Ethics-based Alternative to SRE

Children whose parents elect for them to opt out of Special Religious Education (SRE) are prohibited by law from them being offered any form of instruction (including ethics, values, civics or general religious education) during that period. Since 2003, the St James Ethics Centre has been working to introduce an ethics-based alternative for children not attending SRE classes. The Centre has proposed a pilot project to test the concept of offering a class of this kind, and so far seven primary schools in NSW have elected to participate. The project is now awaiting approval of the NSW Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Verity Firth. The project will involve collaboration between the Centre and Professor Philip Cam, who will bring expertise in ethics-based teaching and philosophy for children. Professor Cam is based at The University of New South Wales, and earlier this year presented some of his work to our P&C. Our school may participate in the pilot project once it receives Ministerial approval, but this depends in part on support within the body of parents. The pilot is for years 5 and 6 only, but if successful may lead to the classes being offered in younger years. You can express your support by signing this petition.

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Catherine Suttle

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