Our Board members help Elmhurst stay relevant and fit-for-purpose in a sector that is evolving so quickly. Earlier this year we confirmed details of new Board members at the school – Mark Baldwin OBE, award-winning choreographer and director, and visual artist; and Brandon Lawrence, a Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal dancer. It is just as wonderful when other leading dance organisations turn to members of the Elmhurst team to join their Boards.
On 14 July it was announced our Principal Jessica Ward will join New Adventures’ Board of Trustees as their safeguarding lead.
Commenting on her appointment, Jessica said: “I am thrilled to join New Adventures’ Board of Trustees as their Safeguarding Lead. I have long admired Matthew Bourne and New Adventures, especially their commitment to students and graduates, for example through Young Cast opportunities in their productions of Lord of the Flies and Romeo & Juliet. At Elmhurst we seek out opportunities and encourage students to tour with professional companies and it is paramount the companies’ safeguarding protocols are as well thought out as the performance strand. New Adventures’ safeguarding policies are exemplary and I hope my experience in the state and private sector can only add to their already robust offer when it comes to keeping young people safe in their care.”
Jessica trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and performed with their resident company, Transitions. After sustaining an injury, she pursued her other passion of teaching and taught dance in a number of schools and colleges as well as holding senior appointments in London secondary schools.
In 2010, Jessica took up the post of Principal at Elmhurst. Over a decade later, along with a dedicated team, she has introduced ground-breaking initiatives to improve the lives of the young students, particularly in the areas of health and wellbeing, diversity, equality and inclusion.
Together with Elmhurst staff, she continues to reinforce the school’s ethos that talent is classless and ensures that funded places are available for students with the potential, regardless of their background. Recognising that many dancers enjoy a portfolio career, Jessica and her team have strengthened Elmhurst’s contemporary dance offer through building high-profile relationships with Studio Wayne McGregor, New Adventures, Rambert, and many other companies and guest artists.
She is the Chair of the National Music and Dance Scheme Schools’ head teachers group, a Team Inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate and Ofsted have described her as a ‘highly effective leader’. She is committed to her own professional development and is member of Vistage, a peer advisory group for Chief Executives.
She loves being mum to two young children and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Congratulations Jessica on your new role with New Adventures!