The fourth annual meeting of the National Education and the Arts Network (NEAN) was held in Hobart on 16 and 17 October 2006.
Attended by state and territory arts and education agency representatives, the meeting included state jurisdiction updates on education and the arts and discussion about the following topics:
- The recommendations of the National Review of School Music Education, released in October 2005
- Progress of the National Review of Education in Visual Arts, Craft, Design and Visual Communication, due for completion by the end of 2007
- The outcomes of the inaugural UNESCO World Arts Education conference in Lisbon in March
- The ASSITEJ World Conference and Festival to be held in Adelaide in 2008.
The Hobart meeting also provided an important opportunity to discuss the forthcoming joint National Education and the Arts Statement by the Cultural Ministers Council (CMC) and the Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). NEAN members noted CMC’s recent endorsement of the statement and look forward to similar support from MCEETYA in the near future.
NEAN STATE AND TERRITORY UPDATES
At present the ACT is in its third year of a four-year curriculum renewal process. In July, the Minister for Education and Training, Andrew Barr MLA, released a phase 2 trial draft Curriculum framework for ACT schools Preschool to year 10. Over the next 12 months, the framework will be trialled in all ACT schools (P-10), reviewed and then released for full implementation in 2008.
At the heart of the framework are 26 Essential Learning Achievements (ELAs), which will form the foundation of each school’s curriculum.
The framework identifies education in the arts as essential for all students in these years and is addressed explicitly in two ELAs:
- The student creates artistic works
- The student understands and values artistic works.
The framework will ensure all ACT students (government and non-government) from Preschool to Year 10 will be engaged in arts-rich learning throughout the years of their compulsory education. Creating a curriculum guarantee in arts education that delivers a full continuum of learning is a positive step forward for students in the ACT and reflects the premium the community and educators have placed on the arts.
Arts NSW and the NSW Dept of Education and Training developed an arts and education strategy ConnectEd Arts in 2003.
The ConnectEd Arts program includes:
- residential arts camps for Indigenous students
- performing arts touring program
- access grants program
- teacher work placement program
- professional development workshops for teachers and artists
- the artists in schools program.
ConnectEd Arts programs are offered to a targeted region each year. The 2007 target region is the combined Hunter and Central Coast – Gosford to Tweed.
The 2007 Indigenous students arts camp will take place in Coffs Harbour from 19 to 23 March. Up to 50 students from the region will have the opportunity to participate in the weeklong drama workshop program.
The performing arts program will provide support for students to attend performances at performing arts centres from Gosford to Lismore.
In 2006, 16 arts organisations received access grants to subsidise the travel and ticket costs for students in disadvantaged schools to attend performances, workshops or gallery programs. This program will continue in 2007.
Evaluations received from venues/companies and teachers suggest that:
- venues/companies are giving greater priority to education programs and therefore, the quality of resources developed is significantly improved
- communications have improved between arts companies and schools
- teachers/schools are attaching greater value to arts programs
ArtsNT is progressing strategies and partnerships to foster and support the development of Territory education and the arts research, policy and practice.
Major projects include ArtStories and the Lynx Project. Both projects involve a number of funding and research partners and involve teachers and children in urban communities and remote Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.
ArtStories facilitates participation in arts-based activities to improve wellbeing and literacy for school communities: students, families and staff.
This research project evaluates links created between music education, and literacy and numeracy in five school communities over three years.
ArtStories aims to impact partnership building, wellbeing, literacy and arts learning. Improved educational and social outcomes are anticipated for both children and adults. This project has also received funding from the Australia Council through the Regional Arts Fund.
The Lynx Project developed within the Music Advisory Support Team at the Northern Territory Music School provides arts-based professional learning opportunities for generalist teachers, including interactive school performances with literacy and numeracy outcomes and a resource kit with detailed strategies for planning, implementing and evaluating arts learning. The first stage of the Lynx initiative has been delivered successfully in six urban/rural schools and six remote schools across the Northern Territory.
A new Queensland Academy of Creative Industries will open in 2007.
The Academy will accelerate learning opportunities for Queensland’s best and brightest students and provide pathways for their future careers. The State Government has committed $46 million over four years to establish the academies, (also an Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology) as part of the second phase of the Smart State Strategy.
From 2007 the academies will open their doors to Year 10 and 11 students with Year 12 students to start in 2008. Enrolment in the academies is based on academic merit and will be conducted via a selective entry process, with a maximum enrolment of up to 450 students at each academy.
The Creative Industries Academy has been developed in partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and will be located within the Kelvin Grove Urban Village. This academy will cater for students wishing to specialise in the arts and creative industries. Griffith University will also be working with the academies to offer students opportunities within specialist programs.
Both academies will provide accelerated academic programs through the highly regarded International Baccalaureate Diploma program which is recognised by universities worldwide.
The internationally recognised Queensland Instrumental Music Program was enhanced in early 2006 with the provision of an additional six full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers (approximately an additional $500,000 annually) to increase the FTE total to 311.
Through the Art Built-in Artist-in-Residence Program, in partnership with the Public Art Agency Arts Queensland, schools can apply for $15,000 grants to engage practising artists to enrich the school curriculum. The program has become extremely popular and very competitive.
In 2003 the South Australian Government officially launched the ARTSsmart Strategy, a key strategy for arts education in South Australian schools and preschools. This initiative is a collaboration between the Department of Education and Children’s Services and with Arts S.A. The South Australian Government has recommitted to ARTSsmart for a further four years 2007-2010, with the possibility of growing the strategy statewide.
ARTSsmart Strategy’s – Key outcomes:
- continuing engagement of young people in arts education
- arts experiences for lifelong learning
- partnerships between arts educators and arts practitioners.
ARTSsmart is supported by five key implementation strategies:
- community partnerships
- professional development
- arts and education networks
- promotion, advocacy and research
- clusters of schools and preschools.
Some highlights of ARTSsmart Phase 1 are:
ARTSsmart has enabled more than 8000 students in disadvantaged schools and preschools to work with over 90 professional artists on high-quality arts projects.
ARTSsmart has supported approximately 5000 disadvantaged students to attend a live professional performance in a theatre. For many students this is their first and only such experience.
ARTSsmart supported the Windmill Performing Arts Children’s Voices Research Project into the impact of live theatre on young children which was conducted by Professor Wendy Schiller Director of the Early Childhood and Family Studies Research Group at the University of South Australia. The research has provided evidence of the positive impact of high-quality live theatre on children’s learning and engagement.
ARTSsmart Clusters of disadvantaged schools and pre-schools in the northern and southern metropolitan areas, where ARTSsmart is being implanted intensively, are demonstrating positive outcomes that are supported by qualitative and quantitative data. Outcomes include increased student engagement; improvements in their understanding of the arts; successful use of the arts to promote problem solving and learning across curricula; improvements in students’ behaviour and self-esteem; and improved learning outcomes.
One of the highlights of collaboration between the Tasmanian Department of Education and Arts Tasmania was The Writers in Schools Program, a major feature of this year’s Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week (11-20 August 2006).
The Writers in Schools program ran over a week in 12 selected regional locations in the month leading up to Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week 2006. The focus was on engaging young people in creative writing. The program outcomes were available for the public to view during Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week.
The Writers in Schools Program 2006 was aimed at both primary and high school students. Writers working with the primary students delivered individually designed workshops aimed at nurturing students in these vital years, and supported the development of essential learnings in literacy and writing skills.
Writers working within high schools delivered their individual programs after being selected by the participating school. For example, an e-zine program saw the development of an ongoing electronically published street comic and wall poster.
A wide range of writing was encouraged, not limited to the prosaic class essay. Many exciting new forms of writing such as rap song writing, haiku, e-blog, script writing and comic strips were included along with more common formats like poetry and short story. A variety of methods of publishing were available for students to use in publishing their work.
The Writers in Schools Program followed in the footsteps of the successful Artists in Schools Program, which took place during Tasmanian Living Artists Week 2005. The Artists in Schools Program saw an exceptional outpouring of art as a result of 29 artists working with students of 27 school clusters around the state.
Victorian education is in the midst of significant student learning reform, impacting on curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment and reporting. The Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) were introduced during 2005 supported by the Principles of Learning and Teaching, Curriculum Planning Guidelines, Assessment Advice and the New Student Report Cards.
The Victorian Essential Learning Standards hold great opportunities for learning in and through the arts. Work is focusing on the development of progression points for all dimensions of the arts by 2007. An Arts Guide is being prepared that will include advice about learning and teaching program content, links between the arts and domains in the physical, personal and social learning and interdisciplinary learning strands and tasks that can be used to assess student progress against a learning continuum.
Twenty-seven arts organisations receive Department of Education and Training (DE&T) triennial funding (2006 – 2008) for projects, which deliver on the student learning initiatives through the Strategic Partnerships Program including the Artists in Schools program which is managed by Arts Victoria.
Arts Victoria recently commissioned a literature review on the subject of sustained arts and education partnerships. DE&T has also given $50,000 to a research project to be undertaken in 2007 which examines the impact of arts education on student learning.
The ArtsEdge Partnership
ArtsEdge supports and encourages high quality arts in education experiences in public schools from K-12, and provides essential links to the outcomes of the State’s Curriculum Framework and Outcomes Standards Framework, particularly in the arts and English learning areas. The partnership has been successful since its 1988 inception and continues to be supported through the secondment of a Department of Education and Training teacher, located in Department of Culture and the Arts.
A new ArtsEdge Strategic Plan for 2007–2008 is in development. This will include a focus on developing a new professional learning program for artists and teachers, drawing on the content of the recently launched Artists in Schools: a guide for Western Australian artists and teachers 07-08, which will be available online, or by contacting ArtsEdge on (08) 9224 7300. The professional learning program will include streams dealing with special interest areas such as working with young people at risk and working in regional and remote communities. It will also address priority areas arising from national agendas such as music in schools.
ArtsEdge is also revamping its e-news and award-winning website, including a new ‘Spotlight on Success’ section that will recognise and feature great arts in education experiences.
Western Australia is continuing to implement a range of initiatives arising from Creative Connections: An Arts In Education Partnership Framework 2005 – 2007. Creative Connections is built on the existing ArtsEdge partnership between the Departments of Culture and the Arts and Education and Training. The framework aims to support and enhance existing successful activities in arts in education, identify gaps in provision and initiate projects to promote access to a diverse range of high quality arts and cultural experiences in Government schools from K-12. It contains six key objectives, with associated strategies and actions.
One exciting project arising from Creative Connections is the development of the Artists in Schools Case Studies Publication, designed as a companion publication to Artists in Schools: a guide for Western Australian artists and teachers 07-08. This publication aims to showcase successful examples of school communities working in partnerships with artists to enrich the arts learning experience for students, teachers and artists themselves. Among other outcomes, it will highlight examples where the arts have made a contribution to addressing retention rates, the needs of students at educational risk, and improving learning outcomes across the curriculum. This publication will be distributed in print and available online to the arts and education sectors in early 2007.