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.