Case Study: Curran Public School
This case study was prepared as part of collaboration between Music: Count Us In and the Music in Communities Network. A Music Australia initiative.
Curran Public School is located in the Macquarie Fields Public housing estate in Western Sydney. The school runs mainstream and specialist Autism classes and staff members come from a range of teaching backgrounds. The school population includes 13 per cent Aboriginal students and 22 per cent Pacific Islander students. The community has a significant proportion of families that are unemployed, single parent and with drug or alcohol issues.
Curran Public School draws upon the cultural backgrounds of its community.
- A Pacific Islander body percussion and drumming ensemble was formed for students who are at risk of disengaging from classroom programs. This program has assisted classroom teachers with teacher mentorship strategies.
- A partnership Drumming Program runs with the local high school (James Meehan High). This combined-schools drumming group performs regularly, for example, a recent rugby league half time performance at ANZ Stadium, Polyfest community performances, presentations at local schools and a South West Sydney Principals Conference.
- Strong partnerships have been developed with several parents who provide workshops in traditional percussion and dance teaching with a Samoan focus.
These percussion programs involve staff, students and the community. The school has undertaken several whole school professional development sessions to train teachers in how to bring percussion into the classroom activities. A professional percussionist and teacher is employed on a regular basis to mentor teachers, guide the school ensembles, and assist with the overall drumming program.
Curran Public received an Australia Council Schools Partnership Grant to expand the drumming program with rhythm duo, Hip Hop Duende.
The percussion programs have achieved great success, as measured by truancy rates, which have significantly decreased since the introduction of the Drumming Program and student anger management issues which have also been reduced in frequency. Students have clearly demonstrated pride and ownership of the creative process and their musical learning. This has been shown by the quality of their performances and commitment to the program’s success.