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The New Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education

The New Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education

28 March 2018

Louise Molton’s guide to the new qualification

We are pleased to announce that the ISTD Council has approved a new Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) for the Theatre genres for full delivery in the UK and EU from 1st September 2018. This initial teaching qualification will replace the current DDI and DDE route. The qualification will eventually be available worldwide, replacing the current Theatre Associates and Associate Diploma.

The Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education is an achievable and streamlined teaching qualification that provides student teachers with a clear pathway to becoming an ISTD qualified teacher. The qualification provides an excellent introduction to a career in teaching dance. The contextual nature of assessment will also ensure that student teachers are able to focus on developing practical skills and knowledge that meets the requirements to enter the teaching profession and develop a sustainable career.

The qualification consists of 5 units (120 credits):

  • Unit 1: Preparing for Safe Teaching (15 credits at Level 3)
  • Unit 2: Observing, Assisting and Teaching Practice (30 credits at Level 4)
  • Unit 3: Vocational Graded Examination in Dance: Intermediate (28 credits at Level 3)
  • Unit 4: Dance Practice (30 credits at Level 4)
  • Unit 5: Social, Emotional and Cognitive Development (17 credits at Level 4)

Whilst these can be taken individually, they all link to one other to ensure a depth of knowledge that means the student teacher is thoroughly prepared for the studio and the start of their teaching journey.

The qualification can be achieved over two year’s part time or as part of full time vocational training, but is dependent on individual experience. Student teachers who have significant prior teaching experience may be able to apply for an exemption for some areas of the qualification or perhaps a unit itself. The full qualification is at Level 4 and provides a clear progression pathway either to Licentiate or the Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy.

In terms of support, tutor and student handbooks are currently being produced that will detail the units, delivery and assessment process. We are also developing an online management system that will enable materials and resources to be readily available for Approved Dance Centres, tutors and student teachers to access as and when they need.

The online learner management system known as ‘Totara’ will support the student teacher journey. Each Approved Dance Centre will have their own online area showing their live courses and student cohorts. The Approved Dance Centres will enrol their students onto the courses via the ISTD, enabling the students to have their own web pages where they can upload their work and track their progress. Approved Tutors will be enrolled by the Approved Dance Centre and linked to their students so that again they can see the units they teach and the students enrolled within those units.

Since April 2017 the ISTD has successfully used ‘Moodle’ to deliver the Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy and has also been used as a training tool for tutor courses. ‘Totara’ sits within the Moodle family. Most, if not all schools and colleges are using a Virtual Learning System of some kind to support learning in and outside the classroom. Diploma in Dance Education student teachers should find this quite intuitive and a useful tool to enrich their learning and assessment experience with use of their own mobile devices. Full training and an introduction to the system will follow in due course.

We would like to thank the panel members who have worked with Education & Training to devise an engaging and inspiring qualification for both the student teacher and the tutor, ensuring rigour, depth and challenge. The Level 4 DDE will mean our initial teaching qualification is current and progressive, encapsulating pedagogy and current teaching requirements to ensure that the ISTD produces and supports some of the best dance teachers of the next generation.

Interested in taking the new DDE?

Contact the Initial Qualifications Co-ordinator Gemma Bridge at gbridge@istd.org

Interested in becoming an Approved Dance Centre or Tutor?

Contact Cynthia Pease at customerservices@istd.org

Your questions answered

How does the new DDE affect me as a student teacher?
If you are a student currently studying DDI you will be able to transfer your current qualifications into the New DDE. You will need to contact your Approved Dance Centre who will work with the ISTD to transfer this across. Following this transformation, you will then continue on the new pathway. If you have almost finished your current DDE qualification you can continue, but will need to fully complete your full qualification by 31st August 2018. Retakes are permissible from September to December 2018 but following this process the DDI and DDE will close for the UK and EU. You will not lose your qualification but will need to ensure that you have carried out this process.

How does the new DDE affect me as an Approved Dance Centre?
The new qualification will continue to be delivered via Approved Dance Centres (ADCs). ADCs and approved tutors will need to undertake a re-approval process in order to deliver the new qualification. Many dance centres have already completed this process but if you wish to continue to deliver the DDE you will need to ensure that you have completed the approval form as requested by Customer Services. If we do not hear from you we will assume that you no longer wish to be an Approved Dance Centre. Please note that re-approval will be provisional until the approved tutors have completed the required training for the new units.

How does the new DDE affect me as an Approved Tutor?
All approved tutors will also be required to attend training in order to prepare for delivering this new qualification to their student teachers. Those tutoring Units 2 and 4 are required to undertake all Tutor Training. Tutors who only tutor Unit 1 and/or 5 will be required to attend training only for the Unit(s) they tutor. These dates are currently published on our website and within this magazine on page 100. You have an option whether to attend the physical training dates or to access these on line using our Moodle platform. Please ensure that you liaise with your Approved Dance Centre in order to ensure that they are seeking re approval before you book your training.


The ISTD is thrilled to announce that the new online tutor training for the DDE (formerly DDI/DDE) has now been launched for approved tutors. Visit www.istd.org/courses-and-training/tutor-training/new-online-tutor-training for more information.

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