► CommunityBlogMusic EDnet BlogSeptember 2017Budget Time - An opportunity to plan beyond next year

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The Music EDnet blog provides all sorts of interesting information related to our work with teachers and schools around the country. But it also gives the EDnet Team an opportunity to put fingers to keyboard about broader issues that we believe may be of interest to teachers ... including the challenges that face us all from day to day.

Budget Time - An opportunity to plan beyond next year

At Music EDnet we work with teachers across Australia and New Zealand preparing plans that can and do ensure success. It is quite amazing what a pair of fresh eyes and asking a few questions can uncover. 


About this time each year Music EDnet receives many calls and emails relating to budgets. Some are about using up what’s left in this year’s bucket, but the bulk of enquiries are about gathering information for the budget for the year ahead. If you are fortunate enough to have a department that is well equipped and humming along this is usually a straight forward process. In this case, when it comes to technology, it may include software updates, replacing some older items and adding some new things that will enhance student learning and engagement... such as expanding your BYOD resources. More likely however, you are faced with the ongoing challenge of wanting far more than you know you will get, trying to balance repairs and maintenance with a desire to upgrade and/or establish the facilities you really need. So how do you break this nexus and get your department on a progressive track for the future?

It’s all about having the right plan!

At Music EDnet we work with teachers across Australia and New Zealand preparing plans that can and do ensure success. It is quite amazing what a pair of fresh eyes and asking a few questions can uncover. There is no doubt that you would know your department and how it works better than anyone else, but it is also true that working “in” it every day is very different to working “on” it. This is the perspective we encourage and for you to take some time away from the dayto-day. Add to this the expertise and perspective that Music EDnet brings to bear and the outline of your plan quickly begins to take shape.

Working with hundreds of schools, dealing with different curricula and witnessing best practice, innovative ideas and engaged students is stimulating to say the least. But seeing the opposite end of the spectrum and the lack of leadership in some schools can be frustratingly sad. So... back to the planning.

While Music EDnet specifically focuses on technology ... basically anything involving ICT, classroom technology, music, audio, video, media, lighting and electric/electronic instruments and amplification... our planning formula is equally effective if applied to your instrumental/band program and acoustic instruments and related infrastructure.

If you are building a new program and have major capital works on the agenda (e.g. new performing arts facilities, school building program) the earlier we get involved the better. We are able to advise on architectural plans, classroom ergonomics that maximise efficiency and we can work with your architect and engineers before designs are finalised. All this can amount to considerable cost savings and/or the avoidance of major design flaws. It is far too common for us to see finished facilities that have considerable shortcomings... and too late or expensive to fix.

If you are wanting to prepare a plan for an existing department/facility then the timing is not so critical. It is more about stepping back, looking at curriculum objectives, class sizes (all year levels) and establishing, in the first instance, a vision for your department ... ignoring budgets, space, timetables, staffing or any other constraints. Once you have a vision you are well on your way. You now have a clear mission to realise your vision and you will begin to infect others with your enthusiasm. Believe me, it rubs off on colleagues and your students.

You now have a clear mission to realise your vision and you
will begin to infect others with your enthusiasm.

Next, you take stock of where you are now and detail all that is required to reach your goal. This will include a detailed list of software, hardware (including computers and network/power needs etc.), furniture and everything else, such as staffing/training, and space (classroom, performance area/studio etc.). It may well add up to a small fortune, but don’t be put off. If your vision was based on the criteria mentioned earlier it is justifiably appropriate.

From here it is a matter of gaining support for your vision and this will require leadership and, importantly, an ability to deal with micro-politics in your school. You need to gain the support of school leaders, colleagues and maybe the governing council or board, but it can be done and it is well worth the effort. And realising that this is all part of an ongoing and dynamic process is key. Once this is done you can then start to look at funding options, budgets and other initial constraints. All this will determine the priorities and time line to implement your plans. It may take several years to complete, but it will get there. And this is a far better outcome than the drudgery of compromise in our earlier

Do you ever really achieve your vision?

If planned well you will almost certainly achieve your goals. But in reality your vision should be part of your annul planning process, evolving on a continuous 3-5 year cycle. Change is a given and technology in particular sets a brisk pace for change. You just need to keep informed of trends and best practice ... not that hard to do and it can be incredibly motivating.

Ready to plan beyond the next budget?

Contact Music EDnet
0800 141 474

1/09/2017 1:52:45 p.m. | 0 comments

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