Information requested by the Deputy in regard to meetings is being gathered and will be forwarded as soon as it is available. Following completion of the current year of consolidation and review, the primary curriculum support programme will provide inservice training and support for teachers in 2004-05 in preparation for implementation of the new music curriculum the following year. Trainers have been selected for the purpose.
With regard to the Arts Council and similar bodies assisting in delivery of the programme, the new curriculum provides ample opportunity for this. The teacher guidelines encourage schools to take account of local arts festivals, parades and events in the planning of programmes as well as using the services of local education centres and other agencies such as the Arts Council, the Music Association of Ireland, Music Network, RTE, the National Concert Hall and various artists in residence schemes. Other information sources for music materials and activities in schools are also referred to.
I am aware of the recent report by Music Network, which was published in 2003, proposing the establishment of a national music education council, which would include Arts Council representation, and the development of local music education partnerships in tandem with the local county-city development boards. However, funds are not available at present to progress this proposal.