Dance scheme launched in Tadcaster

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A primary school in Tadcaster was one of two Ebor academies chosen to pilot an innovative way of boosting literacy outcomes through dance.

Year 4 children at Tadcaster Primary Academy worked alongside their class teacher Mr Parkinson and dance professionals Hannah and Drew Wintie-Hawkins of York Dance Space to express ideas through movement and then used the experience in their descriptive writing.

The project was covered intensively over five afternoon sessions in Tadcaster. An Ebor school in Hull, Alderman Cogan’s Church of England Primary Academy, spread out their project over five weeks. Both schools finished their programmes this week.

Called Developing Choreographers of Learning: Improving Literacy Through Dance, the project was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as part of their teacher development programme. The foundation encourages closer working between education and the arts.

Last year Ebor Academy Trust bid for full funding but was not successful because links with dance organisations had not been tested – but the foundation liked the idea.

“The foundation then gave us a discretionary grant to pilot the scheme, which will put us in a better position when we apply next time,” said Tim Moat, director of communications and development for Ebor.

“Dance is an art form relegated to two sentences in the Primary National Curriculum but we sought to use dance to explode stereotypes and engage pupil and teacher in a co-learning adventure.

“Our project supported teachers to find approaches to learning using kinetic and corporeal cognition – body and mind together.”