Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Society is an educational charity whose mission is to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms.

Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy


The Society is an educational charity whose mission is to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms.  Like all dance teachers, we have seen first-hand the transformational power of dance – its ability to unlock a child’s creative, expressive potential; to provide opportunities for embodied learning and to transcend social and cultural divides. At the Society we all share a passion for teaching dance, yet we must acknowledge that our organisation is neither representatively diverse nor inclusive. Without providing sustained opportunity to access dance classes for all, we can’t achieve our charitable purpose, so we are fully committed to promoting and achieving Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) across all levels of the Society.

We aim to have an inclusive organisational culture, that values merit, openness, fairness and transparency. We want everyone we have contact with, both offline and online, to feel valued and respected and our activities and general ways of working to demonstrate our stated commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  We value the different perspectives and experiences that others can bring to us.

Mainstreaming EDI is our goal - we will work energetically toward this vision through embedding diversity and inclusion into our behaviours and all that we do. We will highlight the importance of equity for all individuals and partner organisations and promote its positive contribution. We will draw on the rich variety of our dance genres and harness the diverse contributions and considerable talents of our staff, members and partners to achieve our vision in line with our organisational values and EDI principles.


We adopt the practice recommended by the Charity Governance Code

1. Assess

2. Plan

3. Act

4. Report


Assessing and understanding of systems and culture

This assessment is led by our Trustees who set the tone and direction of our EDI Policy. The assessment starts from the rationale (summarised below) motivating EDI.  The process is supported by EDI Think Tanks established to:

  • Build knowledge and expertise amongst Staff, Faculty Committees and Members.
  • Provide forums for consultation and opportunities to feed diverse perspectives in the strategic planning process.
  • Identify future EDI training needs to inform programming and staff / Examiner training.
  • Suggest opportunities to raise awareness and share lived experience / good practice of EDI with Members and the broader dance community.
  • Recommend EDI role models (e.g.: potential lecturers / future Examiners).
  • Identify systemic barriers to EDI (including use of language and images; role models; dance clothing, shoes and hair styles; cultural references in syllabi; economic disparity; micro/macro/meso aggression, conscious/unconscious bias and othering and access to opportunity) and recommend strategies for overcoming these.

Three areas of particular focus for these think tanks are:

  • racial diversity
  • LGBTQI+ and gender
  • and disability inclusion.  

Each think tank will include representatives from Staff, Faculty Committees, Members, Trustees and external stakeholders.

We will support our members to assess their own EDI situations, and to monitor improvements.


Setting context-specific and realistic plans and targets

The work of the think tanks will enable plans and targets covering:

  • Training for staff, examiners and members
  • Benchmarking against relevant organisations
  • Removing systemic barriers to access the Society
  • Decolonising our curriculum


Taking action and monitoring performance

Action and monitoring will cover all groups:

  1. Members of the Society
  2. Members of the public who benefit from its services, to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms.
  3. Staff
  4. Examiners
  5. Trustees
  6. Volunteers

We require members to adhere to this policy and will provide training to enable awareness of EDI issues and equip them to take appropriate action. Members should commit to undertaking this, or equivalent, training and to also provide such training for their staff. We encourage members to monitor the diversity of participants in their activities and to share aggregate anonymous data with us so that we can monitor and report on progress.


We encourage anyone who has a suggestion or concern related to this policy to contact us by email at governance@istd.org.

We will include in our annual Report and Accounts a summary of the actions we have taken and their impact.  We will also report plans that we have yet to implement.

Actions already taking place or being planned across all these areas are summarised in Appendix 1.


Our approach to EDI is motivated by a Moral Case, a Business Case and a Legal Case.

Moral case

It is important to value all people equally and to be impartial and respectful, and we are committed to do so.  Our charitable mission is to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms.  All people can benefit, in different ways, from dance and by ensuring EDI across the Society we will make a positive contribution to diversifying the talent pipeline to the dance industry.

Business Case

Many studies demonstrate that activities are enhanced by a broad diversity of participants, whether the activity is innovation, decision-making, performing or employment.

Appendix 1


1.  Membership

All members are required to subscribe to the Society’s Code of Conduct (Code of Professional Standards and Practice) which requires Members to Act with objectivity, courtesy and consideration to encourage ready collaboration and co-operation from professional colleagues and students and work to maintain the trust and confidence of both.

We are working towards flexible learning pathways that support diverse needs.  Our development of online delivery again widens participation.

Our Affiliate Membership enables teachers who do not hold our examinations to join the Society and thereby benefit from our support and guidance.

Our member renewal process will monitor the diversity of our membership over time.


2.  Public Benefit

Financial Support

The Society’s bursary funding aims to remove economic barriers to dance teacher training, so that access to the Society is as broad as possible.

Our new Challenge Fund enables exam candidates from financially disadvantaged families to enter exams at no fee.

Exam candidates

We encourage Applications for Reasonable Adjustments.

Our examiners undertake compulsory annual EDI training (most recently unconscious bias).


3.  Staff

Policies and procedures cover Equal Opportunities, Flexible Working, Parental Leave, Harassment and Bullying, and Diversity in employment and avoid unlawful discrimination.  

The Society uses an independent job evaluation system (provided by external experts Reward Connected) which adopts an approach to “equal pay for work of equal value” that is acceptable to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Staff training covers topics such as inclusive language. 


4.   Trustees - Council

The Society’s Chief Executive and Chair have adopted the Eight Principles to Address the Diversity Deficit in Charity Leadership:

The Trustees:

  • Monitor the diversity of the Council and aim to widen this to reflect the universal reach of dance.  Council will set permanent and minimum targets for diversity that reflect the participants, donors, beneficiaries and the population of the areas in which the Society operates.  
  • Seek a meeting environment in which inclusive behaviour is the norm, all voices are equal and trustees can constructively challenge each other
  • Undertake EDI training 

5.  Volunteers

We encourage diversity among our volunteers at events and ensure that they are appropriately selected and supported.