Staffing shortages threaten pound;5.5m plan

21st March 2008 at 00:00
A shortage of suitably qualified dance teachers could threaten the Government's multi-million pound project to revive the subject in schools. The pound;5.5 million programme aims to unearth a new generation of dance enthusiasts.

Strictly Youth Dancing will include the creation of six new centres of advanced training by 2011. The Government will also launch a pilot scheme, placing specialist dance teachers into schools.

Margaret Talbot, chief executive of the Association for Physical Education, welcomed the scheme, but questioned whether schools were sufficiently equipped to give dance enough prominence in the curriculum. "We know that there have been disproportionate cuts in dance teacher-training numbers and in PE-training numbers," she said.

The number of pupils taking dance at school has increased by 83 per cent over the past four years, with more than 15,000 now taking a GCSE in the subject.

Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, said: "Dance for its own sake is something we value. So it's right and good that Government support for the dance world should be put on a new footing. I look forward to seeing the next generation of dancers benefit from it."

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