Private Music Teachers Left in the Lurch in SA Schools

Students at Warradale Primary School
Graham Strahle
| October 10, 2016

A new ruling on teaching quality, accountability and child protection in SA Government schools will result in most music teachers who are unregistered with the State’s Education Department no longer being able to teach from next May.

An industrial order has been handed down by the SA Industrial Relations Commission that puts into effect guidelines made by the Education Department in 2008. It requires that all of the State’s public schools will have to comply with the policy by 30 April.

Currently, unregistered teachers can give instrumental lessons as private providers at the discretion of school principals. But the new ruling will mean that only in the case of exceptional needs will they be allowed to do this.

Instead schools must draw on teachers engaged by the Education Department’s Instrumental Music Services, temporary registered teachers, or approved hourly paid instructors. Only in when all other avenues have been exhausted will they be allowed to take on unregistered private music instructors.

But it is feared that the changes will disadvantage many schools because they are already so reliant on private providers for the delivery of music programs. The Advertiser reports SA Primary Principals Association president Pam Kent as saying it will be “not feasible for most schools” to comply with the new system, and that some principals might defy the ruling to avoid a “massive outcry” from school parents.

The Advertiser also reports that one private provider company, The Learning Through Music, has said the new policy may result in half of its 32 staff losing their jobs.

Meanwhile, Instrumental Music Services is undergoing a major restructure that will see its functions spread across 20 focus schools. Concerns have been expressed that it will be under-resourced under the new model. We gave an update on this last year.


  1. Stuart Jones

    Yes. We all know the I M S is under resourced. I would not like my child to learn in a group of six with a mixture of brass and woodwind. Not fair to move the goal posts for so many dedicated, passionate and talented private providers.

  2. Yvette Baer

    This article is not quite right. I am trained and registered with all the appropriate qualifications and will also not be allowed to teach as a private music instructor (PMI). PMIs are being shut out regardless of the governments inability to provide a service, and the fact that many of us professional musicians have gone to much expense to satisfy the departments regulatory requirements.

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