Keep up to date – creative arts 7–12

The latest creative arts 7–12 professional learning, resources and support for teachers and leaders.

NESA has released the Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2023) and Drama 7–10 Syllabus (2023) to be implemented in 2026.

2024 and 2025 – Plan and prepare to teach the new syllabus

2026 – Start teaching new syllabus

Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2023)

This video provides an introduction and overview of the 7–10 Dance Syllabus (2023). Throughout the video, NESA summarises information related to:

  • government identified key priorities
  • the consultation process
  • the syllabus aim, focus areas and content groups
  • course performance descriptors
  • implementation advice
  • the digital curriculum.

Watch The Dance 7–10 Syllabus (9:28).

NESA video

Welcome to an Introduction to the Dance 7–10 syllabus.

NESA acknowledges the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation upon whose country our Sydney office is located. We would also like to extend that acknowledgement to all Cultural Custodians of country throughout New South Wales. We pay respect to Elders past and present. NESA acknowledges the role communities play in the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and children, and the enormous ongoing contribution made by Elders.

The Dance 7–10 Syllabus

The New South Wales Government identified key priorities for the development of the new curriculum. Few things are more important for our society than the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. Every student is entitled to receive a high-quality education. Students will build strong foundations and enduring understandings in kindergarten to year 6, to prepare them for the rich discipline-specific content in years 7 to 10. Students deepen and extend their knowledge, understanding and skills in years 11 to 12, enabling stronger pathways to tertiary and vocational education. We are making the change so that teachers have more time to teach syllabus content in depth, and so students are supported to make excellent ongoing progress.

Learning with understanding

Content should build across the school years to support deep understanding. Each subject of the new curriculum identifies essential facts, concepts and principles, the understanding of which develops in increasing depth over time. Content that is peripheral has been removed. Decisions about the sequencing of essential content are informed by evidence of how increasingly deep knowledge and understandings in a subject commonly unfold and develop over time.

Skills in applying knowledge

A key reform priority is to make explicit in new syllabuses that skills in applying knowledge are part of the intended learning. These skills include subject-specific skills, but also skills in using technologies, sourcing and analysing information, critical and creative thinking, collaborating and communicating.

The syllabus development process

NESA has streamlined and refined its existing syllabus development process. Syllabuses are written by teachers for teachers. There are 4 phases of the syllabus development process: writing, consultation, approval and preparation and implementation.

During the consultation process, we received feedback from teachers, Aboriginal education stakeholders, diversity stakeholders, professional teaching associations and education experts, including sectors. This feedback was provided through focus groups, a public survey and written submissions.

The feedback received through consultation was positive. The syllabus has clear organisation and a streamlined structure that meets the recommendations of the curriculum reform. In response to a consultation, the course diagram was modified to remove the perception of hierarchical ordering of the focus areas. Outcomes were refined for clarity, consistency and continuity. Content points were refined to create clarity and further examples were added, especially in the context content group across all focus areas. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols and specific content were added, and teaching and support materials were developed.

The Dance 7–10 Syllabus

The aim of the Dance 7–10 Syllabus is to provide for the physical, creative and intellectual development of students; provide the means for students to express and communicate ideas through dance; and contribute to students' aesthetic, artistic and cultural education. The Dance Syllabus is inclusive of all learners, provides rich opportunities for personal and social capability development and has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content embedded throughout.

Key features

Performance, composition and appreciation are the key practises of dance and these form the focus areas that organise content and outcomes. Within each focus area, there are 3 content groups: Context, The dancing body and Elements of dance. The focus areas in content groups are built on the core concepts of dance.

Key reforms to the syllabus

The Dance 7–10 syllabus has been developed using evidence-based research, and clearly outlines what students are expected to know, understand and do. The new content groups (Context, The dancing body and Elements of dance) give students a way to learn about performance, composition and appreciation, and the revised content develops explicit understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's Histories and Cultures.

What is familiar?

The syllabus maintains a focus on the study of performance, composition, appreciation and elements of dance, and continues to be founded on aesthetic and artistic principles and focuses on process as well as product.

Course performance descriptors

For Stage 5 syllabuses, NESA provides course performance descriptors aligned to the common grade scale. Course performance descriptors provide holistic descriptions of typical achievement at different grade levels in a specific course. They're used to identify and report a student's level of achievement at the end of Stage 5.

The course performance descriptors relate to context, the dancing body and elements of dance; preparing for and performing dance works; the communication of emotion, ideas and intent through performance; structuring movement to communicate ideas and intent; how social, cultural and historical factors shape the development of dance; and evaluation of dance works.

Meeting the needs of diverse learners

The Dance 7–10 Syllabus meets the needs of the diversity of learners through revised content that is accessible to all. Inclusive language is used to enable students to engage with learning in meaningful ways aimed to enhance students' wellbeing, health and social engagement.

Life Skills 7–10 content explicitly addresses skills, such as self-expression, communication, collaboration, creative thinking and community participation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures content enables students to engage with strength-based cultural knowledges and there is a cohesion and alignment between Stage 4, Stage 5 and Life Skills.

Implementation timeframe

The syllabus is released in Term 4 2023. In 2024 and 2025, teachers will have time to plan and prepare for implementation and start teaching in 2026. NESA also publishes support materials with the syllabus. The bibliography identifies the key research that has informed syllabus development.

Teaching advice is included in each focus area, accessed on the digital curriculum and also through additional downloadable materials. Sample scope and sequences have been developed in Stage 4, Stage 5, and Life Skills. The glossary includes definitions of key terminology in syllabus content and, in addition to these, further support materials will be developed.

The digital curriculum

The new digital curriculum gives teachers more time and flexibility to tailor programming to meet the individual needs of students. It provides quick access to syllabuses and links to teaching advice and support material. The digital curriculum offers the option for teachers to turn on examples matched against content and is streamlined and easy for teachers, parents, carers and students to navigate.

Syllabuses can be downloaded and used offline. New features will continue to be developed and added. NESA is encouraging feedback to improve functionality. You can share this feedback on the homepage of the website via the Give us feedback button. The current syllabus can be accessed on the NESA website. The new syllabus can be accessed on the Digital curriculum website.

Professional learning and video

Online professional learning is being developed to support teachers. The professional learning course about the new Dance 7–10 Syllabus will familiarise teachers with the intent of the syllabus and support their planning and preparation. A video is available as an introduction to the Dance 7–10 Syllabus, which can be accessed through the Digital Curriculum website.

Thank you for watching this Introduction to the Dance 7–10 Syllabus.

[End of transcript]

Drama 7–10 Syllabus

This video provides an introduction and overview of the 7-10 Drama Syllabus (2023). Throughout the video, NESA summarises information related to:

  • government identified key priorities
  • the consultation process
  • the syllabus aim, focus areas and content groups
  • course performance descriptors
  • implementation advice
  • the digital curriculum.

Watch Drama 7–10 (9:28).

NESA video

Welcome to an introduction to the Drama 7–10 syllabus.

NESA acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation upon whose country our Sydney office is located. We would also like to extend that acknowledgement to all Cultural Custodians of Country throughout New South Wales. We pay respect to Elders past and present. NESA acknowledges the role communities play in the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and children, and the enormous ongoing contribution made by Elders.

The Drama 7–10 Syllabus

The New South Wales government identified key priorities for the development of the new curriculum. Few things are more important for our society than the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. Every student is entitled to receive a high-quality education. Students will build strong foundations and enduring understanding in kindergarten to year 6 to prepare them for the rich discipline specific content in years 7–10. Students deepen and extend their knowledge, understanding and skills in years 11 to 12, enabling stronger pathways to tertiary and vocational education.

We are making the change so that teachers have more time to teach syllabus content in depth, and so students are supported to make excellent ongoing progress.

Content should build across the school years to support deep understanding. Each subject of the new curriculum will identify essential facts, concepts and principles, the understanding of which will be developed in increasing depth over time. Content that is peripheral has been removed. Decisions about the sequencing of essential content are informed by evidence of how increasingly deep knowledge and understandings in a subject commonly unfold and develop over time.

Skills in applying knowledge

A key reform priority is to make explicit in new syllabuses that skills in applying knowledge are part of the intended learning. These skills include subject-specific skills, but also skills in using technologies, sourcing and analysing information, critical and creative thinking, collaborating and communicating.

The syllabus development process

NESA has streamlined and refined its existing syllabus development process. Syllabuses are written by teachers for teachers. There are 4 phases of the syllabus development process: writing, consultation, approval, preparation and implementation.

During the consultation process, we received feedback from teachers, Aboriginal education stakeholders, diversity stakeholders, professional teaching associations and education experts, including sectors. This feedback was provided through focus groups, a public survey and written submissions.

The feedback received through consultation was positive and indicated that there was a strong connection to theatrical practise and evidence-based drama education in the draft syllabus. An inclusive and equitable approach to teaching and learning was observed, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in the syllabus was supported. There was a mixed response to the syllabus diagram and the core and optional context were seen as confusing; this content group has been refined to remove this potential confusion.

The Drama 7–10 syllabus

The Drama 7–10 syllabus aims to develop engaged, informed and innovative students through learning drama and theatre processes, as well as literacies, cultural knowledge, collaborative skills, creative and critical thinking skills that can be applied in drama, theatre and beyond. It is informed by research that demonstrates the capacity to develop empathy through drama learning, embodied practise, interpretation of character, thoughts and actions to understand and represent the experiences of others. This has been shown to develop students' understanding of their own and others' lived experiences and complex literacies, such as inferential comprehension.

The syllabus builds student autonomy as learners and dramatic practitioners through content about creative choice and reflective processes, and explicitly develops problem solving skills through content about trial and error.

Key Features

Making, performing and appreciating are the key practises of drama, and these form the focus areas that organise content and outcomes.

Within each focus area, there are 3 content groups: dramatic contexts, dramatic processes and dramatic elements. This organisation encourages depth of learning and recognises the interrelated nature of making, performing and appreciating. Content is designed to be adaptable and inclusive of all students and learning contexts.

Key reforms to the syllabus

Dramatic context includes opportunities to explore a range of cultural contexts and the conventions, forms and styles developed by practitioners and works from a range of contexts. This content group also includes opportunities to learn about the dynamic practises of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge Holders.

The dramatic processes content group includes embodied processes, informed by evidence in embodied cognition, and the distinctive multimodality of drama learning and theatrical practise. This content group also includes content for students to learn about physical, emotional and cultural safety in drama to support their learning in other processes, such as improvising and devising.

The third content group of dramatic elements includes a revised ‘elements of drama and production’ and a new set of ‘elements of performance’ to support teachers to explicitly teach performance skills. The syllabus continues to build learning through group devised performance and scripted works. Collaboration and learning through exploring conventions, forms and styles of dramatic contexts remains as essential learning in drama.

What is familiar?

The syllabus maintains an emphasis on creative and critical challenge supported by domain knowledge.

Course performance descriptors

For Stage 5 syllabuses, NESA provides course performance descriptors aligned to the common grade scale. Course performance descriptors provide holistic descriptions of typical achievement at different grade levels in a specific course. They're used to identify and report a student's level of achievement at the end of Stage 5.

The course performance descriptors describe how a student can demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in their use of dramatic processes and elements, group devised and scripted drama, individual and ensemble performance skills, staging works and influencing audience response, and their understanding of dramatic intention and meaning. These have been written to be observable through a wide range of assessment strategies, including oral, embodied, multimodal performance and written strategies.

Meeting the needs of diverse learners

Drama 7–10 meets the needs of the diversity of learners through a clear syllabus that allows teachers to tailor drama teaching and learning programmes to meet the needs of all students.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures content enables Aboriginal students to engage with strength-based Cultural Knowledges. Inclusive language is used to enable students to engage with learning in meaningful ways. Life Skills, outcomes and content are available for students with intellectual disability in years 7–10, if appropriate. The life skills content provides opportunities for building critical thinking, communication, and self-advocacy skills using role play.

Implementation timeframe

In Term 4, 2023, the syllabus is released. In 2024 and 2025, teachers have time to plan and prepare for implementation and start teaching in 2026.

Support materials

The bibliography identifies the key research that has informed syllabus development. Teaching advice is included in each focus area accessed on the digital curriculum and also through additional downloadable materials. Sample scope and sequences have been developed for Stage 4, Stage 5, and Life Skills. The glossary includes definitions of key terminology and syllabus content.

In addition to these support materials, we will be creating further support materials, including sample units of work and advice about teaching dramatic contexts, dramatic processes, dramatic elements, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Knowledges in drama and other key components of syllabus content.

The digital curriculum

The new digital curriculum gives teachers more time and flexibility to tailor programming to meet the individual needs of students. It provides quick access to syllabuses and links to teaching advice and support material. The digital curriculum offers the option for teachers to turn on examples matched against content and is streamlined and easy for teachers, parents, carers and students to navigate. Syllabuses can be downloaded and used offline.

New features will continue to be developed and added. NESA is encouraging feedback to improve functionality. You can share this feedback on the homepage of the website via the give us feedback button. The current syllabus can still be accessed on the NESA website. The new syllabus can be accessed on the Digital curriculum website.

Professional learning and video

Online professional learning is being developed to support teachers. The professional learning course about the new Drama 7–10 syllabus will familiarise teachers with the intent of the syllabus and support their planning and preparation. A video is available as an introduction to the Drama 7–10 syllabus, which can be accessed through the digital curriculum website.

Thank you for watching this introduction to the Drama 7–10 syllabus.

[End of transcript]

Implementation resources for new syllabuses

Resources to support school leaders and teachers with curriculum implementation for creative arts 7–12 will be added to this page as syllabuses are released.

A comprehensive range of resources has been developed to support school leaders and teachers through the phases of curriculum implementation.

The resources:

  • outline the phases of curriculum implementation
  • provide role-specific support packages for curriculum implementation
  • provide support for school planning for curriculum implementation.

Access Leading Curriculum K-12 and Phases of curriculum implementation for advice and resources to support leaders to facilitate effective curriculum implementation in schools.

Find out about current consultations and the syllabus development process from NESA.

Statewide staffrooms

Statewide staffrooms (staff only) are set up in Microsoft Teams for expert advice, resources and professional learning, on topics including NSW Curriculum Reform.

Important dates

Access the revised NESA curriculum reform timeline to see the intended timing of syllabus consultation, release, planning and preparation and implementation for Creative arts syllabuses K–12.

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