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.

The Religious education implementation procedures will be superseded by the Special religious education procedures (PDF 379KB) in 2019. The department has worked collaboratively with the NSW Consultative Committee for SRE to revise the SRE procedures in line with recommendations from the 2015 Review of Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in NSW Government schools.

The SRE procedures have been revised to strengthen accountability and to provide clarity for parents/caregivers, approved providers and schools. The sections in the current Religious education implementation procedures that don't relate directly to SRE, are available in a separate document, Other activities of a religious nature in schools (PDF 254KB).

Approved providers and schools will prepare to implement the new procedures during 2018 with full implementation to be completed for term 1, 2019.

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.

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

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

The Special education in ethics implementation procedures will be superseded by the Special education in ethics procedures (PDF 376KB) in 2019. The department has worked collaboratively with the NSW Consultative Committee for SEE to revise the SEE procedures in line with recommendations from the 2015 Review of Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in NSW Government schools.

The SEE procedures have been revised to strengthen accountability and to provide clarity for parents/caregivers, approved providers and schools.

Approved providers and schools will prepare to implement the new procedures during 2018 with full implementation to be completed for term 1, 2019.

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