On Thursday, the Australian Labor Party announced an election promise which would see The Song Room receive $4.9m to support Arts learning across the country.
The announcement, which took place at Pender’s Grove Primary School in Thornbury, Melbourne in the Cooper Electorate, was made by Deputy Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek, and comes a little over a week before the federal election is held on May 18.
Launched in 2006, The Song Room works in partnership with schools and communities across Australia and levels the learning playing field for children experiencing disadvantage through an impactful, sustainable and scalable approach to arts learning.
The new funding will deliver arts learning programs in 32 schools in every State and Territory in Australia over three years, improve learning outcomes for 12,000 Australian children experiencing disadvantage and provide opportunities for over 2,500 parents to play a more significant role in their children’s school and learning.
The organisation’s programs now reach more than 80% of schools and more than one million students.
The Song Room CEO, Simon Gipson, told The Educator that the addition money means that 575 teachers will be able to build their capability to incorporate arts learning into the classroom.
“This isn’t just about music education, which is insufficiently taught. This funding is about supporting all art forms, like drama, dance, multimedia and visual arts,” Gipson told The Educator.
“This funding for arts learning not only introduces the intrinsic learning outcomes embedded in each of those art forms, but this is a means to engage the kids who come from low-SES communities who often have a lack of connection to schooling.”
Gipson said the organisation is looking to run a research-based pilot program which will look at the impact on introducing a model that focus on building the capacity of educators to teach arts education in schools.
“Around Australia, there are many school principals who see this program as a great opportunity and a way of genuinely improving the capacity of teachers,” he said.
“However, most professional learning opportunities are only available to principals outside school, and in their own time. This often means that throughout the course of the busy school day, the lessons learned have only a short-time impact.”
Gipson said The Song Room’s DUET Music Learning and Mentoring program addresses this by helping teachers with limited or no experience in music education establish new music programs or expand existing ones, particularly in rural or regional areas.
The DUET program helps teachers with limited or no experience in music education establish new music programs or expand existing ones, particularly in rural or regional areas.
“Even though this is an opt-in for schools, it is an opportunity for them to work at a system level, and that’s an extraordinary opportunity because it means there is a chance to deliver system-wide change,” Gipson said.