Sunday, November 1, 2015

sMAG Term 4 ENews

It’s a new day!  Transformational change, incorporating a vision to include Music in as many educational settings as possible, has been led by the Victorian State government, adopted by Victorian DET, and consulted upon widely.

Opera was playing as I walked through the beautiful hothouse in the Fitzroy Gardens after meeting with the Music Education Expert Reference Group at Treasury Place with Victorian DET and other stakeholders who believe in the vision of bringing as much music education to as many children in Victorian schools and educational settings as possible ...what joy!

VICTORIA - The Education State – Including Music
The Andrews government’s vision and financial commitments, as led by the Hon. James Merlino MP, to The Education State within the launch paper asserts transformational change is ahead. .  
We wrote to the Hon. James Merlino MP for Education, commending him on the clear aspiration towards equity across the State, and for the reforms as outlined in our September ENews.  In consultation with DET we can be assured that many initiatives for furthering music education provisions as recommended by the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education are being incorporated into the overarching Education State delivery including:
·       Accountability processes to ensure the new Education State measures are implemented (including Music)
·       Formal analysis in an overarching, Statewide manner to measure success at strategic timely intervals (including reforms in Music).

The clear aspiration towards equity across the State is to be highly commended.  Of particular importance to the music education community is the clear commitment to The Arts and particularly Music, which is stated with such intention on page 14 of The Education State Launch document.  This is greatly welcomed!!!

Quote directly from the document:
Over the next 10 years, more Victorian students will reach the highest levels of achievement in the arts.”

The VCAA have published a call for specialist mentors to meet the points below from The Education State document:
·       The “$21.6 million to make sure our teachers and schools are supported to implement the new curriculum.” Including Music.
·       The professional learning program that “will develop best practice specialist curriculum programs in areas including STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), digital coding, early years literacy, critical thinking, music and financial literacy.”
·       That the professional learning program in each named targeted subject, including Music, will be led by an expert teacher
Principals around the state would have received the VCAA notice.  Please ask your principal or visit the VCAA website for the details.  Expressions Of Interest close on November 10, 2015.

Clearly the commitment to developing excellence in education comes through the document.  Please take the time to read ‘The Education State – Launch’ paper, and become familiar with the vision and aspirations.
It’s an exciting time to be in Education!

NEW Victorian Curriculum
The VCAA have published online: The experts at the VCAA have done a thorough job in delivering a comprehensive curriculum for Music. The publication includes levels A to D prior to foundation years.  Clearly this wonderful inclusion acknowledges and caters for the Early Years of Childhood, and can be applied to assessment for Students with Disabilities.
This curriculum sets a high benchmark in Music, and we believe needs to be looked into across Australia as the lead document for a National context.

An overarching framework document in Music Education (University of Melbourne) and A Guide to Music Education (VCAA) are being developed.  These documents will truly set a firm foundation for future generations in Victorian Music Education. When the governing bodies are ready to release they will make their own announcements.

DET have provided the Music Education Community with an online platform – the Music Education NING - to communicate, network and share resources.   This investment is OUR OPPORTUNITY to support one another, develop networks and share information about the latest research.  We can debate, converse and advertise any and all opportunities happening around the State in a SUPPORTIVE environment.  We need to make the most of this opportunity while the door is still open.

GOVERNMENT SCHOOL JOBS! – There were up to 30 schools advertising for music teachers last week, and another this week on Recruitment Online:  Rural and regional Victoria were heavily represented.

If you are looking for a teaching opportunity, the door is open right now, and the welcome mat is laid out!!  Many teachers have begun their careers as part time teachers and often on short-term contracts.  Yet, it is amazing how taking small steps in the first instance can lead very quickly to more opportunities.  It has a great deal to do with confidence and establishing a connection with a school and a community. Taking the initiative and being pro-active is always worthwhile.

If the job is part time, ring the principal and see if you can fill up another day or two with teaching another subject.  See if there is a staff member who is a part timer and needs a share arrangement.  Are you applying for a generalist position?  Why not state in your KSC responses that you can offer a choir, or lead an ensemble?  As you develop a relationship with the key people in the school, and they get to know you, a music program can be built up over time from a classroom position.  It is a matter of building relationships, and it might all start with that one phone call to a principal.


The Education State – Early Childhood Consultation Paper.
sMAG submitted a substantial paper to this consultation process.  I extend thanks to the sMAG teacher training committee members, with specific expertise in the Birth to Age 7 area.  Within our submission we highlighted the NQF clauses already accepted in the community:
As a part of standard 2.2 of the National Quality Framework (NQF) there is guidance for educators to provide “opportunities for children to engage in dance, creative movement and drama and to respond to traditional and contemporary music and storytelling”.  If we are to meet the guidance within the framework, we need to take the integration of music support, experience and learning seriously within this very important developmental stage.
Research concerning the strong relationship between music education in the early years and the improved educational outcomes demonstrates the fundamental importance of implementing a full range of quality musical outcomes in all early childhood centres.  Age specific music outcomes need to be qualified (e.g. development of singing in pitch) and educators in these settings should have knowledge, understanding and skills in music education

We went on to make recommendations around boosting pre service teacher training to the sector in music, developing over arching policies and accountability structures, developing mentoring structures, as well as aligning the sector with work already achieved by AITSL and other governing bodies.
The consultation portal can be found here:

Already, there are draft promotional plan materials being developed by DET and will soon be ready for release to the sector.  When these are ready, we will forward on to you.  Initial consultation around these materials is very positive!

The Brack's Review into School Funding has released Emerging Issues & Ideas report
This process will have an impact on the Victorian education context.  We do not yet know the full implications, however, we do know that how programs are funded forms a key point to delivering a quality music education program.  DET are working actively to be across this document, and we look forward to hearing further outcomes from this report.

We have been assured that the current SIMP will remain in place without change until a further investigation has taken place.  sMAG’s Instrumental Working Party has submitted a clear position paper to DET, providing substantive data outlining the positive work done within this community and the willingness to expand and extend further with the right support.  The outcomes from the Bracks report and reforms stemming from the IBAC report will create improvements for the sector.

VIT Permission To Teach Review
Neither a report nor outcome has been published at this point:  Should you wish to inquire as to the status of this review, you can direct your communication to:  Matthew Shaw, Project Officer, at

The 2015 Victorian Instrumental Music Teachers Conference will be held at the Darebin Arts Centre on Thursday December 3. This event is open to all Instrumental and Classroom music teachers in Victoria. Traders will also be available to discuss your schools needs.
Sessions include:
This PD is presented by Regional Instrumental Music Coordinators
Contact Details:  SEVR Music

AITSL have published an agenda of implementation priorities following the TEMAG report.  A dedicated website to Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and a summary can be found here:
The Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group found strong support for a sophisticated approach to selection of candidates to undergraduate teaching courses, taking into account academic capability, literacy and numeracy skills and personal characteristics, in order to select the students who will make the
best teachers.
The Australian Government has asked AITSL to develop and set clear expectations of universities in making sure that those going into teaching have the right mix of academic and personal qualities that give them the best chance of becoming effective teachers.
AITSL has developed Selection Guidelines that were agreed by all Australian Education Ministers in September
sMAG welcomes the teacher undergraduate guidelines listed, and particularly welcomes an approach that includes an appropriate ATAR score, and non academic capabilities.  These overarching reforms will have a very positive impact on education in all subject areas:

sMAG wrote to the new Federal Minister for Education, The Hon. Simon Bimmingham MP, outlining our support for the TEMAG report, particularly on recommendation 18.  We brought to his attention our response to the TEMAG report and introduced ourselves.  WE made a specific request that Rec 18 be reviewed to include ‘Music’ as a named, targeted specialization subject.

Music Count Us In
Music: Count Us in (MCUI) was spectacular this year!  Congratulations to all involved throughout Australia, and particularly to John Foreman and Marica Hines. Over half a million voices were raised simultaneously to sing ‘Gold’.
John Foreman appeared on National TV – Studio 10.

Marcia Hines led the singing from Taronga Zoo, overlooking the harbor to Sydney Harbour Bridge, where a choir was joining in from the top!  The live stream was brilliant:  Video is available at

PUBLICATION - The Power of Music
Commissioned by the Music Education Council (MEC) UK, and published by the International Music Education Research Centre (iMerc), The Power of Music - a research synthesis of the impact of active music making on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people brings together the vast amount of quality research evidence that has built up over recent years. 
It provides the basis for the argument that every child and young person should have access to quality music making opportunities and supports calls for schools to ensure that all pupils receive a thorough, broad and high quality music education.

sMAG Membership
We welcome Jemima Bunn to the committee in Term 4.  Jemima comes to us as a lead representative of the Secondary School Music sector in her role as Head of Music at Blackburn high school.  She is currently undertaking PhD studies, and we look forward to having her expertise on board as we look forward to next year’s round of reviews.

sMAG ON FACEBOOK:   Twitter: @sMAG_Vic Yet another way to network, and share your ideas and new finds in the music education area!

sMAG is a non partisan committee, consisting of volunteers from all sectors of the music community, and we welcome your input.  A survey is being developed to invite people’s input, however anyone is welcome to email us at any point and make a contribution:

Please share our news with your friends, and post your ideas to our Facebook page – we love hearing from the whole community.