Since our last report, NAAE has been engaged in meetings and correspondence with the NSW Education Minister, Mr Rob Stokes, and the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) about the development of a new Creative Arts syllabus in NSW.
NAAE’s concerns about the new syllabus centre around the exclusion of Media Arts as a discrete subject in the arts curriculum. In its meetings with NESA staff and in a letter to Mr Stokes, NAAE made several points about the essential role of Media Arts in a 21st Century curriculum:
- The exclusion of Media Arts means that NSW students are being denied the opportunity available to every student in every other educational jurisdiction in the country to engage with 21st Century media, art forms and learning. The NESA Creative Arts draft directions provide a very mid to late 20th Century approach, setting directions that are limiting rather than enabling.
- The notion of Media (Arts) being taught across the curriculum is fine as a tool to assist learning in other subject areas, but it denies the existence of Media Arts as a separate but equal art form. This ad hoc approach means it will not be taught at all or it will be covered inadequately, denying Media Arts practice as a discrete art form. Other jurisdictions have found with other subjects that ‘everywhere across the curriculum’ actually means nowhere.
NAAE also made a submission to the Gonski Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, authored by lead writers Sandra Gattenhof and John Saunders (Drama Australia). In an eight-page submission we recommended:
- The full implementation of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts in all states and territories in Australia, across the primary and secondary years of schooling.
- Increased professional learning opportunities across the five Arts subjects (Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts) in primary schools to support teachers to effectively teach The Arts and improve student academic and non-academic outcomes in Arts and non-Arts areas.
- Increased time allocated in pre-service teacher training for primary teachers to gain further expertise in teaching The Arts.