Music specialists - 10 October 2018

There seems to be some confusion around whether music specialists in schools can be turned into "arts specialists". 

1. There is no such thing as an "arts specialist". It is not a recognised term under the Teaching in State Education Award, and therefore is not an actual position. You can’t advertise for an "arts specialist" because the department does not employ "arts specialists".

2. A music specialist is employed under the award provisions for specialist teachers, and therefore is required to teach music, not the arts.

3. Non-contact time in primary and special schools is an exact formula entirely made up of LOTE, PE and music, in accordance with award entitlements. Like PE or LOTE, delivery must occur throughout the school year, not on an ad hoc, occasional term within the school year. Therefore a music specialist is used for music teaching in accordance with the Award allocation, not as an arts specialist.

That said, if a school chooses to "top up" its allocation of a teacher who is a music specialist, they may use that teacher for other classes/lessons.

For example: A school employs a music specialist. The music allocation to the school based on student numbers and in accordance with the NCT requirements of the school is 0.7 FTE. The school decides to fund an extra 0.3 FTE so that the teacher is at the school full-time. The school may choose which subject/classes the teacher may teach for the extra 0.3 or 3 days per fortnight, provided that for the 0.7 FTE of 7 days per fortnight the teacher delivers the music program (as the music specialist) and receives their full allocation of release time as outlined in the QTU Guide: Timetabling Issues for Teachers

If a principal wishes to employ a teacher to teach the arts, this cannot be in place of a music specialist.

If the situation arises that the allocated fraction drops for music, the options that should be discussed with the music specialist are:

  • teaching at various schools to make up their fraction
  • topping up their fraction teaching other subjects, which could include teaching any of the subjects listed under the arts in the curriculum, should their qualifications be suitable.


Uploaded 10 October 2018


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