The evolution of the student experience

Girls in the studio

Our students’ health, happiness and well-being are our priority, and we are continuously committed to evaluating and evolving our practice. We support students in our training programmes with our comprehensive healthcare programme, robust safeguarding and pastoral care and continued professional development for teachers.

Discover what’s changed:

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• Ad-hoc counselling available as required.

Healthy Dancer programme launched: a pioneering, evidence-based approach to health and well-being to support elite vocational ballet training. The programme brings together 20 healthcare professionals, enhancing performance through on-site healthcare support and research and ongoing education of our students to safeguard their well-being.

• Additional healthcare resources employed across Pilates and sports scientist provision
Smartabase system introduced (a research database used by healthcare teams at both The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, meaning our three organisations can collaborate, sharing research data and insights)
CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) screening for all students at Upper School (electrocardiogram screening, which diagnoses most cardiac abnormalities).

• Partnered with then English Institute of Sport (now UK Sports Institute): access to network of nutritionist support
• In-house mental health/counselling support.

• The new role of Clinical Psychologist introduced as therapist, Mental Health Lead and DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead)
• Increase in resource across physiotherapy, Pilates and rehabilitation.

• School restructure – whole School approach
• New Artistic Director, Academic Principal and Assistant Principal – Pastoral and Welfare appointed
• The School embeds a well-trained pastoral team who are equipped to provide top-quality pastoral support appropriate to the age of the student
• School Council set up – improved focus on the importance of the student voice
• Regular communication with parents on safeguarding matters, including reminders on how to raise a concern and information on the latest safeguarding themes from the LSCP (Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership).

• Enhanced programme of annual safeguarding training for staff, students, governors and volunteers
• Monthly safeguarding updates, ensures that staff are alert to the signs of abuse and know how to report a concern.

• Bespoke Upper School accommodation introduced in Central London
• New Academic Principal appointed.

• Implementation of the annual safeguarding audit, shared and agreed with the Richmond and Kingston LSCP and Governors
• Implementation of MyConcern (an app for reporting and handling pastoral and safeguarding concerns).

• New policies devised which provide more transparent communication on the assessment processes and further training offers
• Termly safeguarding meetings set up between the DSL and Deputy DSLs to ensure a consistent approach to handling safeguarding concerns raised at the School and review cases.

• Anonymous reporting system for students, Tootoot, ensuring students feel they can speak out about issues concerning them
• Full in-house catering provision for Year 1 and Year 2 Upper School students, ensuring healthy, balanced meals.

• Termly student reps meeting with the Principal and Assistant Principal to allow students to raise concerns and discuss their overall school and studio experience
New structure for artistic programmes offering greater transparency of progression within the School. Move from eight-year programme with annual assessing out to four distinct programmes (Foundation, Development, Vocational Programme and Pre-professional programmes) with an audition to enter each programme.

• Whole student experience responsibility moves to Principal, overseeing Artistic, Academic, Pastoral and Healthcare).

• New approach to artistic teaching introduced, focusing on modern teaching pedagogy, ballet class structure, and a positive studio culture
• Inclusion of Royal Ballet Company professionals in assessment panels with feedback welcomed to improve training outcomes.

• Change in approach to End of Year performances to increase participation for all students – more performance opportunities and inclusion through careful programming.

• Change of approach for choreographic programme, removing the competition element and replacing with a mentoring programme and essential feedback from experts in the field. This improves the well-being and empowerment of all participating students
• New assessment approach established. Assessment criteria and process defined into policy and communicated to all parents and students
• Parent meetings established to explain how we assess ballet progress.

• Increased liaison with The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, including delivering training to staff who will work with our students
• A learning agreement in place for artistic staff and students so that boundaries and expectations are clearly outlined.

• Continuing Professional Development Programme for full-time artistic teachers modelled on the National Teaching Standards
• Teacher/student studio expectations introduced for all teachers, including visiting and choreographers. Students involved in shaping this document
• New safeguarding protocols developed and agreed with The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet to safeguard Upper School students on work experience placements.

• Face-to-face meeting pre-arrival for all visiting teachers with members of the safeguarding team
• Principal, Assistant Principal and DSL involved in delivering artistic staff CPD.

• Evolved organisational values launched.

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