23 September 2020
Letter from the ISTD
On Tuesday 22 September the Prime Minister announced new COVID regulations for the UK, which come into force from Thursday 24 September. The new regulations include an extension to the 'rule of 6'. However exemptions to this rule in England include education and training and children's playgroups and youth clubs. On this basis, we understand that children's dance classes can continue, providing they are organized under COVID secure guidelines.
The new measures do limit sports activity, but group exercise classes are also exempt from the 'rule of 6' as long as they are organized under COVID secure guidelines, and we believe adult dance classes fall under this category. We are awaiting further guidance for theatres and on exemptions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will update you again once this is available.
Ginny Brown CEO
Thursday 27 August
Mountview Dance School Ltd. September 2020
COVID-19 risk assessment and procedures for students, parents and staff
Please read the following information and explain the new procedures to your children so that all are aware and know what to expect at the start of term:
Please follow government advice and stay at home if you/your child are suffering symptoms of COVID-19 (raised temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). Please ensure that your children are aware of the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ message if they cough or sneeze.
Please walk to the hall if possible and try not to car share with others/use public transport. It would be appreciated if only one parent dropped off and picked up.
Pupils – please change at home for your ballet class, as there will be no changing facilities at the hall. The Clifton room will be locked, the kitchen facilities will not be in use and parents must not gather or wait for their children until further notice.
Parents – please remember to use a mask/face covering upon entering the hall through the main glass doors.
Everyone must maintain 2 metres social distancing wherever possible, be guided by the signs and use hand sanitizer upon entry (2 sanitizers are fitted to the walls of the foyer). The maximum number of pupils at any one time in the hall will be 20.
The 3 toilets at the front of the hall in the foyer area will be available to use, but please use the hand sanitizer beforehand and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
Please expect to be greeted by my husband, David Fletcher upon arrival! He will take any payment, answer queries, will have uniform available for you to purchase and will keep accurate registers and check your contact details in case of Track and Trace being initiated.
A one-way entry/exit will be in operation throughout the building to further minimise any risk of transmission. Parents and pupils will line up along the corridor and enter the hall through the usual double doors. Students need to be ready dressed for their class and give any outside shoes/coats etc. to their parents to take away. Parents will enter the hall teaching space with their children, leave their children with Miss Christian and will then immediately exit via the external side exit door (where the piano is usually located) in order to maintain the one-way system throughout the building. Students must not bring any items, clothing, basket or toy props, drinks etc. into class.
The hall will be kept well ventilated with doors and windows kept open as required. Markers will be placed on the floor and at the barre to encourage a 2 metres distancing of students.
Please note that all classes will finish 5 minutes ahead of schedule so that contact between parents and students in different classes is kept to a minimum and to allow time for the cleaning of any touch points (ballet barres, door handles, etc.) in-between lessons.
Parents will pick up their children from the external side exit door to the right of the church hall (where the piano is usually located) in order to maintain the one-way system throughout the building. Please arrive punctually and be aware that all classes will end 5 minutes earlier than normal as detailed above.
These protective measures will minimize the risk of infection and transmission and I am confident that staff, students and parents will get used to this ‘new normal’ very quickly! I am delighted to be returning to teaching your children face to face; I feel reassured that I teach in the same, consistent and small class groups each week and feel confident that any susceptibility to the clinical disease of younger children up to the age of 13 especially, is significantly lower than in adults. Rest assured that I will always follow government guidelines and will update you accordingly, should there be any changes. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries or concerns about the procedures and welcome back!
Kind regards, Lisa Christian
I am delighted! The Methodist Church Council has agreed that we 'should' be able to return to classes at the hall from September.
Further details will follow.
I can't wait to be back at the hall.
I hope you are all keeping safe and well and are enjoying your summer break.
See you soon! Saturday 5th September is our start date. Keep a look out for updates.
Parents' Watching Week - Monday 6 and Saturday 11 July
It's nearly the end of term! 'Parents watching week' should be taking place at the hall on Monday 6 and Saturday 11 July - why don't you pull up a chair instead at home and see how your fabulous children have been coping with lockdown ballet classes?! You would all be very warmly welcomed!
Mountview Dance School Award winners 2020
Congratulations to the following students who have won awards this year! I look forward to presenting you with your award when we next meet.
The Enjoyment of Dance Cup - Max S
The Christian Family Cup for Progress - Phoebe R
The Robinson Award for Dedication - Sophie M
The Mountview Dance School Cup for Musicality - Lydia C
The award for excellence in the ISTD Primary examination - Otto S
The award for excellence in the ISTD Standard 1 examination - Natasha K
The award for excellence in the ISTD Standard 1 examination - Tanya N
The award for excellence in the ISTD Grade 1 examination - Sophie B
Mountview Dance School Ltd. Autumn 2020 term dates, timetable and fee information
I hope you are all remaining well. The summer term is fast coming to an end and I am looking forward to a much needed break over the summer, having experienced the most challenging term yet in my 30 years of teaching!
I emailed all parents last week, detailing my plans for a safe return to the hall in due course. At this stage, however, lessons still continue via Zoom and will do so until such time that we are given the 'green light' to return to meeting in person.
Term dates for the Autumn term have been emailed to you all and have been published on the school's Facebook page. I can confirm these dates with you, whether we have to start the term via Zoom or whether lessons can take place at the hall. I will update you accordingly, but as ever, keep a look out for Facebook posts and check the News tab of the website regularly for up to date information.
As I have mentioned previously, I am extraordinarily proud of my students and how they have risen to new challenges so admirably. I thank you, the parents, for helping to support them too. Progress in all the classes has been remarkable and I am delighted with how hard the students have all worked.
I will be in touch again with any new updates, but in the meantime, look forward to the next few weeks of classes before we pause for a break.
Wednesday 10 June
I hope you are all staying safe and well at this unprecedented time. I have been delighted with the positive response to this term’s tuition via Zoom and am incredibly proud of all students who have engaged so willingly with a different approach to learning. They have risen admirably to the occasion and I am so pleased with the good progress that has been made, in what has at times, been quite challenging circumstances. Thank you, so much, for your support.
I am now looking ahead and preparing to return in due course, to delivering classes at St. John’s Methodist Church Hall. I sincerely hope that we can all meet again very shortly and will keep you updated. Please could I ask you to continue checking the website or Facebook pages regularly for updates?
I have been in touch with the church and understand that they are planning to open up for the Nursery group on 22 June (following other schools). They hope to learn from this experience for other lettings but currently the Methodist Church Connexion is only allowing certain special activities (Nurseries, Foodbanks, etc.) to take place. As you know, the final ballet lessons of this term will take place on Monday 6 and Saturday 11 July, so it may well be that we have to complete this term online and hope to meet in person, in September?
Please rest assured that I am taking the appropriate and official guidance from the government, the ISTD my awarding society and will also be led by Methodist Church policies, so do bear with me! I am sure you will appreciate that it is a fast-moving situation. On a personal level, I am keen to return to the hall as soon as it is safe to do so, but would like now, to share some ideas with you as to how we are planning to return safely.
The following points will be the sorts of areas that I will be considering and thinking about in the coming weeks, but I would welcome your feedback and any further points that you may like to make, which I possibly haven’t yet considered.
Map out how students and parents enter and exit the building - we are lucky that St.John’s Methodist Church and Hall is a spacious site. I anticipate that parents will use the carpark/neighbouring roads as normal and will enter through the main glass doors at the front, having first washed/sanitised their hands. Students will need to be ready changed for their lesson as changing facilities will not be available. Students will enter and exit the hall in a planned one-way fashion - perhaps entering the hall through the double doors at the front by the 3 toilets? Parents will not be encouraged to wait and should leave the premises, taking coats, bags, outdoor shoes etc. once their child is in class. Please note that the Clifton room may well be locked and unavailable.
Students will exit the hall out of a different door so that there is minimum contact and less likelihood of mixing with others - perhaps they will exit out of the fire exit door by the piano or use the double doors that we usually use to enter and exit? These details will need to be agreed with the church and I will communicate them to you clearly in due course. All students should wash their hands again, immediately after leaving the hall.
The timetable may well have to be adjusted slightly to allow more time for students to enter and exit the hall before the next class arrives, thus minimising contact. It will also give me an opportunity to ensure that door handles, ballet barres etc. can be cleaned in between each class. I am thinking that shortening each class by 5 minutes will give sufficient time for the above to happen, but again, this will need to be agreed with the Church, particularly if there are other lettings using the premises at the same time. It may be that we have to timetable lessons quite carefully so as to socially distance appropriately with others.
I anticipate that the students will be excited to be back and seeing their ballet friends again but there will need to be clear ground rules set. How will we greet each other when dance encourages social interaction? Group hugs amongst the younger students will be off the agenda and this will need to be explained. Perhaps we can come up with a different gesture or movement which we can adapt and develop as a greeting?!
Young children are not usually very good at judging distance but fortunately, spatial awareness is paramount in dance lessons and pupils are already excellent at knowing to ‘spread out’ in a long line. I will consider placing temporary markers on the floor and barres, to help the students with this. All work will be taught side to side as is normal, not face to face and lines will continue to be staggered so that a child is not directly behind another student. The holding of hands in a circle or partner work will not take place at this time but guidance is being sought by the ISTD about re-introducing partner work and I will keep you updated accordingly.
Doors and windows in the hall will be opened frequently so that there is maximum flow of air throughout the space.
Personal safety - I will not, where possible, make close contact with a student. This will be quite difficult for me and is quite alien to a dance teachers’ normal practice, but I, along with the teaching assistants and pianists will use our common sense and will take all reasonable safety measures such as regularly washing our hands too.
I hope the above points help illustrate how carefully I am planning our return to what will be a ‘new normal’ for the time being and trust that this will give you and your children the confidence to return safely, when we are able to do so.
A note for your diaries; the Autumn term starts on Saturday 5 and Monday 7 September. Full term dates, further information and invoices will be circulated in due course.
Thank you once again, for all your support thus far; it has been tremendous and I am very grateful!
I will be in touch again shortly.
Saturday 9th May
Urgent! Zoom has just upgraded it’s security half way through my lessons this morning! All meetings will now request a password which is 1rzxhr (that's one r z x h r)
Please keep a note of this password and use it each time, starting immediately.
Apologies for the late notice but the upgrade has just been applied without our knowledge!
Monday 27 April
I hope the first week back at ‘school’ for your children went as well as could be expected and that for those parents who are working, your week went well too. I imagine a lot of us have had to create a new normal, have had to be creative and have had to get to grips with technology in a different way!
It’s certainly been a learning curve for me. I have to confess to feeling very grateful that my two children are at the university stage and are not at Primary school any more! I am in awe of all of you who are trying to work at home with young children - that can’t be easy...
Still, I hope the Zoom ballet lessons that I have been delivering now for 5 weeks, have been a welcome distraction and that your children have enjoyed seeing me, a familiar face and their friends in their ballet class! An upside of Covid19 has been that I am seeing your lovely cats and dogs on Zoom, am being shown toys in the playrooms, am catching glances of other family members and have had a few dads joining in and helping their daughters -
keep up the good work! The free ballet barre work outs for the mums and dads are still going strong too - it’s not too late to have a go.
Ballet lessons are taking place this afternoon and evening, as normal. I hope to see many of you later on.
May I take this opportunity to respectfully remind you that term fees are now overdue. Thank you to the many parents who have already paid. I would be grateful if cheques could be sent to my home address:
Mountview Dance School Ltd; 39 Moreton End Lane, Harpenden, Herts.
Alternatively, please use online banking and use your child’s name as a reference.
Sort code: 40-04-28 Account number: 61388134
Ms L A Christian - Mountview Dance School Ltd.
Please still access the Zoom lessons, even if your current financial situation means that you are unable to afford for your children to attend. I would still like all pupils to continue with me and I will offer the classes for free, whilst online, for those who are really struggling financially. I think it is very important at the moment for us all to maintain our health and well-being and I am happy to offer this goodwill gesture to those families who are genuinely in need. Please contact me in strictest confidence if this is the case so that I am aware of your circumstances.
I hope you are all staying safe and well.
Update....Mountview Dance School Ltd. 19 April 2020
Tomorrow, Monday 20 April is the official start of the summer term, but you will be aware that I have been continuing delivering ballet classes via Zoom over the last 4 weeks. Ballet classes will continue via Zoom until such time that we can reconvene at the hall so I do hope your children will continue to participate.
I have had a wonderful response to the lessons and some lovely feedback which has been pleasing and do appreciate the continued support. There have been some unexpected highlights over the last few weeks; some gorgeous cats and dogs have wandered across the screen, younger siblings have joined in, parents have had a go, props such as dolls and jewellery boxes have been used and a good amount of work has been covered (is this because I can ‘mute’ the pupils and keep going?!)
The free ballet barre workout classes for Mums and Dads have also been well attended and I am delighted to announce that these will continue via Zoom. It is never to late to join in; all you need is yourself, a bit of space and a chair to use as a barre! I have particularly enjoyed the contact with parents ‘at the barre’ and it’s been a good way to touch base each week with you! A number of parents have commented that they now appreciate the difficulty of the steps that their own children do in a ballet class. Co-ordination and speed seem to be the enemies for the adults!
The revised Zoom timetable is below with all you need to know...
Your guide to access Zoom…
Before you attend an online live (ZOOM) class you need to do the following:
Before the start of class, you need to download Zoom. You only need to do this once; it is free of charge and easy to do. You need to download Zoom meetings onto your iPad, laptop or phone, depending on which one you are planning on using for the class. You just need to have an inbuilt camera. A laptop is the preferred device as it will give a better, quality image.
This link takes you to the page you need in order to download it: https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting
If you are using a laptop or desktop…paste the link into your browser and the page should open automatically when you hit return.
If you haven't downloaded Zoom your ‘invitation’ i.e the link below, should prompt you to do it if needed. If this is the case, please ensure you allow a few minutes before the start of class to download and register.
If you get a message that the host isn’t ready, don’t worry, you’ve just beaten me to the class! Hang on and wait; I will be there! Please don’t attempt to log in before the start of class as I may be delivering another lesson.
What to do next… copy your class link below and paste in your browser, then hit the return key at your lesson start time each week, to access the class!
4.00-4.45pm Grade 1 class will take place on Zoom 4.00-4.40pm
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/988525990
4.45-5.45pm Grade 2 class will take place on Zoom 5.00-5.40pm
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/694123648
5.45-6.45pm Standard 5 class will take place on Zoom 6.00-6.40pm
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/707398065
6.45-8.00pm Senior Certificate 2 class will take place on Zoom 7.00-7.40pm
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/839437716
8.00-8.40pm a free, ‘Mums and Dads ballet barre class’
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/699461990
7.30-8.10am a free, ‘Mums and Dads ballet barre class’
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/319205533
8.45-9.30am Standard 1 class will take place on Zoom 8.30-9.10am
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/166984076
9.30-10.30am Grade 3 class will take place on Zoom 9.30-10.10am
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/320604220
10.30-11.00am Pre-school class will continue at the same time
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/281019893
11.00-11.30am Pre-Primary class will continue at the same time
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/285618370
11.30-12.15pm Primary class will take place on Zoom 11.30-12.10pm
Weekly link to your class: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/716846721
How the lessons will work…
Once you are in the class on your device, you should be able to see yourself and other attendees on your screen. You then just need to position yourself so that the camera allows me to see you fully. That way I can offer corrections just as if I was in the room with you.
Please note that if someone else in your house is also joining the same class on a separate device this may cause interference with the sound if you are both in the same room. If this is the case, please either share a device with them, or go to different rooms.
Tips to get the best out of your lessons…
Please wear your proper ballet uniform and tie your hair up as normal.
Find somewhere quiet where you are not likely to be interrupted or distracted – not your bedroom.
Please ensure you have enough space around you to stretch out your arms and legs. A chair/kitchen worktop can act as a ballet barre
Light yourself from the front or overhead. If a window or light source is behind you I will see a silhouette so please close the curtains/blinds or place your device on the other side
I may mute everyone once we start the lesson and ask you for a thumbs up to check you are all OK. Please wave if you have a question or comment, and I will connect and speak directly to you.
Everyone's wifi capacity varies, but you would ideally not have lots of other wifi intensive activities streaming at your house while you are doing your class so that you have no capacity constraints during the class.
Devices - A laptop is best as they have a wider field of view, and it’s easier to manipulate the camera position via the screen. A phone or tablet can be used but visibility will be restricted. Whatever you use please don’t block the camera.
Don’t hesitate to call for IT help (my husband on 01582 461233) if you are getting stuck! I hope your children will continue to access their dance lessons. As you know, I am self-employed and am relying on your support more than ever in the current climate, to continue trading.
Term fees will be due as normal by the end of the first week of summer term, but rest assured, I will be doing all I can to continue offering a good service, albeit remotely. I would be grateful if cheques could be sent to my home address: Mountview Dance School Ltd; 39 Moreton End Lane, Harpenden, Herts. AL5 2HA
Alternatively, please use online banking and use your child’s name as a reference.
Sort code: 40-04-28 Account number: 61388134
Ms L A Christian - Mountview Dance School Ltd.
Kind regards and stay well,