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Pas de Quatre

Tring Park School - Director of Dance to retire

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It has just been announced by Tring Park (I saw it on Facebook feed) that Rachel Rist, Director of Dance will be retiring following a year's Sabbatical, starting at the end of this term, i.e she is leaving the school at the end of this term.  Presumably this is quite sudden as I haven't heard of a search for the new Director of Dance.

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1 hour ago, Pas de Quatre said:

It has just been announced by Tring Park (I saw it on Facebook feed) that Rachel Rist, Director of Dance will be retiring following a year's Sabbatical, starting at the end of this term, i.e she is leaving the school at the end of this term.  Presumably this is quite sudden as I haven't heard of a search for the new Director of Dance.

 

Parents of pupils were only informed yesterday.  Big change after being director of dance for 30 years.  

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Announced on Tring Park School’s Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/90757035753/posts/10156063094980754/

 

The text reads:  “After 36 years at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts with 30 years as Director of Dance, Rachel Rist will be retiring following a year's sabbatical which starts at the end of the Spring term.  We all wish Rachel well as she completes her final term at school.”

 

No announcement yet on who will be replacing Miss Rist. 

 

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Sorry but this woman needed to go years ago. The school will thrive with a new director of dance. 

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I wonder whether this will have an effect on the timing of places being offered on the dance courses this year. Do we know who will be deputising in her absence in the interim?

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18 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

I wonder whether this will have an effect on the timing of places being offered on the dance courses this year. Do we know who will be deputising in her absence in the interim?

 

No news on the website at present.  The link to the staff list is currently broken so it may be being updated.

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Perhaps they will be awarded more DaDa’s in the future. Are there any DaDa’s available this year?

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Just now, Picturesinthefirelight said:

I don’t think the allocation has been made yet. It’s usually mid February when schools find out. 

 

Yes, the gov.uk page was updated in March last year. 

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Wow, very surprsing and interesting that she won't stay in the post until the end of the academic year.

 

Are there any potential internal candidates for the role?

Quote

 

Edited by invisiblecircus

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The Deputy Director of Dance, Lorraine Jones is well liked and respected so I wouldn't be surprised to see her become Acting head of Dance, but I imagine they may go for a more well known name in the long term. Or there is Anthony Dowson who currently heads the 3rd year company.

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Miss Jones was lovely as well as a few others. 

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Everyone’s perspective on who is lovely and who is not will be very subjective.  What I want to know is; are they fair and effective, and I will not comment on individuals.  There are plenty of instances where I have been unhappy with certain situations at Tring, sometimes they have been serious enough for me to approach the school other times I have had to let my DC get on with it and come to terms with the reality of the dance world.  The dance world is not PC.  

 

There are plenty of lovely people at Tring, be they academic teachers, vocational teachers, pastoral care staff, house staff.  There are also people who are not lovely, people who have bad days and difficult personal circumstances, people who make mistakes.  I would say that is a fair reflection of everyday life in most group environments. 

 

Some students at Tring will have had a tough time.  Sometimes because they have a personality clash with another person, be that student or staff member. Some will be told things they do not want to hear, or be excluded from certain opportunities for a variety of reasons.  This happens in EVERY vocational school. 

 

I personally wish Miss Rist a happy retirement and good health.  I am sure the vocational staff already in place will do a fine job of plugging the gaps (as they have since Terry Wright left). The senior vocational staff situation has been in flux for the last 2/3 years and I hope they can appoint the right person to move the school forward.  

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Harwel, I agree with you on many points, including the fact that the dance world is not fair.  Nobody gets on with 100% of people they encounter and no school is perfect.  Building resilience in young people is vital but within reason.  

 

We should also remember not to minimise other people’s experiences.  Not every school fails safeguarding and welfare inspections.  Not every school’s complaints process and leadership are found to be inadequate.  These are fairly serious failings and we don’t know how long the issues continued for and how many (or how badly) students or teachers were affected.  

 

What is positive is how swiftly the school has taken steps to rectify these failures since the report was issued.  That is encouraging and as you say, there are some really excellent and lovely teachers at Tring.   I hope a new Director of Dance is appointed soon.

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Some students will have had a tough time because they were emotionally bullied Harwel, by a senior member of staff, other staff knew about it and were upset, but nothing was ever done. Children should never ever have to deal with that, that is not the dance world, I know this because, my daughter left to go to Central and is now in the professional world of dance, she has never been bullied like she was previously. I say this because parents need to know the difference of a disappointing day, to one where your child is being emotionally bullied, in any school. I am so glad that Ofsted have finally identified areas of failings at the school, and that FINALLY the school is working to put things right. 

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The world in general and within it, the dance world can be tough, and I doubt if there are any serious Vocational students who do not realise that.   But what has finally been recognised here is that there was ongoing emotional abuse of pupils.  In today's world such misuse of position/authority is being investigated across the board, in Parliament, business, film, theatre, dance and many other areas.  It is no longer acceptable for legitimate concerns and complaints to be ignored and swept under the carpet.  

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Schools, nurseries, colleges, nursing homes, children’s homes etc, all must have a robust whistle blowing policy, it is there for a reason, to safeguard children, young adults and staff. Without a robust whistle blowing policy toxic behaviour is allowed to continue without being challenged. I’m glad that Tring is now developing this policy that should have been in place years ago. That is down to the head and governors of the school. 

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I absolutely agree that emotional abuse is completely unacceptable.  My experience of the dance world is not great - on a personal level and through the eyes of my DC.  I personally wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, regardless of the safeguarding issues put in place.  As for Tring, I really don’t know where the failings lay regarding the Ofsted report.  And I don’t think anyone should imply it lays with a certain person or not.  I have heard plenty of questionable things but do not have personal knowledge and am not privy to the exact details. 

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I’m pleased to say that no names have been mentioned in this thread. 

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There may be another positive in all of this -  in that it might go some way in showing students that if they feel bullied or emotionally affected by the actions of others - be it another student, teacher or Houseparent...... that if they have the courage to speak out - that this issue is hopefully now more likely to be addressed properly. It saddens me to hear that young people working hard to follow their dreams to try & pursue a dance career have had to deal with this. 

It should be amongst the best years of their lives with lots of happy memories - unfortunately for some - it must be the exact opposite..... and I wonder how many students have felt like this.

I think all the vocational schools can learn from this and work towards ensuring their students reach their full potential in a nurturing , respectful environment. I like to think this is possible anyway !!

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Very true Ballet4Boyz. Not a teacher I have encountered during my training. Out of interest, where did Miss Rist do her Masters degree?

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I did have a look online but did not find anything. Does anyone know where she trained as a teacher as that might be linked to MA maybe?

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15 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Hammond don't offer an MA and as far as I am aware, never have.

 

Interesting.  I know the Hammond is a very old school but I wasn’t aware of them ever doing an MA course.  

 

I was browsing through the “Unqualified Teachers” thread the other day and although that thread is about part time Dance Schools (as opposed to full time vocational schools) it struck me as unusual that Miss Rist doesn’t list any separate teaching qualifications (such as PDTC/D, Postgraduate teaching diploma etc), nor is she a Licentiate of the ISTD, ARAD and so on.  The latter isn’t unheard of but to have neither listed - is that unusual?  To be fair, I’ve only looked at RBS and Elmhurst’s faculty for direct comparison.  

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I will enquire.  My husband is doing an MA (deferred due to serious illness last year) and he is doing it at a different institution.  It is only recently they have offered a full degree (last year was the first graduating year) and it was a big thing that they were now offering degree level education (but in Musical Theatre not dance).  At an open day last year they said they were hoping in the future to be able to offer a top up degree to the dancers on the Trinity diploma.

 

Of course I know in the past Higher Education was organised very differently to now.

 

14 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

 

 

I was browsing through the “Unqualified Teachers” thread the other day and although that thread is about part time Dance Schools (as opposed to full time vocational schools) it struck me as unusual that Miss Rist doesn’t list any separate teaching qualifications (such as PDTC/D, Postgraduate teaching diploma etc), nor is she a Licentiate of the ISTD, ARAD and so on.  The latter isn’t unheard of but to have neither listed - is that unusual?  To be fair, I’ve only looked at Elmhurst’s faculty for direct comparison.  

 

Out of interest I just looked on Hammond's website and all the qualifications of their dance faculty are listed in the way you describe.

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To my mind, someone who is Director of a programme training dancers to become professionals ought really to have had a professional performing career.  Not necessarily as a famous dancer, but to have personally experienced the professional world.  As we have discussed on other threads, there are some wonderful teachers who did not perform professionally and there are some professional dancers who are not suited to teaching.  However, to be Director of Dance at a Vocational school, good qualifications and experience are necessary.

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13 minutes ago, Pas de Quatre said:

To my mind, someone who is Director of a programme training dancers to become professionals ought really to have had a professional performing career.  Not necessarily as a famous dancer, but to have personally experienced the professional world.  As we have discussed on other threads, there are some wonderful teachers who did not perform professionally and there are some professional dancers who are not suited to teaching.  However, to be Director of Dance at a Vocational school, good qualifications and experience are necessary.

 

For that reason, and because she’s such a wonderful teacher, I would love Desiré Samaai to become Director of Dance. Of course she may not want to apply for the role ☺️ but she’s such a fantastic and gifted qualified teacher with years of performing experience that I think the ballet students at Tring would thrive.  

 

Bit like Fantasy Football, this. Your dream school faculty. ☺️

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2 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

For that reason, and because she’s such a wonderful teacher, I would love Desiré Samaai to become Director of Dance. Of course she may not want to apply for the role ☺️ but she’s such a fantastic and gifted qualified teacher with years of performing experience that I think the ballet students at Tring would thrive.  

 

Bit like Fantasy Football, this. Your dream school faculty. ☺️

 

 

Desi Samaii is one of my all time favourite lady dancers; she absolutely lit up the stage during her time with Northern Ballet and always had time for her fans.  A lovely lady.

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As I understand it, the director of dance at Tring teaches very infrequently.  I think she teaches some junior school ballet but apart from that her role is highly administrative (and goodness knows what else). 

 

I totally agree that Desi is a fantastic teacher and very well liked by the students.  Her talents may not lie with administration and her considerable teaching skills would be lost to the students. 

Edited by Harwel
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