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Developing a deeper relationship – The PDSW Associate Schools Programme

2013-2014 saw our pilot year of our Associate Schools Programme; an exciting new programme to allow us to develop a deeper relationship with a select set of schools in the area. We thought this would be a great time to share with you some of what we’ve been working on with them over the past academic year. 

The schools involved receive a range of benefits over the academic year, plus an exciting association with the dance industry. We’re about to embark on our second year of the programme, and we thought this would be a great time to share with you some of what we’ve been working on with them over the past academic year.

The Bourne Academy, Avonbourne College, Linwood Special School and The Federation of St. Clements and St. John’s Infants and Bethany Junior School joined us for 2013-2014. During this year, the programme saw hundreds of young people experiencing new dance performances, and also being involved in the creation of some of those pieces.

Year 1 students from St. Clements Infants School took part in workshops with 2ND Hand Dance, to help the artists create Creepy House, which toured to libraries across the south west in Summer 2013, and students from The Bourne Academy took part in Collabo, where students were set a musical challenge to interpret a specially commissioned track by a highly esteemed music Producer/DJ. It is experiences like these that allow young people to actively learn how artists are making work at the minute, and to have a go at trying that out themselves, no matter what their age or ability.

It was in this vein that we developed the Associate Schools Project; a hip hop themed project that brought together 90 students from across the four schools. The young people took part in workshops to create a piece of choreography that was performed at B-Town Throwdown at the beginning of June, to a large outdoor audience.

The programme hasn’t just been about incredible experiences; we’ve worked hard to make sure that those experiences have been recognised and that achievements have been recorded. To do this, we have delivered over 100 Arts Award qualifications as a direct result of the Associate Schools Programme.

Looking into the coming academic year, three more schools will be joining us on the programme. LeAF Stage and Screen Studio School will be working with us on their industry links, as they aim to equip their students with the knowledge and connections to become professional performers. Bournemouth and Poole College will be extending their long standing relationship with us to enhance their course offers at both BTEC and Degree level. Finally, St. Katharine’s C.E. (V.A) Primary School in Hengistbury Head, will work with us to educate their students on the process of creation, working with our artists in residence to learn how performances are created and that they constantly evolve.

We’re looking forward to another great academic year. For more information about the Associate Schools Programme, please contact



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