Friday, May 6, 2016


The sMAG (School Music Action Group) Victoria welcomes the Victorian State Budget’s focus on making Victoria ‘The Education State’.  Building infrastructure will provide assets to the Victorian people for decades to come and support student, teacher and school leadership aspirations in all subject areas.  As a matter of providing for high class learning outcomes and student efficacy, we agree that the buildings and maintenance budget needs immediate attention to ensure equity and access is delivered – and we welcome your announcements.
We welcome;
The Victorian Budget 2016-17 invests $924 million in new and upgraded schools. This includes:
   $385 million for upgrades to schools in poor condition 

   $287 million to construct new schools and buy land, including many in growth areas 

   $92 million to establish Tech Schools in the Ballarat, Banyule, Bendigo, Casey, Geelong, Gippsland, Monash, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges regions 

   $63.6 million for relocatable classrooms to alleviate immediate pressure in overcrowded schools” 

Design will be a key success factor, particularly in our focus area - Music Education.  Building design has a great impact on the successful delivery of Music Education and it’s impact on surrounding quiet learning areas.  Delivering buildings with efficiency to maximise output on any budget, will also be welcomed by communities.  Successful designs take into account the particular needs of creating noise, and ensuring noise transfer is minimised.  Some successful implementations include:
  • ·       Various SPORTS CENTRES including a ‘stage’ at one end of the building.   
  •       Music spaces in a separate building to any quiet learning area.   
  •       Features that include large instrument storage and small rooms for instrumental music tuition.  Further, sufficient electrical power points are installed to enable keyboard decks, computer systems and amplifiers to be adequately serviced by large groups of students.
  • ·       Providing garden/courtyard spaces adjacent to any music room allows for students to spread out, reducing noise impact on one another in any one class time.

With clear guidelines provided to principals around Music Education space design, we are more likely to see success and see efficiency of space use particularly in sports hall design.  Should schools have no choice but to make their music room adjacent to a quiet classroom, sound proofing needs to be considered.  With accountability structures in place to ensure the building works are implemented appropriately in every setting, equity and access in all aspects of Education are more likely to be delivered.   We believe it is essential for appropriate buildings for Music Education be planned and designed to support delivery of the recommendations from the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education (2013).  We welcome the Victorian Budget 2016 -17 as a great opportunity to improve delivery in Education, and particularly Music Education across the State.

Further, developing designs around ‘community hubs’ where music and performing arts buildings can be best used by groups will only assist in building Victoria:
   $50 million to create community hubs in growth areas to enable greater use of school assets outside of school hours 

Design strategy in buildings, as previously mentioned, would enable local council bands, dance clubs, drama groups and other performing arts businesses to maximise use of facilities.  Not only that, but any collaboration between private business and Music education providers would be facilitated.  Examples exist where the performing arts spaces have enabled daytime students to collaborate with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and feeder high schools, as well as hire the purpose design space out to drama and dance companies after hours.  Collaborations across communities both inside and outside school hours, will only be supported by such efficient use of infrastructure.
   A further $28 million to remove asbestos in schools 

   $18 million for up to 100 secondary schools in disadvantaged areas across Victoria to deliver purpose-built consultation rooms for general practitioner doctors services 
We welcome all these measures, as it will build Victoria as The Education State.

In Early Years development, we welcome the budget provisions for improving services, building learning facilities and for small rural kindergartens:
The Education State vision includes giving
 every child the best start in life, with quality early childhood development, and support to learn, play and grow. The Budget invests $151 million in these services. This includes:
   $133 million for maternal and child health services that provide advice and support on a range of parenting, child and family health, and development and early learning issues 

   $10 million to build and plan for new early learning facilities in growth areas 

   $4.4 million for small rural kindergartens across the State

As stated in our response to the Early Years Learning Development, we welcome all measures to improve the Birth to Year 2 delivery:  Within the context of these new provisions, we would call upon the government to ensure that physical spaces and materials for learning spaces that support the delivery of Music Education as per the VEYLD and the Victorian Curriculum is delivered.  Building models that include Early Years Centres and Kindergartens on the same property as Primary and Secondary Colleges would allow for efficient delivery and sharing of resources.  We see examples of good practice in building such facilities in new estates across Melbourne.
In building the Victorian Secondary Technical Schools and TAFE system, we welcome all measures to improve education delivery in these sectors.  Trade based learning has been lagging in Victoria for some decades, and the announcements from the Andrews’ government is welcomed.  VET and VCAL programs in Music Education have produced some of the Music industry’s top earners in both performance and audio technicians.  Skills delivery to young people wishing to enter an Australian $1.2 billion Music Industry needs Tech school and TAFE support:  “Live music injects over $1.2 billion into the Australian economy annually, and the broader Australian entertainment sector is valued at $ 3 billion.”
So we applaud the Victorian government budget investing an extra $49 million to support higher education, training and skills. We call upon the Victorian government to ensure the Music Industry grows further by delivering on Music Education in these key sectors.  Students attracted to Secondary Tafe Colleges often thrive with a solid practical music program.  Amongst others, Box Hill TAFE is an outstanding example of Music Education delivery for this sector.  Swinburne Senior Secondary College, Hawthorn is a success story in the VET/VCAL delivery: 
As we move towards hearing about further announcements - “Using funding allocated last Budget, we are investing $747 million from the start of the 2016 school year to provide additional support to schools, students, principals and teachers. The Government will make further announcements about additional investment for the 2017 school year.”- we welcome any further consultation and conversation around ensuring Music is a key focus,  supported by The Education State white paper  and the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education (2013). . 
Attention now needs to be drawn towards Chapter 5 of the Victorian Inquiry findings where clear recommendations and evidence is presented to call for improvements within pre service teacher training in music education.  Further, a clear promotion plan as outlined by Recommendation 5, to ensure all stakeholders and principals implement and embrace the vision.

Once again applaud the critical contribution to Education announced in the Victorian 2016 - 17 budget. We look forward to an ongoing conversation and consultation process as stakeholders to see ongoing improvements into the future.

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