A new grants program has been created to help rebuild school arts programs as students return next term.
Nationals Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell has launched the Arts Recovery Program, which will operate with funds earmarked for the world’s biggest variety show – the NSW Schools Spectacular.
The Spectacular, which highlights the talents of the public school system, has been running since 1984. In 2016 it set a new world record for the Largest Variety Amateur Act.
Ms Mitchell said current COVID restrictions made it impossible to stage the 2021 NSW Schools Spectacular as planned on November 19 and 20. It is the second year COVID has forced the cancellation of the show.
“I know for the thousands of student performers, teaching and support staff involved in this extraordinary event this news will come as a blow in an already challenging year for the creative and performing arts,” Ms Mitchell said.
“However, we are determined to ensure the students and staff who have already given up so much time have the opportunity to showcase their work, while also providing a statewide injection of funds into arts education.”
Funding earmarked for the show would now be redirected to create digital resources to help students across NSW develop their skills and fund a grants program to help rebuild and reinvigorate schools’ arts initiatives.
The Minister’s Arts Recovery Grants program acknowledged the key role creative and performing arts played in supporting student learning, engagement, and wellbeing.
“School arts programs have been heavily impacted by the COVID restrictions on singing and playing instruments, and rules around physical distancing, excursions and non-essential staff on school sites,” Ms Mitchell said.
NSW public schools will be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 per school to cover equipment, teacher release, expert tuition for students or professional learning for teachers to assist in establishing or rebuilding arts programs.
The grant program will be complemented by the Spectacular Schools Initiative, which will create a high-quality digital showcase of NSW public school achievements in the creative and performing arts.