Downlands Dance Studio Officially Opened

Downlands Dance Studio Officially Opened

Downlands School in Hassocks were delighted to officially open their Dance Studio on Friday 18th May. Mrs Ruth Harding and Ms Ella Fleetwood carried out the opening ceremony and cutting of the ribbon.

Local resident Mrs Harding has had a long association with Downlands (her children attended Downlands and her granddaughter is currently in Year 7) and the school has been extremely grateful for her huge support over a significant period of time. West Sussex dancer Ella Fleetwood is an exciting talent and, together with fellow dancers performed a piece called ‘#nofilter’ which explored millennial life in a comedic and zesty piece of dance theatre. The opening also included pieces performed by Downlands students and local community group ‘Let’s Dance’.

GCSE outcomes at Downlands have been consistently outstanding over many years and we are rightly proud of this. Last year, 82% of students achieved a level 4 in both English and Mathematics and 79% of students achieved the equivalent of 5 A*-C including English and Mathematics. Achievement is outstanding – every year our students make significantly better progress than students nationally.

However, the school also celebrates an outstanding curriculum that provides students with extensive opportunities regardless of their ability. The school has a holistic view of education and their extra- curricular offer allows students to explore many avenues.

Dance has become an integral part of the curriculum at Downlands. The appointment of a specialist dance teacher – Morvah Cull, allied to the opening of the new facility has seen the subject thrive and enabled youngsters to enjoy participation in the subject. The recent Downlands Dance Show showcased the talent and enthusiasm of Downlands students for dance – students inspired by the quality of provision and by the fabulous new Dance Studio. The facility is also used considerably by local dance and community groups.

Headteacher, Mark Wignall, said “The successful completion of the Downlands Dance Studio is a fantastic example of Downlands working in partnership with its community to provide a much needed resource both for students and local people. It cements Downlands place at the heart of our community.”

Kathy O’Regan, Centre Manager for Freedom Leisure said “It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the space. The studio is regularly used for a number of classes from zumba to karate, from adult ballet to yoga and is proving very popular with our centre users.” Funding for the Dance Studio came from the Downlands School Association, Mrs Ruth Harding, Freedom Leisure and National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.