Legal Requirements for Inclusive Dance Practice
What dance teachers and studio owners need to know about the law on inclusiness and how these requirements might impact on their dance practice and business.
Equality Act 2010 (UK)
Equality Act 2010 (UK)
Under the Equality Act 2010 people are classed as disabled if they 'have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities'.
Moreover, disability is part of a group of so called ‘protected characteristics’, which means it is against the law to discriminate anyone because of their disability. Consequently, disabled people are protected from discrimination:
- At work
- In education
- As a consumer
- When using public services
- When buying or renting property
- As a member or guest of a private club or association.
In other words, the law places a duty on employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities so that they can overcome barriers they may face in gaining and remaining in employment as well as in accessing and using goods and services.
For dance schools and/or teachers it means that they need to be aware of the legal requirements and clear about what they should and could do to protect disabled people when providing their services such as providing studio space, running dance schools, teaching dance classes or also organising dance events.
Find out more about
- Disability rights and duties on the Government website,
- Reasonable adjustments and safeguarding (below), and
- Our tips for creating an accessible dance space.
What are reasonable adjustments?
The legal duty of employers and service providers to ensure that disabled people get access and receive the same services as non-disabled people (as far as reasonably possible) is referred to as making reasonable adjustments.
We found the most practicable advice on what may be considered reasonable and under what circumstances on the Citizens Advice website.
Please also refer to
- the ISTD’s Equality and Diversity Policy,
- process and information to Apply for Reasonable Adjustments (ARA) (for examinations), and
- further guidance on how to create an inclusive dance space.
Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults (under age of 24 years) protection
The UK Government defines the term ‘safeguarding children’ as:
‘The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.’
Child protection at the ISTD
At the ISTD we take the safeguarding and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults very seriously.
That’s why ‘Having a Child Protection Policy’ is one of the key criteria in our Professional Standards Scheme, which has been developed to encourage professional excellence and high quality standards in teaching dance, or also providing dance space.
Find out more about the scheme, which provides lots of guidance on how to write and implement a Child Protection Policy, including a policy template for use by dance schools.
Further consideration for safeguarding disabled children and young people
‘It is recognised that children and young people who have disabilities are at an increased risk of being abused compared with their non-disabled peers.’ (Jones et al, 2012)
For example the implications on changing, toileting and ensuring general respect is upheld for disabled children and young people participating in dance classes are all needs that should be discussed – and plans agreed for each individual – by dance teachers and/or studio owners with parents, carers and support staff alike.
Further useful information on safeguarding children and young people, including risks they face and how teachers and parents can address these, can be found on The Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children’s (NSPCC) website.