Methods of Education

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is a UK-based examination board specialising in dance education and training, with an emphasis on classical ballet. The RAD was founded in London, England in 1920 as the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing, and was granted a Royal Charter in 1935. Queen Elizabeth II is patron of the RAD, and Darcey Bussell was elected to serve as President in 2012, succeeding Antoinette Sibley who served as President for 21 years.

The RAD was created with the objective to improve the standard of ballet teaching in the UK and, in pursuit of that goal, a new teaching method and dance technique was devised for the Academy by a group of eminent European dancers.

The RAD is one of the largest dance organisations in the world with over 14,000 members in 79 countries, including about 7,500 who hold Registered Teacher Status.There are currently about 1,000 students in full-time or part-time teacher training programmes with the RAD, and each year about 250,000 candidates enter RAD examinations worldwide.

RAD exams are recognised by the national qualifications regulators of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with selected exams also carrying a UCAS tariff towards university admission.

The RAD is also a validated awarding body of the Council for Dance Education and Training. The RAD works in partnership with the International Dance Teachers' Association. Royal Academy of Dance is charity 312826 registered in England and Wales. Royal Academy of Dance Enterprises Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RAD, which sells Academy branded merchandise, with all profits being gift-aided to the RAD.

The RAD offers two examination syllabi, which are suitable for both male and female students and form the basis of the RAD's work in the UK and overseas. Each programme consists of a series of progressively more difficult practical examinations.

  • Graded Examination Syllabus

  • Vocational Graded Examination Syllabus

Grades 1-8 and the first five levels of the Vocational Grades are accredited by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) in England, the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) in Wales and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland. These organisations are the Government approved qualifications regulators for their respective countries. Candidates who successfully pass an RAD examination are awarded credit on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. The Academy also achieves SQA Accreditation (Scottish Qualifications Authority Accreditation) for RAD exams.

In 2009, the RAD launched a new syllabus at Pre-Primary and Primary level in dance. These two new grades replace the existing Pre-Primary and Primary grades in ballet. The Academy has since launched new work for grades 1-5.