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Wahroonga Public School

Wahroonga Public School

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Religion and Ethics

NSW public schools offer special religious education and special education in ethics, delivered by approved providers wherever available.

The students receive half an hour of Special Religious Instruction (Catholic, Islamic and Protestant groups) provided by visiting teachers each week. Should you not wish your child to participate in the lessons please inform the Principal in writing. Ethics lessons run by trained volunteers and non-scripture both operate as alternatives during scripture time.

Write to the school if you wish to withdraw your child from special religious education, sometimes known as scripture. Special education in ethics is an option for your primary-age child if you withdraw them from special religious education. For more information, visit Religion and ethics.

About religion and ethics

The Education Act 1990 states 'in every government school, time is to be allowed for the religious education of children of any religious persuasion'. Special education in ethics can be offered as a secular alternative to special religious education.

Special religious education

Special religious education (SRE) is education in the beliefs and practices of an approved religious persuasion. Under the Education Act 1990, s. 32, government schools allow time for special religious education. It is delivered by authorised representatives of approved religious groups to students who have nominated that religion. Times for classes are negotiated with the school.

The following links provide additional information about the implementation of SRE.

Special education in ethics

Special education in ethics (SEE) is a program in ethical decision making, action and reflection within a secular framework.

Under the Education Act 1990, s. 33A, government schools provide an option of SEE to students who are not attending SRE, if it is practicable for SEE to be made available.

Primary Ethics is the approved provider of SEE for students K–6.

The following links provide additional information about the implementation of SEE.

Special religious education providers

The following organisations are approved to provide special religious education in public schools. At Wahroonga Public School:

  • Primary Ethics is the approved provider of Special education in ethics for students K–6.
  • Catholic Diocese Broken Bay is the approved provider of Catholic SREStudents explore the Good News about Jesus.  They will learn about God’s love in a safe, fun environment.  Trained SRE teachers use authorised curriculum materials that are interactive and age appropriate.  The lessons are fun and inclusive and focus on love, goodness and hope which helps to build resilience, character and faith.
  • Wahroonga Anglican Church (Anglican Diocese of Sydney) is the approved provider of Christian (Protestant) SRE. For more information about Christian SRE, including the authorised curriculum scope and sequence, please visit the Anglican Diocese of Sydney SRE website.

Voluntary activities

Voluntary student activities of a religious nature in schools (VSA) are any activities of a religious nature, including those provided by religious organisations. VSA is not part of special religious education (SRE) and is not part of the curriculum. VSA operates under the auspices and supervision of the principal.

VSA includes:

  • student and/or volunteer led prayer groups
  • student and/or volunteer led discussion groups of a religious nature
  • breakfast or lunchtime clubs
  • talks organised by visitors of religious organisations
  • distribution of religious materials to students, when it supports local community expectations.

Principals, in their supervision of VSA must ensure that:

  • parental permission is obtained
  • appropriate child protection checks and practices in relation to any volunteers coming from outside the school (see Appendix 10 in the WWCC Policy)
  • the content of the activities undertaken are monitored
  • an attendance register for all students participating is maintained
  • students or members of religious persuasions do not engage in attempts to proselytise or convert non-adherents of their religion to their faith during school authorised activities. Proselytising or converting non-adherents refers to behaviours intended to put pressure on students who do not have permission to participate in VSA.