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About Dance Teacher Training

Here at ACS we have been training and qualifying ISTD teachers for over 20 years. Diana Clifford, principal of the studio, and head DDE tutor, believes passionately that the process cannot be rushed and that absorbing knowledge in regular weekly lessons, one morning or one evening per week, creates the best teachers; confident, knowledgeable and well equipped for their future careers; that is why our trainees are so sought after for teaching positions all around the country. Becoming a dance teacher is a true vocation and here at ACS we nurture that passion and tailor our courses to the individual, even if you have less experience of ISTD work to start with. As long as you have the drive to teach, to improve your dance knowledge and technique and to become the best teacher you can be, we will endeavour to help you reach your goal. Here at ACS we are a family and make many lifelong friendships, contacts and networks are formed, that will help you as a newly qualified teacher to go on to a long, successful and rewarding career DDE, Licentiate and beyond!

The DDE qualification includes the genres Ballet, Tap and Modern. For a teaching qualification in Ballroom, Latin American or Disco Freestyle please call for information, the old associate is still available for Dancesport.

What is DDE? What is it made of?

The Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) - 120 university credits This is the entry level ISTD dance Teaching exam and is a Level 4 foundation degree level qualification, recognised in the UK and internationally. Students can commence during the academic year they become 17. There is no upper age limit as long as you can still dance and demonstrate at an ISTD Intermediate vocational level. DDE is unit based, with 5 units in total, each individual unit also has its own level 3 or 4 level university credit value. On qualification this entitles you to enter your own students for ISTD exams and also progress on to either the level 6 degree course or Licentiate, Fellowship and perhaps examiner status, ie. you could work initially as a freelance teacher for a private dance school or college or open your own studio. If choosing to progress on to level 6, you would gain QTLS status and could work in a state school as if you had studied a degree plus PGCE year. Morning classes The unit 4 course can be studied in morning classes one morning per week per genre, allowing experienced ex-professional dancers to apply for teaching work ahead of qualification and study alongside their teaching. Evening classes Alternatively we offer evening lessons in unit 4 one evening per week, for those with "day jobs" or those still at sixth form college studying alongside their A levels. Fast-Track- Double speed! Those who wish to "Fast-track" Unit 4 can come along to both sessions during the week, morning and evening. Unit 1 and 5 will be studied in one off 1-2 day crash courses or can be distance learning via email and skype if you are working far away from home or in another country! This is combined with your home study. Unit 2 will also be taught in an initial one off group lesson, followed by individual private tutorials in person or via Skype, after each observation, assisting or planned teaching practice. We are happy to explain the process to you over the phone or face to face as the qualification can seem quite complicated, please feel free to call and speak to Diana or Lucinda and we are happy to help and can also send you our latest prospectus and application information. The DDE is suitable for experienced dancers of Intermediate level or above and is suitable for any age over 17.

A timetable can be viewed here


Explanation of Each Unit

Unit 1 Preparing for Safe Teaching

This is a theory written unit and will take place by attending our centre's group tutorial courses with own home study in addition. There is no actual exam, this unit is in the form of tasks, written projects and course work entered onto an online platform called Totara, which can be accessed once registered by you and your ACS tutor and then submitted to ISTD when complete. This unit covers anatomy and safe practice such as warm-up and cool down, legal issues when teaching as well as various policy documents and best practice procedures and risk assessments. (15 credits at Level 3)

Unit 2 Observation, Assisting and Teaching Practice.

The Unit 1 must be completed before taking the teaching practice element. Students must also be 18 years of age before the final teaching assessment and have completed a DBS check. This unit involves 4 hours plus of observing a senior teacher teaching a grade class. Then 5 hours plus of assisting a teacher with a grade classes, plus 5 hours plus of teaching the class unsupervised. Along the way, you will be writing notes and reflective journals about the classes you teach and watch, plus learning how to complete lesson plans. The final videoed class will be assessed by an external examiner. ( a bit like being ofsted'ed!) (30 credits at Level 4)

Unit 3 Vocational Graded Intermediate Dance exam.

This would be studied with us in order to take the exam before the unit 4 exam, unless you have already completed Inter with us or with your previous dance college or school. We have built the Intermediate into our DDE unit 4 classes as your own dance level needs to be currently as good as it can be before your unit 4 exam and much of the syllabus has changed recently. (28 credits at Level 3)

Unit 4 Dance Practice.

This is specific to the dance genre chosen, and may be studied in multiple genres. The focus of the unit is on understanding and demonstrating the level of technique required from Primary to Intermediate. It assesses the learners dance technique, and their ability to relate teaching methods and safe dance practice to their chosen genre, as well as understanding the relationship between music and dance as applied to teaching. (30 credits at level 4)

Unit 5 Social, Emotional and Cognitive Development.

Another written theory unit , studying the social, emotional and cognitive development of students from age 3 to adult hood and old age, plus the psychology of teaching. Again this will be course work tasks and projects with work submitted on an online platform and marked by your tutor before it is submitted to the assessor. (17 credits at Level 4)

Unit 1- Level 3 15 uni credits
Unit 2- Level 4 30 uni credits
Unit 3- Level 3 28 uni credits
Unit 4- Level 4 30 uni credits. (65 UCAS points for a distinction)
Unit 5- Level 4 17 uni credits

Total Level 4. 120 university credits

One Genre at a time or All Together?

You have the choice to study one genre at a time or multiple genres depending on your outside commitments and work load. Only unit 3 and unit 4 need be taken for each genre separately, whereas unit 1, 2, and 5 are only taken once. We suggest if you have significant family commitments, a full-time job and/or are studying a full-time A level course alongside DDE, that one genre would be more than enough work load!

How long is the course?

Generally the Unit 4 course is 6 terms long (around 18 months), before a student is ready for their final unit 4 exam. Those who have already passed their DDI (Diploma in Dance Instruction) or choose to "Fast-Track" and attend both our morning and evening classes, this will be around 3 terms (1 year). Written units, and observation and teaching practice units, can be started immediately at the commencement of the course, or you could choose to stagger your work-load and start written units one at a time as you complete each one. All units are tutored here at ACS with one of our knowledgeable teaching faculty. We do accept students throughout the year at the start of each term, especially if you are an ex-professional dancer or have prior ISTD teaching experience, please call Diana or Lucinda for advice. Call for next start date.

How old should I be? What Level of Dance Do I Need?

You can start DDE tuition at any age from 17 upwards. Most of our students are in their mid to late 20's or 30's, however we have had several successful students in their 40's and 50's, as long as you are able to demonstrate Intermediate work at a "good" level we value the life experience our more mature students bring to the mix. The Intermediate exam will need to be studied and passed here with us in regular classes, unless you have already passed this or a higher ISTD exam such as Advanced 1 or 2 elsewhere. Either way we have built in an Intermediate work class into our DDE course for technique and stamina as well as for depth of syllabus knowledge for DDE. The ISTD work continues to evolve and be updated so many of you may find there are significant syllabus changes to some genres since you took your own Intermediates. Those of you who do not have an ISTD background or who have not yet passed Intermediate will need to arrange a short interview and class with Diana before commencing the course, to check your current dance level.

What Will I Learn?

During the weekly DDE unit 4 class we firstly teach you the syllabus from a teaching perspective, Primary to Intermediate. We then analyse and explain how to teach the syllabus content, building up dance movements, counting, picking up faults, finding teaching methods and solving faults for differing physiques and genders. The candidate must be able to dance and demonstrate at a high standard, plus choreograph free arrangements and make up practice sequences at various levels. In addition you will gain a knowledge of bio mechanics, anatomy and different physiques and anatomical problems as well as injury prevention and management and psychology of teaching. As you can imagine, without your own significant outside study after each class finishes, we would really only be able to accomplish this in 7-10 hours of classes per week! So candidates will need to set aside study time outside of lessons. To this end, assisting and also watching younger children's grade classes here is advised. Learners will also need to have access to their own laptop and ipod (with itunes, working from a streaming service like spotify is not recommended and is not allowed in the exam due to the possibility of network issues, but more importantly the ease for the music operator to find chosen music in the exam.) for devising their own play-lists of suitable music, and also they will need the set ISTD music and also the set syllabus grade books from ISTD sales department ( ) Their are DVDs available of the syllabus too, but this shouldn't be a necessity if you study the work sufficiently.

How to Apply?

Candidates should have reached the age of at least 16 years or older within the year they commence study although certain units may not be taken until age 18 at the end of their course. Just fill in our enrolment form and enclose this with your photograph and audition fee (if applicable). Suitable candidates will be asked to attend an informal audition and interview at a mutually convenient time or join in with an existing class. Candidates may sometimes just need to interview and not audition, if they are ex-professional dancers/competitors with proven C.V's and are at Advanced 1 or 2 level with their ISTD exams. Most course entrants commence in September, however we do also accept candidates mid way through the year at the start of each new term. Ex-professional dancers and mature candidates are always welcome to apply.

What happens next?

After your audition if applicable, you will be informed either immediately in your interview or within one week in writing of the outcome. If accepted onto the course we will also then need our registration fee, copies of any Intermediate/Advanced 1 or other certificates such as degrees, Trinity diplomas etc. and a cheque made payable to the ISTD for their registration. If you already have a portfolio at a previous centre then you will need to ask them to send this to us or Students then enter into a contract of learning agreement at this time, where any further action on the part of the student can also be noted, e.g. if there is a proviso that a student attends additional technique classes to improve or maintain their dance standard or obtains the Intermediate exam here before starting the course.

What our previous Learners say.

"I think Anthony Clifford's offer exceptional teacher training for students and teachers of varying experience and training" - Rebecca Fowler

"Being able to complete my Advanced 2 here is an extra bonus as it's so hard to find this class at other studios! and having a regular pianist is an absolute treat" - Melanie Kay

"I have really enjoyed my time spent training at ACDS! I found all the teachers and staff to be really encouraging and friendly and feel I have learnt so much to help improve my teaching skills and knowledge. Diana was so helpful in all aspects of studying for the teaching qualifications and has made the process of completing all the units very smooth. She also had some great recommendations for distant learning tutors. The DDE/DDI classes with Helen have been really inspiring. She is incredibly knowledgeable and I always enjoy the classes with her. It's been so lovely working with a great pianist on a weekly basis too. I would highly recommend ACDS for anyone wishing to further their teacher training and study for ISTD teaching qualifications." -Aimee Singer

How much Does It Cost?

There are very few upfront costs to our course at ACS, it is much more similar to how children's dance classes are paid for, which makes it more affordable as many of our students start teaching before being fully qualified and can fund their course as they go. The unit 4 weekly classes are paid for half termly in advance and are usually 6 weekly with a break for main school holidays. (see fees list below) It therefore depends on how quickly you are ready to take the unit 4 exam, as to the overall cost of unit 4. The average student takes 6 terms from scratch, however we have exam sessions at least three times per year and regularly have mock exams, so if you have put in the extra work, we are happy to put you forward for your exam earlier, as soon as you are ready! Alternatively those that take a break to have a family and rejoin the course later, can take a little longer. Our course is adaptable. There will be a registration fee paid to the centre and ISTD at the start of your course. This is to register you with ISTD online as a DDE candidate on Totara. Written units 1 and 5 are paid as a one off day course here and then if a student needs extra tutorials these would be paid direct to the tutor if you need more help. Unit 2 observations and teaching practice are again taught in a one off group morning class, plus private tutorials at the end of each of your observations or teaching practices ( minimum number likely 15 x half hour spread over 1-2 terms) The ISTD set their exam fees for each unit, these are paid direct to ISTD except for pianist fees for ballet. Please call us to find out the current costs.



-Diana Clifford CDE FISTD tutor DDE and Adv1/2 Ballet modern, Tap Unit 1,2,3,5 tutor ( Principal of College)
Mark Anthony CDE LISTD Head of Boys Work DDE modern and jazz tutor.
Helen Steggles FISTD examiner, Imperial Ballet committee member Ballet DDE Tutor.
Natalie Lane LISTD DDE Tap and unit 1,2,3,5 tutor.
Debbie Clark FISTD- Ballroom/Latin Associate and licentiate tutor.
Charles Richman FISTD, Ballroom/Latin/Salsa/Disco freestyle/Linedance Associate and licentiate tutor.
Katie Welch FDI LISTD Disco Freestyle Associate and licentiate Disco tutor.

Guest Tutors- Licentiate and Fellowship coaching.
Miss Vivienne Saxton MA Dip RBS (TTC) ARAD (Adv) & Examiner FISTD Chairman of the Imperial Ballet Faculty

Teacher Training Alumni

Collette Fraser- Glenn Stavers- Joanne Wix- Katie Welch- Natalie Lane- Sarah Iddiols- Jessica Smart- Sally Haley- Amy Pedder- Melissa Hussey- Georgia Hussey- Katherine Thacker- Kristina Thacker- Fern Reilly- Erin Lucid- Rosie Urwin- Julie Young- Emma Wilson- Katie Ventress- Caroline Doolin- Rebecca Fowler- Amanda WallsgraveJoanne Haynes- Clare Fenton- Sarah Christie- Katherine Hill- Melanie Kay- Emily Cardno- Rebecca Hood- Emma Felton- Charlotte Higgs- Stephanie Holden- Chloe Drew- Janine Koznick- Finoulla Power- Gemma Grant- Kerry Stone- Nicole Carman- Kella Panyai- Katie Robinson- Despina Kefaldi- Carla Gentry- Carly Spendlove- Aimee Singer- Rebecca Christer- Cerissa Frostick- Kelly May- Rebecca Goodey- Victoria Bishop- Laurelle Gallimore- Abigail Everette- Abi Leonard- Aniko Solti- Holly Magill- Kerry Stone- Joanne Asher- Jade Egan- Jo D'uninville. Paula Cabral- Morwenna Sturley-

Please call 01708 783576 to discuss further.
Call further information on Licentiate and fellowship training.


A timetable can be viewed here



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