The NAAE met in Sydney in September at the offices of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to have discussions with Arts Curriculum Specialist Helen Champion and Director of Curriculum, Janet Davy.
Helen noted that ACARA was about to release Arts Learning Area advice to support the National Literacy and Numeracy progressions and that ACARA was starting to think generally about what learning progressions looked like in different learning areas; for example, what it means to progress in learning in the arts.
Helen gave NAAE members a thorough briefing of current ACARA thinking, and requested feedback from member associations. At this point ACARA has no plans to develop an Arts Curriculum for Senior Secondary (Years 11 & 12).
Janet Davy said that ACARA’s approved work plan from the Education Council included providing advice to ministers at the end of 2019 on options for the refinement of the Australian Curriculum. To inform that advice ACARA has established a research program that includes comparative studies with other countries.
NAAE noted that members are looking to get something substantial and meaningful out of the research so we know what's actually going on in schools. We also need to know more about the emerging challenges, and the learnings that students are gaining. There is not a critical mass of data about student outcomes and teaching populations, which is a real missing link. Janet said that ACARA would be happy to support research led by the professions.
After much discussion it was agreed to continue to work with ACARA on a range of issues, and to share information in support of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.
NAAE discussed the urgent need for a research project that included impact, review and evaluation of implementation of all five art forms, socio economic factors in public and independent schools etc. with particular emphasis on primary education. We need qualitative and quantitative data on the number of students and teachers, and case studies related to examples of implementation, e.g. how many of the five art forms are being implemented?
It was agreed that such research should be considered in the context of a new strategic plan for NAAE, to be developed late in 2018 or early in 2019. This process would also include a review of the NAAE constitution.
The rewriting of the NSW Arts curriculum was discussed, following a meeting by key NAAE members with Prof. Geoff Masters, who is leading the review of the NSW curriculum. Earlier in the year NAAE had also met with the NSW Education Minister, the Hon. Rob Stokes to express major concerns about the direction of the Arts curriculum.
Following these meetings, each state association had been invited to bilateral meetings with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to discuss individual concerns, followed by group meetings with representatives from each of the state associations.
The meetings were positive and productive and the state associations worked with NESA to find common ground and an agreed way forward. We understand that significant changes have been made to the Arts curriculum that reflect the consensus found during the targeted consultation meetings, and NAAE has written to Minister Stokes to thank him for his intervention.
NAAE is also in the process of making a submission to the review of the NSW School Curriculum.
Report by Julie Dyson, Chair
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has had a very productive start to 2017, with the NAAE paper advocating for inclusion of the Arts in the STEM agenda being submitted to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the new economy. The paper was co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia), with input from all other artform members of NAAE, including dance educators Jeff Meiners (SA) and Sue Fox (Qld).
While most people only refer to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) when discussing innovation and creativity, the Arts are considered in many countries to be an essential element of an innovative economy, hence the increasing advocacy for STEAM in Australia. We note with real concern that the arts were not included in the Federal Government’s original National Innovation & Science Agenda, nor do most submissions to the current inquiry mention the Arts.
However, strong submissions were made for a STEAM agenda by several prominent organisations, including the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), the Australian Copyright Council, and Arts Educators, Practitioners & Researchers Australia, as well as several universities.
NAAE wants to bring together all those advocates for STEAM and develop a new strategy for increasing the voice of the Arts in this country’s innovation agenda.
To keep up with current NAAE agendas and discussions about future activities, go to our NAAE Facebook page and join the conversation.
Julie Dyson – Chair
National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met in Canberra on 19 & 20 June to discuss a range of outstanding issues affecting implementation of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. Several projects were identified that would assist classroom teachers, students, governments and other decision makers in the implementation process. NAAE plans to develop these projects in the coming months, and seek partnerships and funding to bring them to fruition.
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) welcomes the endorsement of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts by the Australian Education Council, and the release this week of the updated Australian Curriculum website (version 8.0).
The NAAE, which represents the five art forms included as separate subjects in the curriculum, has been campaigning for seven years on behalf of arts educators across the country. The Arts were not initially included in the national curriculum at all, and this week therefore marks a significant occasion, when The Arts are not only in the curriculum, but they include all five art forms: Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and the Visual Arts.
NAAE welcomes ACARA’s response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, which had recommended a reduction of the Arts curriculum from five arts subject to two. In response to the review's concerns about the 'crowded curriculum', ACARA has introduced optional, single learning area achievement standards for The Arts, while keeping existing subject specific achievement standards as an alternative (NAAE's preferred option). There will be no changes to content descriptions.
The Australian Curriculum: The Arts has already received international recognition as a leader in 21st Century curriculum. Australia is in the unique position of having an Arts curriculum that provides sequential development for each art form, achieving language cohesion without homogenisation, and using appropriately more specialised language in the secondary years. The curriculum provides teachers with information for implementation support across the five art forms.
However, NAAE recognises that schools and teachers have flexibility to make decisions about how they teach the curriculum in accordance with the needs of their students, the requirements of their school and local curriculum authorities. We will continue to work on advocacy and implementation issues as the curriculum is rolled out across the country.
Today the Education Council endorsed the Australian Curriculum in eight learning areas, INCLUDING THE ARTS! Congratulations to all our NAAE colleagues, to Linda Lorenza, and to all the wonderful teachers out there who supported the consultation process and contributed their expert knowledge to the writing of the curriculum. What a fabulous outcome for the Arts and for Australian students everywhere!
Adoption of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts by Australian education Ministers is an exciting development, especially after the Pyne review recommended that five art forms in the draft curriculum be reduced to two. However, in response to the review's concerns about the 'crowded curriculum', ACARA has introduced optional, single learning area achievement standards for The Arts, while keeping existing subject-specific achievement standards as an alternative (NAAE's preferred option). There will be no changes to content descriptions. Version 8.0 of the curriculum will be available on ACARA's website from 18 October.
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne commissioned the Review of the Australian Curriculum earlier this year and its recommendations were recently made public. The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) have concerns about the recommendations that relate to The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.
Today the NAAE sent letters to the federal, state and territory education ministers asking them to reject these recommendations when they meet with Minister Pyne in December to consider the Review. Here is the NAAE's letter and detailed responses to each of the Review’s recommendations (see appendix).
The National Advocates for Arts Education believe that, after an extremely rigorous development and writing process by ACARA, in consultation with teachers and the arts industry, we have achieved a well-written and well-researched national arts curriculum that has been endorsed across the teaching and practice professions. The Australian Curriculum: the Arts was endorsed by state and territory Education Ministers in July 2013 (subject to resolution of some matters raised by one state). We are concerned the Review’s recommended changes would severely compromise a curriculum that has taken four years of careful work to produce.
The Arts curriculum must be allowed to follow ACARA’s evaluation process after being properly implemented by classroom teachers. All curriculum is reviewed and refined over time; however it is only after implementation and with consultation that this process should occur. Notably, most state and territory jurisdictions have already begun to seriously invest in the implementation of the Arts curriculum, and we do not believe that the recommendation to rewrite it has been justified.
The future of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts
A response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, October 2014 (550 kb PDF)
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) acknowledge the Review of the Australian Curriculum – Final Report (pp.213–220) and welcome its general statements about the value of the arts in formal school education. The NAAE also welcomes the report’s emphasis on the need for greater teacher professional development in the arts.
However, we consider this review to be premature. There has been little opportunity to test the five arts subjects in the classroom, and, as we noted in our submission to the review, we ‘strongly urge the review panel to enable the Australian Curriculum: The Arts to be implemented in its present form, allowing processes of refinement to be managed by classroom teachers. It is a living document that can be refined by expert arts educators as it unfolds across the country’. Teachers need to implement, test and reflect on the current well-developed arts curricula and NAAE rejects the recommendation that ‘the content of each of the arts forms needs to be restructured and re-sequenced along the lines suggested by the (two) subject matter specialists employed by this review’.
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) continue their work to ensure the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms—dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.
In August representative of NAAE met in Brisbane progressing discussion on the role of the Minister for Arts, working with the Minister for Education, to support arts education. NAAE was pleased to hear that there had been agreement between Ministerial offices about the importance of arts education, and the centrality of the arts to a liberal education.
The meeting noted NAAE’s support for Minister Brandis’s statement about ‘taking the arts to a new place of creative excellence’.
Ausdance National has prepared a submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum. The review has been established by the Federal Government to examine the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum.
In February the National Curriclum for the Arts was published and we are keen to see it implemented. Ausdance has long been an advocate for well-resourced and informed curricula for dance and the arts. The benefit of a consistent curriculum across jurisdictions allows teachers, educators and arts professionals to develop and share approaches to learning.
Five art forms for all young Australians!
The Australian curriculum for the arts, health and physical education, technologies, economics and business, and civics and citizenship for Foundation – Year 10 is now available on the Australian Curriculum website.
The publication of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts represents a special moment in the history of Australian dance education, with dance now officially one of five art form subjects in the national curriculum. States and territories and education authorities will determine implementation timelines for schools. This is the result of many years of advocacy by Ausdance through the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) and the Australia Council with teachers, associations, education departments and State and Territory education ministers.
However, the Education Minister has recently decided to review the National Curriculum and the NAAE has made a submission to this Review, calling for the implementation of the Arts curriculum in its present form. The NAAE is concerned about the prospect of more delays and tweaking that may result in a less-than-optimal curriculum. The NAAE acknowledges that there is some content that is still subject to further revision, but this revision must take place in the context of rigorous trials by classroom teachers.
The Chairman of the ACARA board, Professor Barry McGaw has made a clarifying statement about the cross-curriculum priorities noting that they are "options, not orders".
Sandra Gattenhof, Assoc. Professor, QUT Creative Industries Faculty, School of Media, Entertainment, Creative Arts, Drama said:
This is a historic moment in Australian arts curriculum. For the first time ever, and even internationally I would argue, we have a curriculum that provides an entitlement for young Australians to all five art forms. This will have enormous implication on the expectations of what can be achieved in secondary schools, in tertiary institutions and ultimately on the cultural life and heritage for Australia.
Watch Sandra Gattenhof's keynote delivered at the Educators' Performing Arts Market.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Sydney University and the Australia Council for the Arts have just released this video about how participation in the arts at school has valuable and long-term benefits for children of all ages and abilities, in terms of both academic and non-academic outcomes and achievements.
Studies have shown that students who frequently participate in the arts are "more academically engaged...and motivated...and also have higher self-esteem..and a greater sense of meaning in life."
Speakers are Associate Professor Michael Anderson (Sydney University) Dr David Sudmalis (Australia Council for the Arts) and Professor Andrew Martin (Sydney University)
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) made a submission to the review panel for the Australian Curriculum (500 KB PDF) strongly urging it to recommend that the Australian Curriculum: The Arts be implemented in its present form. The NAAE said that processes of refinement should be managed by classroom teachers piloting the curriculum, not a review panel.
The Australia Council for the Arts joined with University of Sydney to undertake a longitudinal study on the impact of school, home and community-based arts participation. The study, available through the Journal of Education Psychology, found students who are involved in the arts have higher school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.
In schools there are some good dancers, some who are not. But it doesn’t matter. Dance should be accessible, enjoyable and shared.
These wise words from ACT teacher Mardi Roberts-Bolton underlined why Ausdance continues to focus on Dance Education in Australian Schools (DEAS). The 2013 DEAS forum, with a new national curriculum on the horizon, was focused on providing teachers and policy makers with the capacity to ensure dance is accessible and enjoyed by all. DEAS2013 took place in Melbourne from 26 to 27 September. Policy makers and professional dancers from across Australia joined together for two days of learning, sharing and practical skills development.
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has warmly welcomed news the ACARA Board has approved the new The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. NAAE, of which Ausdance is a member, has strongly supported the development of the arts curriculum and its central principle of the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms – dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.
The Australian Curriculum: The Arts
This has been an important year in the evolution of the new national dance curriculum.
One of five arts subject with its own body of knowledge, teaching strategies and learning outcomes, dance is soon to take its place in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.
We have continued to work with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on various drafts of the curriculum throughout 2012, engaging with teachers where the tight timelines for consultation have allowed, and keeping dance educators up to date with regular email bulletins.
The consultation period for The Australian Curriculum: The Arts has been extended until midnight tonight (25 September), so here's a last opportunity to have your say via ACARA's consultation portal.
Ausdance National has already responded in some detail, thanks to some excellent work by Victorian dance teachers, facilitated by Dr Katrina Rank, Ausdance Victoria's Education & Training Manager.
We also received feedback from individual teachers from around Australia, especially from Queensland, and have incorporated their responses into the Ausdance response.
Teachers have generally been very positive about the draft Dance curriculum, and we hope our detailed response will help to refine it further.
We're looking forward to seeing the final version, so watch this space for further updates.
Ausdance welcomes the launch of the draft of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts for public consultation, announced yesterday by The Federal Minister for School Education, the Hon. Peter Garrett. The consultation period will be for three months, until 23 September.
The new curriculum will, for the first time, entitle all young people to learning in dance at school, a major breakthrough for students and dance educators. The four other subjects in the arts curriculum are drama, media arts, music and visual arts.
Ausdance has played a strong lobbying role in having dance included in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts, and has supported ACARA—the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—in the development of the dance curriculum.
We encourage you, as dance teachers in schools, students and parents, to continue having your say throughout this next consultation stage.
Arts curriculum writing for Foundation to Year 10 is well underway.
The draft rationale, aims and broad scope and sequence have already been reviewed by a state and territory national panel, and we joined other professional associations last week to review the drafts. We'd been invited to ask four teachers from across Australia to provide feedback, and Dr Katrina Rank, education and training manager for Ausdance Victoria, collated their feedback and led the discussion for dance.
We also represented the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) in the teleconference, which was chaired by the general manager (curriculum) of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Robert Randall.
We'll be calling for further dance commentary in the coming weeks as the drafts are developed by the writers, and ACARA will make the curriculum available for public comment in May. In the meantime, you can sign up for regular ACARA updates.