Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School

The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School provides a nationally and internationally recognised specialist program for the training of talented young dancers and musicians.  Integral to this program is the provision of a high quality academic education that is also offered to other elite training organisations.  Within our school community, students will be encouraged to develop a passion for learning and a sense of respect for themselves and others.  The VCA Secondary School is a highly professional school that has high expectations of staff and students.


  The school is committed to providing a safe and nurturing learning environment that recognises and caters for the different academic, artistic, cultural, health and pastoral needs of students.  The school is based at 57 Miles Street, Southbank in state of the art facilities and resources designed for this significant institution for the education and training of young dancers and musicians.

  Entry to the school for VCA Secondary School dance and music students is by competitive audition, which is held in August each year. This is a wonderful experience for the whole school community as we watch our school take shape for the next year. The mission of our school is to help identify, and assist, children with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class specialist training as part of a broad and balanced education, which will enable them, if they choose, to proceed towards self-sustaining careers in music and dance.

  Do you know a child with a special talent in music or dance?

  Would he or she benefit from special training?

  Would they need help with the costs of their training?

  The Victorian State Government support of our specialist program in music and dance currently enables over 200 exceptionally talented children to have access to the best specialist music and dance training available alongside an outstanding academic education.

  There is a need to educate and train, from an early age, children who are exceptionally talented in the two fields of artistic endeavor - music and dance - if Australia is to maintain a world-class pool of talent for future generations. The need for early training, in particular the primary development of the physical and intellectual disciplines required of dancers and musicians, is recognised by many to be greater than for some other forms of artistic endeavor. The program offered by the VCA Secondary School enables exceptionally talented children between the ages of 11 and 18 to receive an outstanding academic education alongside the best specialist music and dance training available.

  We believe that children benefit from close association with similarly gifted children who provide the stimulus of competition and example:

  by receiving support with the costs of lessons, pupils from all over the state have access to an extended teaching day and to practice and studio facilities within the environment of the school

  school organization can take account of the individual requirements of the pupil and the need for orchestras, choirs and performances to be integrated with other parts of the school curriculum

  distinguished practitioners can be attracted to teach and/or take master classes


  Positions are open to Years 7 to 12 students throughout Victoria, Australia and the International community. During audition a student's potential is taken into account as well as his or her talent. Audition information is included on this web page. Australian Ballet School students are selected by national auditions which occur in the middle of the year. Contact the Australian Ballet School for audition information.

  Other specialist students are selected from within their national training programs. Contact them for further information.


  In August 2009 a new Memorandum of Understanding was signed between The University of Melbourne the Faculty of The Victorian College of the Arts and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. This MOU sets the relationship in place for the next five years, cements the unique role of VCASS within the VCA and our shared goals in high quality music and dance education and training. It also provides both structural and financial certainty moving forward as we vacate from this site and the university undergoes changes brought about by amalgamation.

  Central to this document was the vision of Founding Director Lenton Parr that the VCA will have a secondary school which provides high quality education and training for talented young dancers and musicians regardless of socio-economic status.

  This school has never been in a stronger position to spread its wings, be a mature institution in its own right but with strong historical bonds and a university quality focus.

  The VCA Secondary School provides a training program supported by a high quality general education, to prepare talented young people for professional careers in music and dance. We also provide academic programs for elite students from other specialist institutions.

  The VCA Secondary School produces well educated dancers and musicians whose world class training sets them up well for future careers. We believe that this mix will enable them to contribute in their chosen field at the highest level.

  Students at VCA Secondary School spend approximately half of their day in their academic studies and half of their day in their specialist area being taught by musicians and dancers from the tertiary college. This means that all students entering the school have to be highly motivated in order to manage the heavy workload. The very significant scholarship gained by students who achieve entry to the school means that they have a high level of obligation towards excellence in all areas.


  Music students graduating from the school are gaining placements at the highest levels both in Australia and throughout the world. This includes; the Juliard School of Music (New York), Guildhall (London), Liszt Academy (Budapest), The Paris Opera School and the VCA.

  Our music alumni perform in many of the great orchestras and ensembles throughout the world. These include Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Monte verdi Choir, Salzburg Mozarteum, La Chapelle Royale, Paris, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra among many others.

  Dance graduates can be found in the Australian Ballet Company, Royal New Zealand Ballet Dance Company, The Queensland Ballet, WAPAA, The Royal Ballet School (London), Royal Danish Ballet School, Ballet Rambert and the VCA.

  Dance alumni are also to be found in many contemporary dance companies including Netherlands' Dans, Meryl Tankard and Chunky Move and also in many of the musical productions throughout Australia. Australian Ballet School students are eligible to enter the company but also join other companies in Australia and overseas. ABS and VCA Secondary School alumni are in the Australian Ballet Company.

  We also celebrate the successes of the Victorian Institute of Gymnasts and Tennis Australia students as they prepare for competitions and the Commonwealth Games. Our Tennis Australia students are ranked among the best young tennis players in the world.


  A full performance program is a significant aspect of life as a dance or music student at the VCA Secondary School and students perform at a number of professional venues throughout the year. This includes among others the Arts Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, St John's Church at Southgate, The Iwaki Auditorium at the ABC Centre, Grant Street Theatre and the Merlyn Malthouse Theatre. Music students involvement in competitions will be carefully managed by their instrumental teacher in consultation with the Head of Music.

  The arrangement in dance is slightly more complicated. The mission of the secondary school is to provide an internationally recognised training program that will prepare our young dancers for careers in the dance industry and to meet this mission we very deliberately do not encourage our students to enter competitions. The training involved in preparing them for competitions is likely to conflict with the training offered at the college and could also increase the possibility of overworking the students and thus creating injuries.

  VCA Secondary School is therefore not a competition school but is absolutely dedicated to the long term development and training of its dance students. To this end we offer some of the finest dance teachers with International reputations that it is possible to have. However, we are aware that some of our students do wish to enter competitions and permission must be sought for this from the Head of the Secondary School Dance Program who will listen and give advise in the best interest of the individual student's development.

  Permission to continue any dance activities outside of the training or electives offered by us must be granted by our Head of Dance. The reality of the enrolment to our school is that students must leave their current dance school. This is not negotiable and unsupported participation is seen as a breach of enrolment.

  This policy is in keeping with every major dance school in the world, including the Australian Ballet School who we have a close relationship with.


  As well as music and dance, the VCA Secondary School offers a full course of study from each of the Victorian curriculum to years 7 to 10 students. We have also embraced the new Essential Learning elements and have restructed our curriculum management to take advantage of this initiative. This includes English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, The Arts, French, Health Education and Information Technology. Musicians also undertake physical activity and are offered several electives in this area.

  In Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students undertake the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in music and dance and also have the choice of a range of other VCE subjects to complete a full VCE, thus providing them with as broad a range of tertiary course options as possible. VCE results in both the specialist and academic areas at the VCA Secondary School are remarkable and show that our students are consistently able to achieve outstanding results. Our school was ranked in the top ten government schools in VCE results in 2004. There has sometimes been the perception that you cannot train to be a dancer and musician and also be strong academically. We have proven this to be wrong. VCA Secondary School students also study VCE Vocational Education and Training (VET) units in Years 11 and 12 for dancers and Years 10 and 11 for musicians.


  Tuition at the VCA Secondary School includes teaching in the academic area and training by lecturers in dance and music. These lecturers are very highly regarded artists in their field and ensure that the quality of training offered here is of the highest standard possible. There are no tuition fees for Australian students. All students are asked to pay a contribution towards school materials and supplies, internet use and printing. Entry is equivalent to winning a major scholarship.

  School tours are held every second Wednesday morning at 9.00 am in term two and three up until auditions close. There are no tours term one and four. Please book with our office one week before. General enquiries can be made through our school office who will put families in touch with the appropriate person to assist them.



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