Primary school principals shut down religious education classes

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Hundreds of primary school principals have stopped offering weekly religious education in schools, despite a department requirement to offer the classes.

Current Education Department guidelines state that principals "must" schedule the contentious ''special religious instruction'' (SRI) classes in the school timetable when accredited and approved instructors are available, but Education Department figures suggest the number of Victorian state schools delivering SRI programs declined by almost a third in the past two years.

In 2011, 940 government schools delivered an SRI program, but by 2013 the number plummeted to 666 – a drop of 274. In real terms, 130,100 students received SRI in 2011, with just 92,808 in 2013.

Christian organisation Access Ministries is the leading provider of instruction, delivering 81 per cent of programs through its weekly 30-minute Christian religious education (CRE) classes.

Joe Kelly has been principal of Cranbourne South Primary School for 15 years, and acknowledged that until two years ago he had been "blindly supporting" Access Ministries' presence. That was until he took a closer look at the actual classes and curriculum.

Written By: Konrad Marshall
continue to source article at theage.com.au

23 COMMENTS

  1. As a UK primary head myself, something chimed with me here: The head’s mistaken belief that this was a requirement and his colleagues’ fear based on this misconception is rife in our now fractured and quite possibly doomed system. It clearly wasn’t something the providers were going to mention unless they had to (as above).

    The key point being the correction: This story has been altered. The original story said there was a legal obligation to run religion classes where a teacher was available, but it is only an Education Department guideline.

    For us it is a call to arms, stand tall and say ‘No’ to nonsense. We are maybe 20 years late on this one, but still better now than never.

  2. It’s great to see bold moves being made.

    If I can make a small suggestion for the posting stories on your site, it would be helpful to include the relevant city/country. For example, “Cranbourne, Australia – Hundreds of primary school principals have stopped …”

  3. It’s great to see bold moves being made.

    If I can make a small suggestion for the posting stories on your site, it would be helpful to include the relevant city/country. For example, “Cranbourne, Australia – Hundreds of primary school principals have stopped …”

  4. @OP link – Correction: This story has been altered. The original story said there was a legal obligation to run religion classes where a teacher was available, but it is only an Education Department guideline.

    If it’s only a guideline, then more schools should read the small print and dump this counter-educational waste of time conducted by proselytising amateurs.

  5. I like the “when” in …

    “… when accredited and approved instructors are available,…”

    Unless the instructors can demonstrate/proove the existance of god/s in every lesson, they should not be accredited

  6. It’s good that they cut this rubbish.
    What I would like to see is that they instead have a class ‘critical thinking’ : where you are encouraged to bring up topics, have discussions, etc…

    That would also be a good place to talk about religions.

    This would really prepare children for the future, and it would be a lot more fun than memorizing bible verses :-)

  7. Notice the aggressive tone used by the interviewer. He had made up his mind that this fellow was in the wrong and was trying to beat him into submission. I was relieved to hear that the principal didn’t miss a beat. Bravo!

  8. I’d be really pissed if I went through my childs work and there was religious stuff in there. Once, when visiting my daughters kindergarten class, I saw a bunch of words on a white board as if listing some example words for each letter. Low-and-behold, there was “God” for g. I didn’t say anything, but was really astonished. Could the, obviously Catholic teacher, not think of another g-word?

  9. Access Ministries still spreading the Christian message in Victorian Schools:

    Parents and teachers have called for an urgent overhaul of religious education in schools after year 6 children were given material claiming girls who wear revealing clothes are inviting sexual assault, and homosexuality, masturbation and sex before marriage are sinful.

    Read more

  10. I suggest that instead of this class. they be given the opportunity to watch Richard Dawkins’ “The Genius of Charles Darwin.” This will give the students a much better chance of learning reality based thinking about our planet and its wonderful potential.

    On another unrelated issue, I recently received an invitation to have dinner with Mr. Dawkins as I am a member of this site, but this is not financially possible for me at this time. I am certain a few lucky folks will cherish this unique experience for the remainder of their lives. Enjoy!

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