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  1. Published by YDance

  2. KS 3,4 and post 16

  3. Dance

Professional Review by Kerry Ditchfield

Your Professional Context
I am Head of Dance at a Kent-based secondary comprehensive school. The School achieved an ‘Outstanding’ for its last Ofsted and typically the students achieve very well in terms of value added indicators. The Dance Department offers GCSE and A Level Dance, as well as a range of extra-curricular activities at KS3. Students within the Dance Department feature a diverse mix of abilities, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Although some of the most able Gifted and Talented pupils excel within all elements of the Dance curriculum, many of the students find the theoretical and compositional elements of the course more challenging and I am always seeking new and innovative ways to support the students in developing their knowledge and understanding of these aspects of the course.

Students’ Usage
‘Choreographic’ has a wealth of resources, which support both teachers in their delivery and pupils in their understanding of many elements of both the GCSE and A Level curriculum. It would also be highly valuable at KS3. Because of the comprehensive tutorials, which are reinforced through auditory and visual examples, most students will be able to access the tools available independently of the teacher. Choreographic could be used to support pupils in most elements of both the GCSE and AS/ A2 curriculum. It may be used to introduce and consolidate pupils’ understanding of Dance Appreciation through featuring examples of the various constituent features of Dance, as well as issues regarding health and safety and the Dancing Body. Choreographic could be used for whole-class teacher-lead, individual or group work and would be an ideal tool for use with the white board, enabling large volumes of information to be accessed by pupils, quickly and easily. The nature of the resources lend themselves to allowing the teacher to use it as a stimulus to create tasks for pupils based away from the computer, which may be accessed through a school’s VLE.

Due to the tutorials, the clear and well-titled options provided and the well-considered layout, I believe that pupils could begin using Choreographic with a ten minute introductory briefing and would soon serve as a powerful tool with which to document the choreographic processes and to consolidate various elements of the curricula. Although Dance does attract the most able pupils, often those who thrive with kinaesthetic learning can find the written elements more challenging to master. Recent developments in the KS5 curriculum have meant that with the increased weighting towards the written examinations, the aforementioned problems can pull a student’s overall grade down. Choreographic provides clear examples to enable the less able, those with SpLDs or hearing impairments, (which often result in literacy and processing difficulties) to experience each theoretical idea in a visual and accessible way.

Curriculum Focus
The eclectic range of musical accompaniments given would be ideal for the composition, performance and appreciation elements of the GCSE and AS/A2 curricula. The GCSE course requires pupils to document the creative process and the mood board and choreographic log allow pupils to do this is a comprehensive and logical way, which makes it clear to see how the pupil has addressed the criteria specified. Choreographic is conducive to enabling pupils to learn about the theory of a topic, see how it may work (through the examples given) and then experience the topic through the creative tasks given, in order to apply knowledge gained and thereby allowing the teacher to assess understanding and apply appropriate support/differentiation.

The nature of the tasks and resources given, combined with the differentiated practical examples make it simple for teachers to extract the most relevant parts, depending on the ability of the group, moving on to more complex academic activities (improvisation/stimulus) for the most able. The resource may be used to introduce a new topic (introducing gesture for example) or could be used to extend and apply learning at a later stage in a scheme of work.

Value as a teaching resource
I am extremely excited about Choreographic. It excels for three reasons: The number of elements of the curriculum it is able to address.

The layout and structure allows the teacher to impart knowledge and then allows the pupils to experience and then apply it.

The quality of the examples given to consolidate learning, combined with the detailed tutorials enable the pupils work with an autonomy I have not previously experienced with other resources used. I would, without a doubt use this resource in the future and I know that it would help to raise attainment at all ability levels.

Occasionally, a resource is created that empowers teachers to do what they do best, even better. Competent teachers aspire to embrace ICT to support learning and strive to access as broad a range of teaching styles as possible, in order to deliver an idea effectively, whilst reducing planning time. Choreographic does all of these things. Excellent examples, a wealth of information-giving and inspiring teaching tasks, supported with the exemplary use of ICT and a very well-considered layout, make this a powerful and invaluable teaching tool. My one ‘Even better if’ would consider how Choreographic could be tweaked to meet some of the requirements for KS5 A2 for the most able. Including more complex Dance terminology as well as more information on the Dancing Body the muscles, bones, digestion etc) would make Choreographic more relevant to an even broader range of pupils.

Choreographic meets the needs of both students and teachers. Its high volumes of information giving differentiated examples allow experienced Dance practitioners to impart their knowledge most effectively. It would also be of particular value to non-Dance specialists who needs to offer Dance at GCSE or for Dance PE teachers at KS3, who may be lacking access to quality examples to support their teaching.

This is a powerful teaching aid which expertly combines comprehensive factual details with high quality examples, in order to optimise knowledge and understanding. Differentiated compositional, performance and appreciation tasks empower teachers to support all ability levels and the user-friendly layout of the program, allows the user (whether it be the teacher or the pupil) to work with increasing autonomy regardless of ability level or previous experience. Choreographic allows educators to address recent developments in the KS5 curriculum and examines very specific elements of the GCSE specification, whilst still being relevant to both KS3 and 5 pupils too. It supports teachers in using the School’s VLE to extend learning, as well as providing excellent resources for use with white boards and in a traditional Dance Studio setting. The inclusion of more complex Dance-specific terminology would make the Choreographic even more effective for the most able at KS5 but otherwise Choreographic is a highly effective teaching tool for use by any Dance practitioner in innumerable teaching contexts.