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NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre Implementing Ethics Classes in NSW Public Schools Presenter’s name, Presenter’s title.

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Presentation on theme: "NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre Implementing Ethics Classes in NSW Public Schools Presenter’s name, Presenter’s title."— Presentation transcript:

1 NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre Implementing Ethics Classes in NSW Public Schools Presenter’s name, Presenter’s title

2 NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre Legislative change The Education Act 1990 was amended in December 2010 to allow schools to offer classes in ethics for students who have been granted exemption from attending special religious education i.e. at the time when special religious education classes are being provided Students are exempted from special religious education if: no religion or no recognised religion is stated on their school enrolment form a parent writes to the principal to request exemption from scripture The religion identified on the enrolment form does not have a corresponding SRE class Whilst a bill was introduced to the NSW Parliament in August 2011 to repeal this legislation it has not been passed.

3 Legislation – NSW Education Act Legislation for special religious education can be found in section 32 and 33 in the Education Act 1990 which states: Up to one hour a week should be allowed for SRE; Students are to be taught SRE by a member of the clergy of the faith group they identify with; Curriculum is authorised by the religious body; Time for religious education is chosen by agreement between the principal and the religious leader; Children attending SRE are to be separated from other children at the school; If a SRE teacher fails to attend, children are to be appropriately supervised; and No child in a government school is required to receive any religious education if the parent objects.

4 NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre Primary Ethics, a separate organisation established by St James Ethics Centre, is the only approved provider of ethics classes in NSW public schools Primary Ethics is responsible for appointing and training ethics coordinators and volunteer teachers Primary Ethics is also responsible for the curriculum provided in these classes, although the department ensures it is age appropriate. Ethics classes can only be offered where an ethics coordinator has been appointed by Primary Ethics and trained volunteer teachers are available Ethics classes are currently only being provided for students in Year 5 and 6 Ethics providers

5 NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre Schools can express interest in offering ethics classes by notifying Primary Ethics at Primary Ethics will notify a school if a coordinator and volunteer teachers are available. Schools can notify their school community that ethics classes may be offered. This can be done through school newsletters, notes home etc. It should be made clear that ethics classes are only available to students exempted from special religious education and that this exemption is based on what is provided on the school enrolment form or a letter to the principal requesting exemption. Establishing ethics classes

6 NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre If the religious group that a student identifies on the enrolment form does not provide SRE then students can be offered another scripture class or a non-SRE option. Students who have exemption from special religious education can be offered supervised non-SRE OR ethics classes if available. Supervised non-special religious education cannot consist of activities that could be interpreted as “in competition” with special religious education or activities that students who attend special religious education would be disadvantaged by not attending. Establishing ethics classes

7 NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre The final decision to run ethics classes lies with the school principal. The principal should consider: whether Primary Ethics has appointed a coordinator for this school whether trained volunteer teachers are available whether there are sufficient students to establish a class whether there is an appropriate teaching space available. Establishing ethics classes


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