Last year Labor and the Coalition pledged bi-partisan support to the provision of Special Religious Education in Schools.But, more recently, the NSW Teachers Federation, has attacked Special Religious Education in school time.
Successive governments since early settlement have acknowledged the unique and positive contribution to ethics and human flourishing that religion provides by allowing the study of scripture in schools, this is something which now extends to all faiths, acknowledging the changing religious makeup of our various states and territories.
Special Religious Education in our State’s public schools provides many benefits to students. It is effective at teaching ethics about right and wrong, it is good for student’s mental health. It also allows students to explore deeper questions of faith and belief in a safe environment. SRE is not limited to Christians and any faith which registers can participate. Other faiths already engaging include Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist. Parents choose whether their child attends SRE classes, and there are alternative options of Special Ethics Education or No Religion.
It is important that all parties going into this election show their support of existing SRE arrangements which places the lessons within school hours.