New South Wales to continue Ethics and Special Religious Education Classes

Parliament NSW

The NSW Ethics Education Inquiry report lists a complete review of Special Religious Education and Ethics Education. Among its recommendations is that SRE and Ethics education will continue to be taught in NSW schools and the review will be conducted in 2014-2015.

Ethics classes should continue in NSW government primary schools, according to a report released today by a Parliamentary Committee.

Committee Chair, the Hon Marie Ficarra MLC, said, "We believe that ethics classes should continue and we have recommended that the NSW Government continue to facilitate the delivery of ethics as an option for students who do not attend Special Religious Education (SRE)."

"The Committee has made a number of recommendations that are aimed at improving the implementation and delivery of ethics classes and also SRE. These recommendations relate to increasing the availability of information for parents including factsheets on SRE and ethics, improving access to the SRE and ethics curriculums, ensuring suitable training of volunteer teachers and the collection of statistics on the number of students participating in ethics, SRE and for those students who do not attend either to better help inform policy decisions” Ms Ficarra said."

Ms Ficarra continued: "We have also recommended that the Department of Education and Communities give more guidance to schools on what to do with students who do not attend SRE or ethics classes, including what constitutes adequate supervision for students and what activities these students can be meaningfully engaged in during that timeslot."

"Significantly, we have recommended that a future independent review of both ethics classes and SRE be conducted by appropriately qualified early childhood educational reviewers in 2014-2015 that includes the issues that have been raised in this report” Ms Ficarra stated.

"It is with the key stakeholders in mind, the students, that the Committee has considered the important issues raised in this inquiry and presented a suite of recommendations that uphold the right of choice for students and their parents/carers and advocates improvements in the area of special religious and ethical education” said Ms Ficarra.

A list of the Committee's recommendations may be viewd - The report is on the Committee's website: www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/gpsc2. Hard copies are available on request.

Catherine Byrne, co-founder of REENA, was among the experts who provided evidence informed by research to the Inquiry.

Please find links to the press release and recommendations below:

Full report

Media release and summary of recommendations


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