Dance 7–10 (2023) Syllabus – information for school leaders

The Dance 7–10 (2023) Syllabus replaces content in Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2003). Planning and preparation will commence from 2024 with implementation in 2026.

The NSW Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2023) recognises the critical importance of dance as a language of human expression. Students learn about cultural significance and artistic integrity through performing, composing and appreciating dance. Emphasis is given to developing and applying the skills of creativity, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving and self-expression. The syllabus is founded on artistic and aesthetic principles, and places value on dance as an art form as well as its role in artistic, cultural, social and personal contexts.

What you need to know

  • The Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2023) will be taught in all NSW high schools from 2026.
  • The syllabus is a live document and is available via a digital platform on the NESA website. Teacher advice and support materials will continue to be added throughout the implementation process.
  • The NSW Department of Education will be providing support materials to schools to assist and guide the implementation process.
  • The core components of performance, composition and appreciation have been retained as the syllabus focus areas.

Changes to the syllabus

The Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2023):

  • has been streamlined through a reduction in outcomes and content
  • features explicit content points and advice related to working with Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander content
  • extends safe dance practices to include protocols and responsibilities of working safely and respectfully with others, including valuing opinions and gaining, giving and or denying consent
  • divides content into 3 groups – context, the dancing body and the elements of dance (context is an entirely new content group; the dancing body and the elements of dance appear in the current syllabus and have been refined).
Syllabus structure diagram shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for 7 to 10 dance. Syllabus structure diagram shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for 7 to 10 dance.
Image: This diagram shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for 7–10 dance. © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2023

Prior to implementing the Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2023), leaders will need to consider:

  • the complexities for staff working across 2 syllabuses to teach dance 7–10 and the complications of a staggered implementation structure (Syllabus differences include structure, language, outcomes and content)
  • implications of multiple syllabus releases dates across the subjects within creative arts and implementation structures staggered across multiple cohorts and subjects
  • building teacher understanding about working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content when designing and delivering dance learning activities and assessment
  • developing school processes and systems for effective task design and valid assessment of reduced outcomes (3 outcomes in Stage 4 and 6 outcomes in Stage 5)
  • supporting teachers’ understanding of the principles of inclusive education, adjustments and access to the dance curriculum for all learners
  • building teacher understanding of how subject-specific writing is defined in dance, including using the dancing body as a tool for communication
  • resource and budget implications, including:
    • providing time for staff to engage with syllabus expectations and build their skills and understanding to effectively teach and plan for syllabus requirements across 7–10 to implement in 2026
    • determining what resources are currently available to address new course requirements and purchasing additional resources to address areas of need
    • equipment that enhances learning and supports all students to access the curriculum such as screen readers, audio-visual material and other inclusive learning tools
    • building teacher skills and understanding to effectively teach and plan for syllabus requirements.

The syllabus for Dance 7–10 is based on evidence summarised in the bibliography published by NESA. The evidence base highlights:

  • the value of dance as an art form founded on aesthetic and artistic principles and conventions
  • the importance of dance as both process and product through the fundamental practices of performance, composition and appreciation
  • that dance performance combines the mastery of dance skills and interpretation to express ideas
  • the compositional process as a form of personal artistic expression
  • that artistic, cultural, social and personal contexts inform the appreciation of dance.

Knowledge of the syllabus and professional learning needs

  • To what extent do staff understand the syllabus and the evidence underpinning the new syllabus?
  • How will the new syllabus affect classroom practice? What is in place to support and evaluate this practice?
  • What school practices and systems are in place to support teacher professional learning?
  • How are these evaluated to maximise support for teachers?

Collaborative planning and development

  • Which communities of practice does the school collaborate with to enhance teacher curriculum knowledge and pedagogy?
  • Do staff have the skills and understanding to collaboratively undertake syllabus implementation? What explicit systems are in place to foster collaboration?

Resourcing and support

  • What structures are in place for tailored professional support for all staff to strengthen curriculum implementation? What else might be required for this syllabus?
  • What resources are required to commence syllabus implementation and meet planning, programming, assessing, and reporting requirements?

Ongoing evaluation and refinement

How is the new syllabus being used to lift teaching practice?

Further support

Contact the Creative arts curriculum team:


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
  • Educational Standards
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