Leader comment: Threat to dancing leaves us reeling

Teachers leader says rethink is needed on how Scottish country dancing is taught

Teachers leader says rethink is needed on how Scottish country dancing is taught

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It is awful that children feel their sexuality makes them more of a target when doing Scottish country dancing at school, and they suffer verbal abuse because of it. That of course needs to be tackled.

But scrapping Scottish country dancing from schools in response would be going too far. The historic dances are central to our nationhood and culture and not teaching them in schools would marginalise them and run a very real risk of a quickly dwindling knowledge and participation.

Although many children will remember Scottish country dancing as something of an embarrassment at school, it provides the basis for a lot of fun later on at traditional Scottish ceilidhs, but the dances also feature in other social activities such as weddings. It would be a great shame if that part of our national heritage was lost or diluted.

Perhaps the problem is because it is taught as part of Physical Education. According to Hugh Torrance, executive director of Leap Sports Scotland, who campaign for greater inclusion of LGBTI people in sport, part of the problem is that the sexes are separated out for PE and then brought back together for country dancing.

It would seem to make sense then to shift how it is taught. There is also the question about just how much of a part of PE it is anyway, as for most people it is not what they would think of as a sport.

Scottish country dancing is too important to Scotland to risk stopping teaching in schools altogether. Its advantages are not seen by many people until they reach adulthood, but its protection must surely be a priority for all Scots.

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