networks to develop learning pathways that incorporate wider opportunities for dance. This work would need to be undertaken in conjunction with the dance production companies in Wales, Diversions and Earthfall, and to link with support for dance being provided through the PE and School Sport initiative. There will also be a need to consider the range of financial support available to young people including the Education Maintenance Allowances and the Assembly Learning Grant.
Firm and effective partnerships at all levels provide the foundation for improving both the standard and range of opportunities for dance provided for young people. Such partnerships also provide important pathways for progression for young people during and at the end of compulsory education.
The Arts Council for Wales will, therefore, be invited to establish a subgroup of the Forum for Dance to align the development of dance in education with the strategy for dance. The subgroup will be charged with advice and recommendations on further work as part of the PE and School Sport Initiative to develop effective partnerships between schools and the dance sector to broaden pupils’ experience of dance. The group will also provide support and advice in the development of 14-19 learning pathways that incorporate opportunities for dance. The Assembly Government is making £1.8m available for the PE and School Sport Initiative and £4.5m for 14-19 Learning in 2006-07.
Financial Implications. Any additional costs above current provision for the PE and School Sport Initiative and 14-19 Learning will be considered in the 2006 Welsh Assembly Government budget planning review.