Press Release from the office of Peter Garrett

Australian children are guaranteed an arts-rich education following agreement today by federal, state and territory education ministers that arts be included in the national curriculum.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett said he was thrilled that arts subjects – including the visual and performing arts – would sit beside English, maths, history, sciences, geography and languages in the national curriculum.

"Creativity, interpretation, innovation and cultural understanding are all sought-after skills for new and emerging industries in the 21st century. Arts education provides students with the tools to develop these skills," Mr Garrett said.

"International studies have found that arts education is important to the development of young minds and positively influences learning in other areas.

"Arts education can also help address social exclusion and assist the development of students with learning difficulties. Learning through the arts can create a more positive environment for students with artistic talents.

"Including arts on the national curriculum also ensures that training for teachers is prioritised. This means greater opportunities for teachers to expand and update their arts skills and knowledge and also ensures students receive high quality instruction.

"The Government is committed to providing students with a world-class, rigorous national curriculum from kindergarten to year 12.

"I welcome today’s support from the nation’s education ministers for the inclusion of arts education on the national curriculum and thank them for the opportunity to speak at the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs."

The Interim National Curriculum Board, which will shortly be established as the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, is currently developing national curriculum content for English, maths, sciences and history.

Education Ministers today decided that the arts, including music, should form part of the second stage of national curriculum development. In 2007 Labour made an election commitment that geography and languages would be included in the second stage of development.

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