Nurturing exceptional dance teachers: the royal ballet school’s affiliate training and assessment programme


The Royal Ballet School offers high-quality teacher training to dance teachers everywhere through its Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme (ATAP). The programme encourages teachers to develop their professional and creative skills by creating unique teaching content and conducting assessments themselves.

In addition, ongoing support from The Royal Ballet School empowers teachers to maintain high standards in their teaching practices. Affiliate Teachers of the School receive continuous professional development (CPD) training to constantly refine their skills and methods.

This is how The Royal Ballet School nurtures exceptional dance teachers through the ATAP.

An Introduction to the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme

Who Is the Affiliate Programme For?

The programme is for ballet teachers with a minimum of three years’ experience who want to deliver courses for students aged 5-18 in their own schools. Graduates of The Royal Ballet School’s teacher training programmes are also eligible to take part in the Affiliate Programme.

In particular, the programme suits teachers who:

  • Value versatility, diversity, and innovation in dance.
  • Appreciate the need for highly trained teachers with pedagogy-based training.
  • Prioritise the need for holistic dance training.

What Is the Structure of the Affiliate Programme?

The programme comprises six training levels: three (1-3) for primary school-age students and three (4-6) for secondary school-age students.

There are two routes available within Levels 4-6:

  1. A route for students who wish to study ballet as a recreational activity.
  2. A pre-vocational enhancement route for students considering a dance career.

What Is the Content of the Affiliate Programme?

The Royal Ballet School has rooted the programme’s content in its Model for Optimal Dance Training. Each level contains movement and contextual studies to ensure a holistic approach to learning.

Movement studies include:

  • Foundation, generic, and qualitative movement skills.
  • Ballet technique.
  • Ballet vocabulary.

Contextual studies include:

  • Repertoire study.
  • Creative tasks.
  • Art form appreciation.

What Makes the Affiliate Programme Unique?

Aside from its holistic approach, the Affiliate Programme is unique in that it offers a model of examination study that focuses on providing high-quality training to students. This approach stands in contrast to the exam-focused model that most recreational dance organisations offer.

Affiliate Teachers receive a System of Training that outlines the ballet vocabulary and associated activities that they should teach at each level, along with relevant pedagogy.

As a result, the programme empowers Affiliate Teachers to take an autonomous approach to teaching. Teachers have the responsibility of guiding and assessing their students’ learning, rather than wholly relying on an external examining body.

How Does The Royal Ballet School Help Teachers Assess Students?

Teachers assess their students against criteria set by The Royal Ballet School. Affiliate Teachers conduct and record assessments within the students’ dance school. Teachers then submit these videos through a secure platform to The Royal Ballet School for moderation.

The School also gives teachers guidance with ongoing monitoring and moderation of their students’ assessment results.

What Is the Benefit of the Affiliate Programme’s Approach?

As the programme allows for a flexible delivery structure, teachers can create unique progressive learning pathways for students.

On top of this, empowering teachers to guide and assess student learning enables students to develop their ballet knowledge and ability beyond what a set syllabus might allow.

What Is the Affiliate Teacher Application and Assessment Process?

The Royal Ballet School splits course participants into two groups: Group A starts their training course in the summer, and Group B starts in the autumn. The two groups may also train at separate locations in London.

Successful Affiliate Programme candidates take part in initial mandatory training for Levels 1-3. This training involves:

  • An introductory webinar.
  • Five days of onsite training.
  • One day of preparation for evaluation.
  • Video teacher evaluation.

After this, qualified Affiliate Teachers can access additional online training for Levels 1-3 and 4-6 while they deliver the programme within their school.

Teachers who do not qualify must take further training before they can repeat the assessment process.

How Do Teachers Maintain Their Affiliate Status?

Teachers must submit their students for assessment at least once every two years to keep their Affiliate status. The Royal Ballet School moderates these assessments to ensure consistency across Affiliate Teachers.

Moderation also enables Affiliate Teachers to enhance their understanding of performance criteria and observation skills.

Any teacher the School judges as successfully delivering the programme will maintain their Affiliate status. Individuals who don’t attain the required standard have the option to take part in further training and repeat the provisional period.

In addition to submitting assessments for moderation, each year, teachers must do the following to maintain their Affiliate status:

  • Pay the membership fee.
  • Submit safeguarding policies, a current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, and relevant insurance and legal certificates.
  • Attend three days of Royal Ballet School CPD training.

What Does the CPD Training for Affiliate Teachers Involve?

CPD training is essential for teachers to maintain their Affiliate status. This training ensures teachers develop their pedagogical and theoretical expertise and practical skills.

The Royal Ballet School’s Inspire seminars offer teachers valuable learning opportunities. All seminars include theoretical and practical study, class discussion, and reflection.

One-hour Enlighten webinars, where dance teachers can refresh their teaching skills and add to their CPD portfolios, are also available through the School.

What Extra Resources Are Available to Affiliate Teachers?

In addition to three annual CPD sessions with The Royal Ballet School, Affiliate Teachers gain access to the School’s video-on-demand materials.

Teachers also receive resources to help them implement the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme in their schools. These resources include a marketing toolkit that contains:

  • Brand guidelines and advice on how to uphold The Royal Ballet School’s brand and its values.
  • Guidance on best practices.
  • Digital assets, such as Eflyers/flyers for printing, social media post examples and templates, and letterheads.
  • Advice for recognising and capturing quality video and photo content for promotional purposes.

The Royal Ballet School has designed these marketing tools to help teachers communicate the structure and goals of the Affiliate Programme to students and their families. The resources also help families understand what an Affiliate Teacher — and their association with The Royal Ballet School — means for their child’s dance learning.

Part of the Affiliate Programme training includes a session with the School’s marketing team. The team shows teachers how to create marketing materials and use digital media.

Raising The Standard of Excellence in Dance Teacher Training

One major benefit of the Affiliate Programme is that participants enjoy greater career satisfaction due to the increased levels of autonomy in their teaching. As a result, their students also flourish in their ballet learning.

One Affiliate Teacher says: “Teaching using the ATAP philosophy has honestly transformed the way I teach. It has given me new creative ideas, more confidence and more than anything else the dancers love the structure of the classes… It really works!”

The Royal Ballet School hopes the programme will help raise the standard of excellence in classical ballet training worldwide.

Discover more about the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme.

About The Royal Ballet School

Established in 1926, The Royal Ballet School remains at the forefront of dance learning and teaching. The School’s commitment to excellence ensures exceptional standards in its students’ training and in its artistic staff and associated dance teachers’ training.

Besides its full-time ballet and academic course in London, the School offers programmes that extend training to young dancers and recreational dance teachers everywhere. The School continuously works to provide as many people as possible with opportunities to access its dance training expertise and resources.


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