Tuesday, April 5, 2016

sMAG Term 1 ENews

Term 1 brought a need for the sMAG Vic committee to prioritize the needs of the Secondary Instrument Music Teacher community.  A couple of forums were organized where Marino D’Ortenzio provided advice to over 100 delegates, which was acted upon swiftly by all.  A report is contained in this ENews.

We have a new hard copy mailing address:  P.O Box 4076, Box Hill South, Vic 3128
Please continue to send soft copy to our email address:  smag.schoolmusicactiongroup@gmail.com  

As we moved through Term 1, we saw the development and implementation of many improvement points against the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education 2013.  We see the commencement of a promotional plan come online at the DET intranet portal, a range of PD on the Music Education Guide (AMUSE and VCAA), and the continued development of the Music Education Quality Framework (University of Melbourne).  Richard Gill’s National Music Teachers Mentoring program continues in 2016.  We heard in 2015 of the $2M commitment to PD for Music Teachers and grants for instruments.  Details in this 2016 Andrews’ government media release: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/helping-victorian-kids-to-embrace-music/

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. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/educationstate/launch.pdf .  
In consultation with DET we can be assured that many initiatives for improving 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.”
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.

Mr. Merlino visited Rivergum Primary School to launch the Music In Schools Program and got onto the drum kit to jam with the band: http://www.rivergumps.vic.edu.au/music-in-schools-program-launched-by-education-minister-james-merlino/

The $2 million Music in Schools program comprises:
  •        $1.6 million for professional training for hundreds of Victorian teachers so that schools without strong, school-wide programs can establish quality music programs.
  •        $400,000 in grants over two stages for schools to buy instruments.
  •        $200,000 so trainee teachers at university studying to become primary teachers can complete musical education training.

VCAA: Specialist Mentors in Music
The VCAA have appointed two specialist mentors to develop the abilities of teachers across the P – 12 landscape, aligned with the vision and aspiration of The Education State.  These two expert music teachers work 0.5 in their mentoring role, and 0.5 in their schools.  The VCAA now seek to appoint a further two specialist mentor teachers in Music.  Closing date for applicants is April 22.  Details can be found here: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/correspondence/notices/2016/28.aspx  Enquiries about the Specialist Teacher role can be directed to: Alan McLean  Email:  mclean.alan.w@edumail.vic.gov.au
We look forward to hearing reports and stories as they meet with teachers and invest in Music Education.

In August 2015, Richard Gill OAM presented a music seminar at the Bastow Institute, Melbourne. Put the kettle on, and prepare for an hour of compelling oration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8iF_IuC8yc

Many key industry providers have entered into an SPP with DET to deliver on Music Education.  One example is the Musicessentails program with Musica Viva.
Description: Musicassentials provides stage-specific music and cross-curricular exercises that contain up to a term’s work of music and extension activities for students. Modules are downloadable across multiple platforms including computers/tablets and are relevant to the flexible and accessible education models of the 21st Century, Victorian Curriculum requirements and the priorities of the National Curriculum. The program provides a flexible approach to student learning and can be used individually to encourage self-directed learning, in a formalised setting with teachers, or in a semi-facilitated capacity with parents.

All of the above are funded either fully or in partnership with the Victorian government as clear strategy to improve music education delivery in this State.  We welcome and support these measures, and look forward to further developments as we approach the May budget.


We believe that the Bracks School Funding Review will cover the Secondary Instrumental Music Program (SIMP).  sMAG submitted to this review in 2015.  We see that the review was publicly released on April 3, 2016.  We look forward to reading the long document and responding in due course.  http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/fundingreview.aspx

VIT Permission To Teach Review
After consultation with Marino D’Ortenzio from the AEU, many hundreds of IMTs wrote to both the VIT and the Hon. James Merlino MP with their views on the VIT PTT and the impact on workplace status and conditions.  The VIT responded by meeting with key stakeholders including Meredith Peace of the AEU, listening to the key concerns from around the State.  The Hon. Mr. James Merlino also met with the AEU representatives.  sMAG received notification that the VIT will further review the PTT policy, and then submit to the  Education Minister for his consideration.  We deeply appreciate all the letters and work involved by all those contributors and we hope that a positive result will be forthcoming.  However, we wait cautiously as the IMT community will need to engage in further action and conversation if the reviewed policy doesn’t support the profession. We would impress upon the VIT to regulate the IMT profession and specifically define an IMT role as ‘teacher’ according to the Legislative Act of 2006.

sMAG submitted to this review in 2015.  There is a long and detailed list of recommendations and then a government response at the website.  We are yet to analyse and respond to the VET funding review.  Our time has been invested in the VIT PTT discourse.

sMAG welcomes the commitment the Victorian government is providing the Special Needs education area.  All the implementation plan points will highly develop the area and increase student outcomes.  Needless to say, sMAG made a submission to this review in 2015, led by Dr. Helen Farrell, and we are thrilled with the outcomes of the review.

The Education State – Early Childhood Framework.
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.  A Framework for improvement in the Early Years sector has been published: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/providers/edcare/Pages/veyladf.aspx?Redirect=1
sMAG welcomes the new Framework and commend the government and professionals involved in delivering this key aspect of improvement in the sector.


Living Music & Dance is aimed at reviving, inspiring, encouraging and challenging music teachers of children aged 5-14 years.
Christoph Maubach, our featured presenter, has been known and loved around the world for his gentle approach, wonderful repertoire and beautiful musical outcomes. He’s travelling from New Zealand to lead us in sessions that use the Orff Approach to focus on the Voice and “Playful Classroom Music Arrangements for Movement and Dance”.


RICHARD GILL’s FREE PD/FORUM: Email -kobyrne@musicaviva.com.au

A range of PD events focusing on the new Victorian Curriculum and the Music Education Guide amongst others.

In other news……

Publications in media have reported the high uptake of Musical studies in later years.  The University of Melbourne is showing an increase in student numbers: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/victoria/music-hits-a-high-note-among-school-leavers-20160115-gm6xr2.html

AITSL stakeholder survey  Insights from the profession

Please take the time to look at the survey and submit your thoughts particularly around specialist areas and Music:

sMAG IS ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/sMAGVic?fref=ts   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. Anyone is welcome to email us at any point and make a contribution: smag.schoolmusicactiongroup@gmail.com.

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

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