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Statement re Mrs Natasha Jones

19 February 2013

Statement from the IDTA, ISTD and RAD.

Date: 19th February 2013  

As three of the world’s leading dance education organisations and recognised examinations boards, the International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA), the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) consider every instance of false certification of examinations to be malpractice, and it is therefore taken extremely seriously.

In June 2010, an allegation of fraud was made against Mrs Natasha Jones, the proprietor of “The Ballet Academy” dance school at Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire (no longer trading). The fraud encompassed money being taken from customers on the basis that they were paying for dance examinations. No such examinations took place and fraudulent certificates were issued by Mrs Jones indicating that children had passed their examinations.    

During the investigation, the police identified a total of four counts of fraud using a false instrument and two counts of theft. A protracted series of court appearances ensued with Mrs Jones eventually entering ‘guilty’ on the trial date, 14th January 2013. Mrs Jones’ actions caused a great deal of distress and anxiety to the children concerned, as well as their parents, who have endured various stalls in the criminal justice process.  

PC Nicol from Chorley police said: “The result has been a massive relief to all concerned.  I cannot praise the parents enough; they have displayed an excellent level of patience, determination and support for their children. I would also like to thank Dr Andrew McBirnie of the Royal Academy of Dance, Cynthia Pease of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and Liz Murphy of the International Dance Teachers Association, for their patience and continued support throughout this case.”

The IDTA, ISTD and RAD have all worked closely with the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and Lancashire Police to help bring this case to its conclusion.

Mrs Jones has not been allowed to enter candidates for RAD examinations since June 2010 and has not been a member of the RAD since January 2011. She is not a member of the IDTA or the ISTD.

As leading awarding bodies whose qualifications are subject to statutory regulation in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and (in the case of the RAD) Scotland, the IDTA, ISTD and RAD take the falsifying of certificates extremely seriously.

We would like to reassure members of the three organisations that we remain committed to safeguarding the standards and reputation of our examinations and teaching, and to protecting our teachers and their students from the consequences of such criminal behaviour. We would like to reassure members that appropriate action will be taken in all cases where there is suspected fraud and malpractice.

ENDS

Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD)

The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) is one of the leading dance examinations boards in the world. Formed in 1904, today it is a registered educational charity and covers the full spectrum of dance examinations on a truly global scale. ISTD dance teachers are highly experienced in teaching children and adults in a variety of dance styles ranging from Ballet to Ballroom, Modern to Tap, and South Asian Dance to Latin American Dance. 250,000 of their examinations in a variety of dance forms are taken each year. With over 7,500 members in more than 50 countries, the ISTD provides a range of syllabi, courses and events across the globe.

International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA)

The International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA) is one of the world’s largest examination boards, covering the full spectrum of dance examinations on a global scale, with over 7,000 members in 55 countries. The objectives of the Association are to promote knowledge and foster the art of dance in all its forms, to consult, to maintain and improve teaching standards, to offer a comprehensive range of professional qualifications in all dance genres, and to provide and maintain syllabi and technique in all dance genres to train dance for the profession.

Royal Academy of Dance (RAD)

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the world’s most influential ballet education training and assessment organisations. The RAD promotes knowledge, understanding and practice of dance internationally, and seeks to accomplish this through promoting dance, educating and training students and providing examinations to set standards and reward achievement. Their exams are designed to motivate and encourage students of all ages and levels of ability through a systematic measurement of progress and attainment. Last year, over 230,000 young people entered RAD examinations worldwide.

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