Arts programs receive spectacular boost

COVID-19 restrictions have forced the cancellation of the 2021 Schools Spectacular.

Image: Phoenix-like: Schools Spectacular funds will be diverted to rebuild creative and performing arts in schools.

A new grants program has been created to help rebuild schools’ arts programs as students return next term.

NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell today launched the Arts Recovery Program by diverting funds from the 2021 NSW Schools Spectacular that has unfortunately been cancelled.

Ms Mitchell said current COVID restrictions made it impossible to stage the NSW Schools Spectacular, the world’s largest variety 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 to apply 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.

Updated 2.30pm, September 19.

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