National Occupational Standards

Download the new NOS Booklets

On behalf of DTAP, Foundation for Community Dance has created a series of useful booklets on the NOS in Dance Leadership. Download your copies here.

What are the NOS in Dance Leadership?

DTAP has created a set of nationally-recognised professional standards that apply to the teaching of dance for people of all ages, abilities, and levels of engagement. The National Occupational Standards (NOS) in Dance Leadership cover the core competencies required to lead dance sessions in the UK.

For dance teachers that run their own private dance schools there are established standards of practice, as there are for teaching in mainstream schools. However, there are a large proportion of dancers in the UK who lead dance and movement sessions for example with disabled people, people in later life, people in health settings, young people outside of school, at festivals, community centres or sports centres who did not have guidance on professional standards. With so many new and exciting dance styles, and groups of people wanting to learn to dance or to make up their own dances there has been a need to establish professional standards that can guide employers and freelance dance teachers in an inclusive approach to teaching dance that also embraces the diversity of dance in the UK.

The development of the NOS was led by the Foundation for Community Dance in close consultation with the sector skills council Creative & Cultural Skills (CCSkills), and managed by a Professional Standards Working Group consisting of representatives of a wide range of industry bodies with expertise in community dance.

Where can I find the NOS or further information?

The NOS in Dance Leadership can be downloaded here

Contact Foundation for Community Dance for more information on the NOS.


What are Professional Standards?

Professional Standards can be developed by anyone to describe the work that they do and the standards by which they aim to achieve their objectives. Developing these standards collectively gives our sector strength and a clear message to be able to communicate about the competencies required for successful dance teaching & leading to other professions, and to employers, parents, carers etc. Professional Standards are useful to help us distinguish different levels at which we work, making clear routes for career progression, understanding competencies and transferability of those competencies.

What are National Occupational Standards (NOS)?

NOS are are statements of skills, knowledge and understanding needed in employment and clearly define the outcomes of competent performance. NOS are a formally recognised set of Professional Standards. The NOS in Dance Leadership developed by DTAP have been formally accredited by the sector skills council for the creative industries, Creative & Cultural Skills. They are held on the website of CCSkills, and can also be downloaded from DTAP's website (see button on left hand column). They will be reviewed and revised every few years to allow for developments in the profession.

What are the benefits of having NOS?

NOS give us a shared understanding of what competencies are needed at different levels of delivery. NOS support the dance sector in developing qualifications, helping employers to understand the level at which dance practitioners are operating, identifying training needs, and for dance practitioners to have a clear pathway in their professional development.

What are the implications for dance practitioners?

NOS will provide benchmarks by which practitioners can look at their practice and evaluate their development as they gain experience through work based learning, and through courses that they attend. NOS will enable practitioners to recognise their development and, if working freelance, to make a judgement about what level they are operating at and set their working fees accordingly.

What are the implications for organisations/agencies?

NOS will provide benchmarks by which agencies and support organisations can develop supportive policies and development routes for the dance practitioners they employ. It will support these organisations to deliver appraisals and because of the identification of level of competence, could also help to identify appropriate pricing policies according to levels of experience.

Having NOS will help the process of identifying need for specific courses and qualifications to be developed. Using NOS can support the sector to develop a framework, building a collective clarity across organisations as to understanding the level at which courses are set, and levels of work based learning.

What are the implications for those looking for a dance teacher?

The NOS will ensure that standards are set at which dance teachers and practitioners need to work. As such, those looking for a teacher will know that teachers who work to the NOS use a clear professional code of conduct and meet a quality standard.

How will I know whether a dance teacher / practitioner I am working with meets the standards?

Over time, organisations and dance practitioners will be able to identify where they fit within a framework for the sector. Development of NOS at different levels is the starting point for this activity.

Developing the NOS in Dance Leadership - Consultation & Accreditation Process

The consultancy to develop standards brought together experts in dance who have worked with specific groups of people or settings. This consultancy revealed core competencies that work across these groups and settings. Feedback from these consultant groups was that working inclusively was the approach that works across age group, across ability and across specific settings. So the Dance Leadership NOS are now one document, which works across settings with the competencies a dance teacher needs to be able to design, set up, deliver and evaluate their sessions with any kind of group.

In May 2010 DTAP opened the draft standards to wider sector consultation at its conference. Feedback from the conference delegates was incorporated into the draft standards, which were then opened up to consultation within Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland prior to the final version being submitted for accreditation as National Occupational Standards, a process which was finalised in spring 2011.


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