School of Music High School Program Cut

School of music building

Anthea Dockrill

The School of Music will no longer accept applications for its H Program for Year 11 and 12 students. The program will be discontinued due to the ACT Government ceasing funding.

The H program enabled ACT Year 11 and 12 students to engage in one-on-one music tutorials, and perform in group ensembles which are not accessible within their school system. It also gave students the opportunity to gain credit bonus towards their final ATAR result. This is particularly pertinent with the changes to ANU’s enrollments criteria, which gives greater weight to extracurricular activities.

Members of the public have expressed their disappointment with the decision. On Wednesday 5 September, several students involved in the H Program played outside the ACT Legislative Assembly in protest of the program cut. A member of the public began an online petition calling on the Government to restore the program’s funding. Since it was created on 3 September, the petition has amassed over 700 signatures.

An ACT government spokesperson stated that the decision to shift funding was for the purpose of “refocusing the programs that the ANU provides under the Community Outreach Program funded by the ACT government”. Revised funding has resulted in a “shift away from arts support to students in the school environment, to enabling members across the whole community to access music programs and develop their music skills”. The new programs involve‘Girls Rock’, ‘Girls Jazz’, the ‘Community School of Rock’, ‘My Song’ mentorship program, and the ‘Developing Musicians program’, which will provide non-auditioned music tuition, workshops and ensemble performances for Year 7 to 12 students”.

The running costs for the H program were approximately $270,000 per year for a cohort of roughly 40 year 11 and 12 students. In comparison, the new ACT Arts programs will cost $512,000 per year for 2018 to 2020.

The ANU School of Music confirmed that it would not be able to run the program due to the funding cut. However, the spokesperson emphasised that  “ANU has a world-leading tertiary program and ACT high school students are able to enhance their music education through the ANU Music Development Program”. The Development Program enables students from years 7-12 to engage in a theory and aural skills course, as well as enrolment in the Chamber Music Program. This is done in groups of 10-15 students, whereas the H Program offered one-on-one tuition in addition to ensembles.

The Government has not indicated that the decision will be reviewed.


Photography by Konstantine Katsanis

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