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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 00:59 GMT
'Billy Elliot' access scheme widened
Paco Pena
There is more to dance than ballet
Talented would-be dancers from poor backgrounds are getting more chances to study at top private dance schools in England.

The scheme by which the government pays students' fees at private schools is being changed in an effort to get a more diverse mix of students.

The emphasis on classical ballet has been dropped in favour of what the Department for Education calls "other forms of contemporary dance".

"The idea is to make it more culturally diverse - less Westernised," a spokesperson said.

Wider spread

And there is to be an effort to move the scheme away from the south east of England.

At a conference of private school head teachers in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the School Standards Minister, Stephen Timms, said five places a year would be available from next September at the Hammond School of Dance in Chester.

This takes the number of places in the renamed Music and Dance Scheme to 97 a year.

Eight private schools are involved, including the Royal Ballet School and the Yehudi Menuhin School.

The scheme helps with school fees and boarding costs - applicants' families are means-tested.

  • A new website about the scheme is to be launched at the end of March, at www.dfes.gov.uk/mds.

  • See also:

    27 Sep 00 | Real Time
    Who wants to be a boy dancer?
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