Information for families

All human beings understand life through a particular worldview.  As a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, the provision of SRE within the NSW State School system recognises this reality and gives freedom to parents to choose which worldview their children will be taught, within which they will make sense of the knowledge they gain from the rest of the school program.

There are families who don't see themselves as active committed church members but who still recognise the benefits of their children being taught the basics of the Christian faith and worldview at school.

Christian SRE gives students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the basic tenets of Christian faith, explore their beliefs and values, engage with ethical issues from a faith perspective, and discover how people apply faith to life.

“As a child of non-religious parents, SRE was the only place I was challenged to think about, religion and my own worldview. I did not become a Christian until much later in life, but I valued SRE for building my interest in all sorts of questions of faith. As a parent, I chose to send my children to a public school over a faith-based school because SRE exists in NSW schools. My children could mix, learn and grow up in a multi-faith, multi-cultural environment which values choice and religious belief.”   John

The rights of parents are recognised by the NSW Department of Education:  

  • The right to religious education for their child/ren: Parents have the right for their children to receive instruction in their religious persuasion, where authorised teachers of that persuasion are available.
  • The right of choice: Parents can choose to enrol their child in, or withdraw their child from, any form of SRE at any time, without being required to state any reason. They can also nominate an alternative persuasion where their preferred choice of SRE is unavailable or for other reasons. Parents/caregivers also have the right to choose not to have their children attend SRE. Notification of any changes in enrolment in SRE, or intended withdrawal, should be given to the school in writing.
  • The right to information: Parents have the right to be informed how SRE will be organised each year and which religious organisations will deliver it.

(DoE, Religious Education Implementation Procedures, 2016)

 

The school is responsible to inform parents:

  • about the nature of SRE at the school, including the religious persuasions providing SRE and the arrangements which will be made for those students whose parents indicate that they are not to attend SRE,
  • that they can nominate an SRE class they want their child to attend
  • that they may nominate an alternative persuasion, where SRE is not offered for students of a particular religious persuasion or for other reasons

In addition to this, parents are free to request information about the content of SRE lessons. This should be done by approaching the school. It is then the school’s responsibility to contact the providers of SRE to forward this information to parents. SRE providers are required to maintain a program overview, curriculum scope and sequence documents publically available on a website.

“When I was a primary school student, I remember how much I loved SRE. The things I learnt were so valuable. I learnt how to make good choices... to know that God had made me ... that I wasn’t a mistake ... that I was loved. These things had a deep impact in my life.” Nicole

I have really appreciated having Scripture in our schools. I work in a hospital emergency department; this week one of my colleagues said to me that he was keen for his child to go to school and receive a religious education. My colleague is a Buddhist but was keen for his child to learn about Jesus so that she could decide for herself whether to be a Buddhist or a Christian or neither. I draw your attention to the fact that it is not just Christians who are keen for Scripture in schools to continue.
Mirrilee