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Central School of Ballet

Working with Schools

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Widening Access

The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama aims to make elite performing arts training accessible to people regardless of background.

The Conservatoire has an approved Access and Participation agreement with the Office for Students. This plan seeks to identify areas of under-representation and set out a strategy for addressing these so that our institution becomes more accessible and equitable.

The Conservatoire’s unique position as a partnership of schools creates both challenges and opportunities in widening access due to the small selective nature of the schools. Our locations at the heart of three vibrant cultural centres in London, Bristol and Leeds also offer a unique position to widen access across a broader area than would be possible with a single geographic location.

As a collective, we have a shared responsibility to widen access and success under our Access and Participation Plan. However each school specialises in different disciplines with different pre-requisite training needs and therefore different access challenges. Individual school plans, addressing specific school challenges and successes are presented and scrutinised each year by the Conservatoire Widening Access and Diversity Committee.

You can view or download the Conservatoire’s Access and Participation Plan for 2020-2025 via the link below.

Access and Participation Plan 2020-25

Outreach and community interaction are an integral part of the Conservatoire’s mission to widen access. The Conservatoire schools offer a range of activities outside of their degree provisions, from leisure classes for adults and children to one-off workshops, short courses and summer schools in a particular discipline:

Centre for Advanced Training (CAT)Expand Question

Funded by the Department for Education Music and Dance Scheme, CATs exist to help identify, and assist, children with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class specialist training as part of a broad and balanced education. This will enable them, if they choose to proceed towards self-sustaining careers in music and dance. For more information on the scheme and its national profile please go to


London Contemporary Dance School runs a Centre for Advanced Training based at The Place. The programme is open to all children between 10-16 years regardless of previous dance training. Take a look at the website here.


Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is part of a national intensive dance programme for 13-17 year olds who display exceptional potential and passion for dance.

The scheme is devised to prepare young dancers for full-time dance training at university or conservatoire level. At NSCD we include five key areas:

  • Contemporary and Ballet Techniques
  • Creative dance and choreography
  • Performance
  • Dancers’ health and wellbeing
  • Cultural activities such as theatre trips

The curriculum is intended to give students a strong basic grounding in technical and creative skills, as well as an introduction to the wider dance profession. Students attend a minimum of eight hours a week outside of school. Take a look at the website here.


London Youth Circus, based at the National Centre for Circus Arts, is being run in conjunction with the CAT programme at The Place. It aims to provide pre-vocational training of the highest standard to 10-18 year olds, enabling young Circus Artists to access institutions for professional circus training. CAT scheme applications are open to current London Youth Circus students and students from other youth circuses in the UK. Take a look at the website here.

Short courses and summer schoolsExpand Question

Short courses and summer schools take place over a concentrated period of time and provide an experience of the intensive training which characterises conservatoire-level training.

The Conservatoire schools offer the following courses:


Circus Arts

National Centre for Circus Arts

  • Youth Circus Summer Schools offer young people the chance to spend a week at the National Centre learning a range of circus skills, for age groups 8 – 11 and 12 – 18
  • Advanced Summer School is available for 11 – 18 years old who have been learning circus for more than two years.


Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

  • 1-week courses in Contemporary Drama, Acting in Shakespeare, Singing, and Acting for Camera, for age 17 and above
  • 10-week Summer Foundation Course for age 18 and above


Central School of Ballet

  • 1 and 2-week Spring and Summer Courses for ages 12 – 16
  • 1 and 2-week BOYS ONLY Summer Courses for ages 12 – 16

The Place (London Contemporary Dance School)

  • A range of Summer Dance Courses for young people from ages 18 months – 15 years, including: First Steps (18 months – 3 years), Contemporary Explorers (5 – 7 years), Creative Contemporary (8 – 10 years), and Boys Club (6 – 10 years)

Northern School of Contemporary Dance

  • 1-week Summer School for young dancers aged 12-18 years and adults aged 18+ (advanced level, including dance students and graduates)

Rambert School

  • Junior Summer Course for age 11 – 14 years
  • Senior Summer Course for age 15 – 19 years
Weekly classes and youth companiesExpand Question

Many of the schools offer weekly classes for children, young people and adults, often subsidised to encourage participation in the particular art form. They engage the wider community in dance, acting, circus skills and technical theatre. These classes offer students an opportunity to develop and progress to short courses, summer schools, other training programmes, and, ultimately, vocational training.

Youth companies prepare young people to perform or create work, often specifically commissioned or adapted.

Circus Arts

National Centre for Circus Arts

  • National Centre offers a range of weekly classes in circus skills for all ages, from 2 years 9 months to 18 years, through Family Circus, Junior Circus, Youth Circus Too and Junior Circus Too
  • London Youth Circus is for young people aged 11-21 years who are interested in entering the circus arts as a profession. It offers courses at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, including supporting classes in movement, core stability and performance. Acceptance is by audition. The advanced class performs annually.
  • Adult evening courses are available in aerial, acrobatic and equilibristic disciplines.
  • Acro 6 is a high intensity interval training programme over lunchtime sessions.


Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

  • ACTiv8 is the youth theatre group of the school for ages 7 and above. Weekly classes consist of improvised scenes, ensemble work, theatrical techniques and skills-based warm up games.


Central School of Ballet

  • Central’s Junior School offers weekly classes for children ages 3 to 16 for all abilities.

The Place (London Contemporary Dance School)

  • The Place provides a range of dance activities for young people including Saturday classes (5-15 yrs) and midweek teen contemporary classes
  • The Place runs two dance companies for young people which meet weekly: Shuffle, the junior dance company for 9-14 years, and Shift, the senior youth dance company for aged 14-19 years.

Northern School of Contemporary Dance

  • For children and young people NSCD offers a Saturday programme for 5 – 12 years and mid-week youth dance classes including our NSCD Youth Dance Company.
  • For adults NSCD offers weekday classes including Contemporary Technique, Performance Group, Zumba and a Creative Dance Class for adults with Learning Difficulties.

Rambert School

  • Rambert offers Saturday contemporary classes for children and young people from ages 2 ½ to 15
  • Pre-Vocational Course offers ballet and contemporary technique and performance opportunities for students aged 15 and over who are preparing to apply for vocational training
  • Weekly open classes in ballet and contemporary (beginners/improvers) are available for adults.
Student performance toursExpand Question

A number of Conservatoire schools have dedicated performance companies which tour nationally and internationally, with students delivering workshops in schools as part of the programme.

Ballet Central is the third year performance company of Central School of Ballet.

LC3 is the third year performance company of London Contemporary Dance School.

EDge is the postgraduate performance company of London Contemporary Dance School.

VERVE is the postgraduate performance company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

In addition, almost all other schools tour either nationally or locally and offer specific student performances to primary and secondary schools and beyond.

Working with schoolsExpand Question

The Conservatoire schools work with local schools and offer specific student performances to primary and secondary schools and beyond. For some young people, watching a Conservatoire school performance may be their first experience of theatre, dance or circus.

Circus Arts

National Centre for Circus Arts have developed a number of ways for school groups to access the circus arts, for example through educational visits and workshops. A limited number of free workshops are available to secondary schools in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets to engage their students in circus.


Bristol Old Vic Theatre School tour a production specially adapted for young people to local primary schools, with free performances for inner city schools. Senior staff members offer careers talks for secondary schools and colleges.


Central School of Ballet works in partnership with London primary schools to deliver a yearly series of workshops for school children. Secondary school involvement provides the opportunity for Central to get involved with the community through yearly partnerships with London schools.

The Place (LCDS) offers tailor-made dance and cross-curricular projects for primary schools that can introduce lesson or topic material, or revise, extend and enhance it in exciting ways. Primary schools in Camden can access activities at a reduced price by becoming a partner school. London Contemporary Dance School offers workshops or performances for secondary schools through third year performance company LC3.

Northern School of Contemporary Dance offers annual workshop and performance packages to Leeds based primary schools. Free ‘Spotted’ workshops are offered to schools and colleges across Yorkshire between October and March for students aged 13 – 17 years to spot talent for the Centre for Advanced Training. Postgraduate performance company VERVE also offer workshops to secondary schools and colleges when they are on tour.

Rambert School invites classes from local schools and colleges to attend a dress rehearsal in the School’s Studio Theatre, and offers workshops delivered by students to schools and colleges.

The school also partners with local secondary schools through the Aspire Project, which sees GCSE dance students working with Rambert School students for one term to create a piece of choreography that is performed at Rambert School.

Access and Participation Plans and Fee Summaries Expand Question

Access and participation plans set out how higher education providers will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education.

In order to charge higher level tuition fees, their plans must be approved by the Director for Fair Access and Participation.

You can view or download the Conservatoire’s 2020-25 and 2019-20 Access and Participation Plans and our most recent Fee Summary  below.

Access and Participation Plans:

Access and Participation Plan 2020-25

Access and Participation Plan 2019-20

Access and Participation Plans Impact Reports:

Access and Participation Plan 2019-2020 Impact Report

Fee Summaries:



Access AgreementsExpand Question

Until 2019, any higher education institution that wanted to charge higher tuition fees for home/EU undergraduates needed an access agreement approved by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).

You can view or download the Conservatoire’s Access Agreements for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 via the links below.

Access Agreement 2018-19

Access Agreement 2017-18

Access Agreement 2016-17

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