Ideas Please: SA Wants To Improve School Music Education

Graham Strahle
| May 23, 2018

South Australia’s newly elected Liberal Government under Premier Steven Marshall is laying plans to revamp music education in public schools in that State. It has announced a Music Education Strategy tasked at “improving the delivery of public music education in early childhood services and schools across South Australia”.

In announcing the strategy, Education Minister John Gardner has highlighted the benefits of public music education in the early childhood and school systems, saying “we know that music provides many educational benefits, including improved literacy and numeracy and the development of cognitive and social skills”.

The Music Education Strategy effectively follows on from a program initiated by the previous Weatherill Labor Government last November, which similarly set out to boost music education delivery and outcomes in the State’s schools. It identified the Elder Conservatorium of Music and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as partners and promised $5.12m over four years. This new announcement falls short of mentioning any partners or budget allocation.

The Department for Education’s website provides more information on the strategy, saying its intention is to “make sure children and young people can access the benefits of music”, regardless of whether they continue with music through their schooling or not.

It says “local, national and international music education practices” will be consulted and that eight “priority areas” have been identified in developing the strategy. These areas are to:

  • understand the benefits of music education
  • increase the availability of a continuous, sequential and developmental music education, from early childhood to year 12
  • connect music education services with early childhood services and schools
  • support music teachers in early childhood services and schools
  • support leadership and resourcing for music education in early childhood services and schools
  • encourage children and young people to become interested in music education
  • support young people to work and study in the music industry
  • develop partnerships to help meet the goals of all priority areas.

Teachers, organisations and school communities are invited to have their say about the Music Education Strategy in an initial consultation process. It is hoped this process will “identify opportunities for the government and industry experts to work together and identify higher education and career pathways for students to continue their quality music education beyond school”.

Details on how to make submissions or participate in an online survey can be found here. The closing date for submissions is 1 June.

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