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Bethany CE VA Junior School

With one term down of the Learning Associates Programme, we are delighted to shine a light on Bethany CE VA Junior School in Knole Road, Bournemouth, who have taken part in some excellent opportunities this term for their young people.

Becky Smith – Class Teacher at Bethany CE VA Junior School, came on board as a Discover Associate in September 2018. Since then, 96 year 6 pupils have experienced Lindy Hop Dance workshops with PDSW’s own classes programme teacher Ruby Adams, to support their World War 1 curriculum-topic.

After a fun-filled day of rotating workshops in the school hall, with constant support from the team of staff at School, all children gathered to celebrate and rehearse what they had learnt.

‘[I] just wanted to feed back that both the staff and the children absolutely loved the Lindy Hop dance in year 6 on Thursday. Afterwards the staff were all talking about how inspired they were and the children even carried on practicing at lunch time out on the playground!’ Becky Smith, Bethany Junior School.

Children and staff finished their term with an end of year performance of the choreography they had learnt with Ruby, within a showcase of of their other WW1-topic achievements.

While the planning and delivery of these workshops were taking place, the Bethany CE VA Junior School team were also developing an opportunity through the Learning Associates Programme for Pupil Premium and Young Carers registered children to see a professional performance at Pavilion Dance South West.

Co-investment from the School enhanced the Learning Associates Programme budget, which meant that 38 young people were able to see Wolf & Peter by CoisCéim Dance at no cost to the children and their families. This was ‘a great and rare opportunity for those children’ Becky commented.

Often travel costs pose a barrier for school trips like this, but with the families personally applying for the limited tickets at the School they committed to taking their children to the venue themselves – possibly they had never been into the centre of Bournemouth before.

On 9th November, children and their families battled the stormy weather to make it to the venue in time for this beautiful family performance. Some guardians stayed to watch the show with the school group too when more tickets became available.

After watching 5 dancers and a talented pianist bounce and leap around the stage in a display of vibrancy, one child (in his full childs’ tux which he had donned for his night at the Theatre) exclaimed: ‘The music was so good I forgot it was raining outside!’

This has been a brilliant term for the Learning Associates Programme and we are especially thankful to Bethany Junior School for making the most out of their first term with us. Their motivation and creativity has meant that 134 of their children, some from ‘disadvantaged backgrounds’, were able to have authentic, cultural experiences as part of a varied and exciting curriculum. In total, there were 170 learning hours accumulated.

What is the Learning Associates Programme?

Our Learning Associates Programme places emphasis on strong, sustainable relationships with a small number of local settings who are committed to providing high-quality dance education, and a growing capacity for dance excellence.

Within this programme, PDSW will provide young people and staff with professional workshops, tickets to see live performance, curriculum specific projects, creative careers advice, peer-training, performance opportunities and responsive department support where possible.

Together, we also aim to grow a supportive network of teachers, to share best practice and to collaboratively champion the survival of dance within this ever-changing landscape of education.

Education settings become partners by investing as a Dream Associate or Discover Associate. The partnership lasts for one whole academic year.

Please contact our Young People’s Producer, Claire Wakefield, on 01202 203644 if you would like to have an informal chat about the Learning Associates Programme.

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