Fleetwood girls find success through dance
Published by Lucy Bradwell for The Regenda Group in Housing and also in Education
The M.P. Dancers take a brief break between routines.
A street dance group at Fleetwood High has led to a dramatic improvement in the behaviour, attendance and academic performance of teenagers at the school.
Eighteen girls now take part in the weekly after school sessions of the M.P. Dancers group, putting together dance routines and regularly performing in school shows and the Christmas assembly. The group has been so successful that North West housing provider The Regenda Group, which has supported the project since 2007, has agreed to provide funding for another year.
Students can join the M.P. Dancers in Year 7 and continue throughout their time at the high school. The group is designed to support girls who may at times experience difficulties in or out of school, have low self-esteem or lack confidence. In July three girls, who had been members for four years, left having achieved between 10 and 15 GCSEs each. Their attendance records were also impressive ranging from 86.45% to 99.68%. The girls are now continuing their studies in further education.
Paul O’Connor, Family support Officer at the high school said, “The dance class is building a good reputation for itself as it offers a friendly and caring atmosphere where young people can express themselves in a safe environment. They are encouraged to air their views, learn from their mistakes and at the same time accept constructive criticism and not take things personally. This makes everyone feel valued.”
Year 11 student Chloe Barstow agrees, “Being a member of the M.P. Dancers has really changed the way I look at life. When I first joined the group I often misbehaved in school, but being in the group taught me how much I could achieve if I really tried and how easy it was just to be a nice, pleasant student. Paul helped me see things from a different point of view, and how my behaviour was affecting others. Being a member of the group is really rewarding.”
Angie Welch, Project Manager at Regenda added, “For some young people school can feel like a difficult place to be, whether it’s because they have problems at home, with other people or because they are struggling academically. The M.P. Dancers group was set up to give the girls a positive outlet for their energy and to provide them with support and advice when they need it. Since it launched in 2007 the group has helped build the self-esteem of the girls, improve their confidence and fitness as well as allowing them to let off steam.
Regenda is more than a social landlord - we are equally committed to delivering innovative projects to enhance the quality of life of our residents.”