Tuesday, April 15, 2014

sMAG April ENews

We have been very busy over the last couple of months, as we are sure you all have!  We hope your first Term in the 2014 academic year has been profitable for you, and that your programs are flourishing.

We would wish to thank Carl Stevens for standing in as interim chair over the summer time.  The role attracts a significant workload, and we are grateful to him for the work achieved, when most folks are having a well-earned rest.  Thank you, Carl!

Following our March and April meetings, sMAG has written to all the Victorian Liberal and Labour MPs, encouraging them to implement the 17 recommendations from the inquiry.  We have also received a letter back from Dr. Napthine’s offices acknowledging our letter, and the broader work sMAG conducts.  It is very encouraging for sMAG to be personally acknowledged by The Premier, with a letter that has been singed personally.   He notes the high levels of interest in the inquiry, and so from this we understand what the government’s aims are.  The letter confirmed that the government will make a response, which will be ready for the public in May.

Further, the sMAG committee has started to develop ideas around encouraging both sides of parliament to adopt the seventeen recommendations set out in the inquiry report.  We have started to look at ideas around a possible action plan of implementation should the government adopt all seventeen recommendations.  Progress is pleasing.

sMAG members have been in contact with members of parliament and their various public servants looking for meetings regarding the inquiry.  We look forward to hearing back from them when parliament rises for the Easter recess.

sMAG has written to the various relevant parent groups encouraging them to submit to the Our School Needs Labour Web Portal, to support the petition created by The Music Trust https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/full-deal, and to write to their local MPs.

We are expecting the media to start picking up stories regarding the inquiry, and the larger community push to have music education supported and improved.  Watch this space J.

If you would like to receive our monthly email newsletter, please send an email to smag.schoolmusicactiongroup@gmail.com with a subject heading 'Subscribe sMAG ENews'.


An online parent survey has been set up via Richard Lett’s and The Music Trust http://musicinaustralia.org.au/index.php?title=Welcome .  It is vital that a significant amount of data is collected through this forum to add weight to our efforts.  Would you please circulate through your newsletters encouraging parents to take the survey? In depth information can be found here: http://us3.campaign-archive1.com/?u=850e6aa7d550c0f932264f185&id=fe86e370a2  The official Survey Monkey Petition: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/full-deal

Principals have tremendous power to employ a specialist music teacher should their circumstances allow it, and the parent community encourage it.  The Music Trust has listed an example of how to write to the Principal to this end, which parent may wish to use and adjust to the specific circumstances of your local school.  Have a look here and see if this is something your community can employ: http://musictrust.com.au/music-education/advocacy-argument/a-letter-to-principals-why-and-how-to-have-a-music-program-in-your-school/

When planning a performance calendar, there is a promotional benefit in aligning a date with international celebrations.  Through social media, local events can be aligned with the major event allowing the news to travel further.  Are you planning an event for the International Music Day?  Why not let us know and we can carry your news.  We may even be able to set up an event page for you on Facebook. 

June 21st –  International Music Day.
Are you planning an event for the International Music Day?  Why not let us know and we can carry your news. At this point, only Brisbane has an official set up.  Victorians might like to think about how to optimise this global celebration of music education: http://publicholiday.org/calendar/world-music-day/   The UK have set up these events: https://musicday.org.uk/

The Labour party has an online portal where anyone can nominate their school needs –www.ourschoolneeds.com.au Parents are great for promoting submissions like this.  Why not pass the information to supportive parents.  They may be in a position to put forward many aspects of your school that need addressing.

sMAG would encourage all in the community to write via email or hard copy to their local Victorian MPs.   Because this is now timely the more awareness we can get amongst all the Victorian MPs, the stronger our position will be.   We have loaded a generic letter example onto our blog which you can alter and customise for your professional circumstances.  Please scroll down to March News to see the example. 
Letters to the editor in your local leader press would also be timely.

Please pass these connections to colleagues that use these platforms – particularly graduate teachers!
Audio and slides: http://youtu.be/5ZnFPRj-tb0
Twitter: @sMAG_Vic 

Thank you for your continued support.  We hope to make significant progress over the next 12 months.   Hoping this holiday season of celebrations and remembrances finds you well, and able to spend time amongst family and friends.