Primary school partnerships

Large group of young, Primary Steps students in a circle, each with a hand in the centre, being watched by their teacher.

The Royal Ballet School is committed to broadening access to the study of classical ballet and creative dance, as part of a child’s wider academic education.

The Primary Steps programme and our Insight events introduce primary school children to classical ballet, as well as nurturing young talent through regular dance classes.

The Primary Steps programme

The Primary Steps programme is a national junior school programme which provides Year 3-6 (7-11 years) class groups with a positive introduction to ballet and initial creative ballet training for selected children who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Primary Steps is funded by the Department for Education and other generous supporters, providing access to creative ballet education for thousands of children, targeting areas of social, economic and cultural diversity.

Two Primary Steps students looking at each other and smiling, each holding the other's shoulder
Four Primary Steps students stood in a line holding the shoulder of the student in front of them.

Primary Steps works through national partnerships to broaden access to and encourage engagement in ballet. In each area we work with a national dance agency, a host secondary school and a cluster of primary and junior schools. The weekly classes are co-led by a classical ballet specialist and a creative dance specialist who work together to develop pupils’ creative knowledge and skills through foundation ballet technique. All workshops and classes are accompanied by a professional musician.

The Primary Steps programme focuses around a cluster of between five and seven primary schools in each area and has two parts:

In the Autumn term, Year 3 teachers from 28 participating schools attend a CPD day at The Royal Ballet School and their pupils receive five creative ballet workshops led by specialist teachers.

Each school then receives:

  • Five creative ballet workshops for all Year 3 pupils
  • CPD and resource materials to support dance classes with the pupils
  • An interactive demonstration of ballet training by Royal Ballet School students. Performed locally by Upper School students aged 16+ and Junior Associate students aged 10 -11 years.

Our Autumn workshops can contribute to Arts Award Discover through pupils’ participation and documentation of their learning.

To find out more, visit ArtsAward.org.uk.

Selected Year 3 pupils from participating schools attend regular creative ballet classes at their host secondary school, up to the age of 11. For a nominal weekly fee, pupils receive:

  • Weekly creative classes led by Royal Ballet School teachers, accompanied by a musician
  • Dance uniform and shoes
  • Opportunities to see Royal Ballet School students in training and professional dancers performing
  • Visits to local and regional dance providers and opportunities to perform locally and at The Royal Ballet School

Primary Steps after-school dance classes are an ideal vehicle for Arts Award Explore. Children participate, create and present their work and find out about The Royal Ballet School and other arts organisations. To find out more, visit ArtsAward.org.uk.

We work hard to signpost graduating Primary Steps pupils to further dance opportunities, including vocational and pre-vocational dance training, both locally and nationally.

Primary Steps graduates are currently studying pre-vocationally at Centres for Advanced Training at The Lowry, Swindon Dance, The Place, Dance4 and DanceEast, and vocationally at Elmhurst Ballet School and Moorland International Ballet Academy.

More information

In addition to weekly classes, the programme:

  • Supports the teaching of dance in participating schools, using the expertise and unique resources of The Royal Ballet School
  • Makes the case for creative dance as a vital educational tool for curriculum enrichment and for learning through movement, resulting in enhanced health, well being, social and academic skills
  • Educating and informing schools and families through involvement in their children’s learning
  • Provides opportunities for participants to experience dance creation and performance
  • Connects participants and their families to local dance infrastructure and opportunities

Congratulations to Theodore and Tadiwa who have successfully auditioned for The Royal Ballet School’s Mid Associates programme, they will begin in September 2020.

Congratulations to Praise and Shanai who have successfully auditioned and been accepted to join the Centre for Advanced Training Programme at The Place.

Access links to useful dance organisations and resources suitable for use in the classroom on our resources page.