- NSW Government trialling ‘Ethics’ classes in primary schools in competition with Scripture classes.
- Because they are being pitched to all parents, not just conscientious objectors, this could lead to the demise of special religious education (SRE) in schools.
- Ethics classes should be rescheduled so they are available to all students, regardless of religion, leaving the SRE classes in place.
For over a hundred years, the NSW Government has recognised the important role religious instruction plays in a child’s education.
Religious instruction – provided by volunteers from all faiths – is an integral part of the NSW education system.
It has always been government policy that schools are not to schedule other classes or events that will compete with school scripture for a child’s attention.
In Term 2 - 2010, the Government is trialling a new ‘ethics’ syllabus to be run at the same time as school scripture. The trial will start in 10 primary schools with a view to rolling out the syllabus state-wide next year.
Despite assurances made by the NSW Government, these classes have been advertised to students already enrolled in special religious education (SRE) - click here.
Parents will now have to choose between sending their children to school scripture or to ethics classes. It will not be possible for a child to attend both.
We are calling on the Government to reschedule the new ethics syllabus and make it available to all students, regardless of their faith.
Children shouldn’t be forced to miss out on such an important part of their education because of their religion.
Why does it matter?
Parents and their children should not be forced to choose between ethics classes and SRE.
The more programmes the Government offers at the same time as school scripture, the fewer students who will be enrolled in SRE.
It also means that parents who would like to send their children to both SRE and ethics classes will not be able to.
Take action now
We need your voice!
We need local church members, pastors, SRE teachers and students to speak up and let their local MP know that SRE matters.
Here’s a list of things you can do today to protect SRE:
UNITE – join with thousands of Christians by downloading our petition. The more signatures the greater our influence in parliament.
INFLUENCE – tell your local state pollie you care about school scripture. How else can they represent you if they don’t know how you feel?
SPREAD THE WORD – write to your local newspaper or any of the state-wide newspapers and get the message out!
Action pack for pastors and parachurch leaders
Do you pastor a church or lead a parachurch ministry? We have put together an action pack to help you get the word out to your congregation and supporters.
This action pack includes:
Background Briefing: Want all the answers? This detailed background briefing will get you up to speed on the NSW government’s changes to SRE and what it means for school scripture.
Talking Points: Scared to raise this from the pulpit? Worried that your congregation might turn on you for talking politics? Maybe you’re just more comfortable preaching on the Bible than on policy. We have prepared a set of clear, non party-partisan talking points that succinctly explain the issue and will empower you to speak out with confidence.
Petition: This is the easiest way for your congregation to get involved. Petitions are the only direct means members of the public have of communicating with the NSW Parliament. Make sure you get as many signatures as possible.
Newsletter Insert: At Make a Stand, we speak in short sentences. We’ve written a 50 word blurb you can copy and paste into your church newsletter to advertise the petition.
For a copy of the school scripture action pack please email David Hutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.