Dr Emma Burgess
One of the great joys of last year was knowing the transition to a new Principal in 2020 held the great promise that, as we move forward, we would maintain the positive aspects of Danebank and make changes for the better.

We began with a time of listening and conversation in order to collaborate, plan and then implement our next steps.

During Terms 3 and 4, in response to these conversations, Danebank commissioned four separate faculty reviews. These were in English, Sport (P-12), PDHPE (P-12) and Music (P-12).

Music Review
I want to share with you the outcomes of the Music review and will share about the others in due course.

In Term 4, we engaged experts from AISNSW to review our music program, both curricular and co-curricular, including instrumental tuition. The aims were to:

Describe the areas for improvement and enhancement of the programs and Make a series of recommendations to enhance the music programs and offerings at Danebank. The review involved interviews, feedback opportunities, site visits and analysis of documentation.

Summary of Recommendations
It was noted that Danebank has a strong reputation for music teaching and learning, with music viewed as an integral part of school life. The choral program is viewed as a strength and our Music students perform very well in the HSC.

Our teachers enjoy teaching music at Danebank. They are passionate and truly committed, believing that there is a need for some change in order to clarify structures, improve communication channels and raise the level of music teaching and learning to an even higher standard.

The main recommendations for consideration were to:

Integrate co-curricular music and private tuition at Danebank.

Provide support for further professional development in the following areas: conducting ensembles, extending the more-able students, critical and creative thinking strategies and student-focused activities in the academic and co-curricular domains.

Improve the administration and maintenance of instruments.

Develop a more creative and flexible approach to rehearsals and performances to inspire students and to lift standards, particularly in the band program.

Continue the presentation of recess concerts in Junior School.

Create further varied and frequent performance opportunities in formal and informal settings for all ensembles.

Provide more performance opportunities outside the school environment for staff and students with a greater perspective on musical standards, repertoire choices and ensemble skills.

Explore the possibility of a music camp for Senior Music ensembles to help unify the musicians, develop skills in a more relaxed environment and help students to reconnect with the joy of music-making.

Introduce either a combined Junior and Senior School ensembles-concert or schedule separate Senior School and Junior School ensemble evenings.

Engage visiting experts and conductors to present workshops for Danebank’s Music staff to stimulate and inspire students and provide professional learning opportunities.

Create a Senior School Orchestra to open up a new world of musical sound, develop new skills, provide extension opportunities.
There were further recommendations for the Band Program, Training Bands, Concert Bands, Instrumental Program, Stage Band, Senior Strings, Junior Strings, Chapel Music and Private Instrumental Tuition, all of which will all be considered as we move on from the review.

Our Response
Our response will be ongoing as we plan for the continual improvement of the current offerings and to develop new opportunities in this important area of learning.

Our first steps have been
Appointing Ms Emily Maguire as Acting Director of Co-curricular Music (P-12) to lead the improvements, integrate and oversee co-curricular music and private tuition at Danebank. Appointing an Assistant to the Director of Co-curricular Music who has begun a stock take of all instruments, with a software program to manage this. Creating a forward-looking yearly rehearsal plan. Establishing a working group to consider and develop short, medium and long-term plans regarding the above recommendations We will be actively leveraging and protecting the key strengths of music at Danebank, whilst concurrently developing attributes that need to be improved. This will raise the standard of music at our school and will lift the profile of music both within the school and in the wider community.Together with other key projects, we will continue to grow Danebank as one of the finest Christian girls schools and strengthen our reputation as we empower young women of influence.

Community Forums with the Principal
On Tuesday 16 March, I will be pleased to host our first Community Forum for the year, please click here for more information and to book.