Arts at the heart of new Australian Curriculum

Joint Media Release
  • Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth
  • Minister for the Arts

The Arts will be given a central place in the new Australian Curriculum with the release today of shaping paper setting out how drama, dance, music, visual arts and media arts will be studied in all schools.

Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, announced the release of the final Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts paper at an event at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney today.

The final shaping paper was developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) following a consultation period earlier this year.

‘‘During that extensive consultation ACARA received a lot of feedback and suggestions about the best way to teach the Arts in our schools, including the need to maintain specialist teaching,” Mr Garrett said.

“We’ve listened to those suggestions and the final shaping paper released today reflects the views of our arts and education leaders, schools and parents.

“It is really important that every kid in Australia, no matter where they live or what school they attend, has the opportunity to engage with the arts, to broaden their understanding of the world through experiencing various art forms, and to have the confidence to show their creativity.

“The fact that the Arts curriculum is the second to be developed, after the foundation subjects of maths, science, English and history, demonstrates the Gillard Government’s commitment to fostering creativity and recognising that the Arts are at the centre of our way of life.”

Under the new curriculum, students will study all five arts subjects – dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts – from their first year of school to the end of primary school. Once in high school, students will be able to start specialising in one or more of their favourite Arts subjects. Schools will have a high degree of flexibility over implementation.

Arts Minister Simon Crean said the Arts curriculum will ensure young Australians have access to learning in the creative arts.

“That’s why the development of a renewed National Cultural Policy is vital, because the creative arts empower the individual and underpins expression, tolerance and inclusion,” he said.

“The arts are fundamental to our way of life and not just for their entertainment value.”

Mr Garrett said that ACARA will use the shaping paper to guide the writing of the Australian Arts Curriculum, which will be released for public consultation next year. Once the curriculum is completed it will be endorsed by states and territories and implemented in classrooms from 2013.

Copies of the shaping paper are available at http://www.acara.edu.au. A paper outlining ACARA’s consultation processes and response has also been published today.

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