Australia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.2 Arts in schools

Australia now has a national curriculum, introduced during 2008-9, whereby all students will work within a standardised curriculum framework.  Curriculum had previously been an area of responsibility for individual states/territories.   The curriculum has been developed in stages over a period of years, with development of the national arts curriculum commencing in 2010 for final approval in 2013 by all Commonwealth and state/territory Ministers, with implementation to commence in 2014.  For further details on the Arts curriculum see

In the wider cultural context, Indigenous perspectives will be written into the National Curriculum to ensure that all young Australians have the opportunity of learning about and respecting the cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Outside the formal education policy area, arts education initiatives have been introduced by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments, usually as partnerships between the education and arts agencies.  Most states/territories now have Artists in Schools program, established initially by the Commonwealth government with a view to the states/territories having carriage of the program after the pilot stage. 

Lying behind the new initiatives in arts education are two national reviews: the National Music Education Review (2005) and the National Review of Visual Arts Education (2008)

both of which identified significant gaps in provision of music and visual arts education in the school system, noted a decline in discipline-specific training in trainee teachers, a lack of systematic engagement of artists in schools and, at the same time, some outstanding case studies that could be emulated across the nation.  The findings of these reviews enabled significant lobbying by arts and education groups to ensure that the arts were given a place in the national curriculum.


Chapter published: 27-12-2013