FIRIS CLAIMS VICTORY!
August 21, 2015

Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino has announced that Special Religious Instruction (SRI) will be removed from school hours in 2016. SRI will be taken out of class-time and treated as an elective.

Instead, children in Victorian public schools will be taught about the major religions which make up our multicultural community, together with secular humanism and ethics – by class teachers as part of the official curriculum.

This is the prize we have been working for since FIRIS formed in 2011. And today the dream is a reality! FIRIS is grateful to the thousands of parent supporters. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

AIMS OF FIRIS

  • Maintain an inclusive school curriculum that does not require any student to withdraw from class on account of different religious beliefs, or none.
  • Formally cease the practice of volunteer-run Religious Instruction (SRI/SRE) during school hours.
  • Follow an objective, fair and balanced comparative syllabus for education about religions and beliefs.
  • Treat all religious organisations who wish to use the school facilities outside of the school day with transparent and equitable policies.

FIRIS is a parent-driven grassroots effort.  

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The main discussion between supporters is on our Facebook Page. Read the recent discussions and remember to LIKE us!

Fairness In Religions In School

Mike Baird and SRE supporters DO NOT WANT YOU TO SEE this video*. If you ever wondered: - Why the Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli proclaimed to Fred Nile in parliament last month that “The Government is not changing the policy around scripture classes” - Why Minister Piccoli made the comment in spite of the fact that the DE website claim that they are “reviewing the findings and recommendations” of the 2015 review. - Why the DE will not make public the findings and recommendations of the $300,000.00 SRE review. - Why the Department of Education continue to ignore a primary recommendation of the 2011/2012 SRE inquiry to collect statistics on the number of students participating in SEE, SRE (and for those who do not attend either) to help inform policy decisions. - Why principals are able to declare their schools “mission fields” in video fundraisers. - Why SRE providers refer to themselves as “government endorsed evangelists”. - Why SRE providers are able to advertise employee REQUIREMENTS to speak to students on the playground to encourage them to attend SRE. - Why the DE has no explicit policy regarding proselytising outside of SRE. - Why the majority of SRE providers seem to not have to adhere to the DE policy to post their curriculum on a website. - Why the Premier personally interfered with the SRE enrolment process to adhere to the wishes of ICCOREIS and other SRE providers**. - Why the Education Minister has been quick and responsive to any perceived parental concerns regarding DE vetted Safe Schools Materials and meanwhile...... - Why the Education Minister takes no action in response to the flawed and inappropriate Connect curriculum materials which were reviewed in Queensland and found to contain material that may encourage undesirable child safe behaviours likened by the DET to “grooming”, insulting language with regards to disabled and indigenous students and content that encourages SRE instructors to proselytise to students. Did we mention the ill-advised lesson on mixing cordial and the bleach? Vampires?? - Why the Education Minister has refused to meet with FIRIS regarding our concerns regarding the Connect materials and the QLD review. - Why time after time, incident after incident, SRE breach after SRE breach, the demands of special interest religious groups take precedence over the rights of parents and the Department’s duty of care responsibilities to students. Well wonder no more because FIRIS believe this video taken September 2015 explains it all. “I can't separate myself from my faith. You know, I am who I am" explains the Premier. "... I'm not going to distance what I believe from who I am, and, in that context, I think SRE should remain as part of our schools and will remain as part of schools while I'm there.” So now you know it is NOT the findings and recommendations of any independent SRE review that matters. It is NOT the rights of parents that matters. It is NOT even the duty of care to students that matters. SRE policy is all about Mike Baird's personal faith. For this reason, SRE will remain a part of schools as long as he is there. This is an appalling disgrace. We encourage concerned parents to share this post far and wide. *FIRIS say this because at the time of this post, the Warawee Anglican Church website has ‘technical difficulties’ with the video at the precise moment when the Premier accidentally told the truth about how his personal faith forms SRE policy. Coincidence? We don't think so. http://warraweeanglican.org.au/god-and-politics/ **ICCOREIS Media statement http://www.iccoreis.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/June_Enrolment_Form_Media_Release-3.pdf ... See MoreSee Less

6 days ago

Human Rights Advocacy AustraliaThank you FIRIS6 days ago

Kasspar MesserWhat is going on in NSW? The whole scripture thing seems to be out of control! Public servants have no right to place their personal faith over and above the rights of children and their parents. Churches need to be removed from our public schools! World religions need to be taught by professional teachers using materials developed by education departments.6 days ago

Dean CunninghamHopefully he will get the flick at the next election. Do the NSW opposition have a position on SRE?6 days ago

Dan GuentherWrong, wrong, wrong. If there was ever a question why the independent SRE review was buried, there shouldn't be now.6 days ago

Bat MelIf the next Premier happened to be Muslim, or Buddhist, or Scientologist, would Baird support the same approach by them, I wonder?6 days ago

Dan Goodsirgreat work FIRIS ... it is IMPERATIVE that everyone PLEASE share this on facebook... the more people know about this corruption the more chance NSW has of ridding SRE from the public school system and parents of NSW public school students will no longer be treated like idiots... PLEASE SHARE6 days ago

James KingClearly no one has heard of the separation of church and state in NSW.6 days ago

Conrad Henley-CalvertSo glad I'm part of a church that doesn't deliver SRE. In the past I've been part of a church in NSW where one of the SRE volunteers had to resign before the school banned her from the grounds.6 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolHere's a Transcript of that clip -- "... this, um ...I can't separate myself from my faith. You know, I am who I am; and what is important to me is important to me ..and how I live and act and respond, hopefully, is shown in that, ah, and, you know, their reflection on that ..which comes back a little bit to your question .. was their headline ...b/c they did a whole sort of review on my time at Regent College and what that meant, and their headline ... was Dangerous Devotion ..ah ..b/c this clearly. must. mean. bad. things. in the sense of ... his question[?] agenda is going to roll over the top of all of us, um, and in some respects there's an element .. and the element is in the institutional arrangements that effectively I've inherited, and, looking at it, so the legislation .. using the example of Michael, of SRE ..um there is ..an evolving connectedness that's come in that, ah, I see myself as steward of that relationship ..um ..I'm not going to distinct/[distance(?)] what I believe from who I am, and, in that context, I think, ah, SRE should remain as part of our schools and Will remain as part of schools while I'm there ..so that's reflecting the, I guess, institutional arrangements, but obviously I'm not taking out what I believe in relation to that."6 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolFrom Mike Baird's Chief of Staff, Bay Warburton, who also attended Regent Theology College with him - "Mike and I have also been able to use his position as a means of encouraging churches and Christian organizations ... ... I am reminded that I am still God’s child, that he is sovereign, and that my calling, in whatever situation, is to work joyfully for and to his glory." https://mosaic.regent-college.edu/blog_articles/20736 days ago

Laura EganMakes me so mad, I can't even formulate a legible response. Just wrong on so many levels.6 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolParents and caregivers need to withdraw their children from SRE. FIRIS has serious concerns that the Minister for Education and the Department of Education cannot fulfil their duty of care to all students while SRE is being held. Parents and caregivers need to look at the findings of the Queensland report on the Sydney Anglican's Connect SRE material to see the problem with the current situation where the Minister has no control over what is taught in SRE.6 days ago

Dan GuentherPlease let shadow minister for Education Jihad Dib know how you feel about this. He has just started a post regarding education policy.6 days ago

Tom PetrusSpread this out and install a copy on You Tube.6 days ago

Jim LittleThere's nothing wrong with Baird supporting His religious community's tradition of providing SRE, but when he does it in a way that disadvantages other communities or other sections of society, such as by changing the enrolment forms, or not providing good overall data or information about various aspects of SRE, such as whether it is really as popular as SRE providers assert, then there is a PROBLEM.6 days ago

Darren StopsThe Seven Mountains Strategy overtly being enacted.6 days ago

Tommy SpoorThanks for all the work you guys do.5 days ago

Mark FyfeGet getup involved, NSW is in trouble. When magical thinkers are in control anything could happen. Get him out is the only way forward5 days ago

Fairness In Religions In School

****UPDATE ON 2015 REVIEW OF SRE AND SEE**** You will recall there was a 2015 government review on SRE and SEE to the tune of $300,000.00. ARTD consultants completed the review in December 2015. FIRIS were advised that the Minister for Education then recommended changes to the report which were finalised by ARTD in early to mid-March. However, the Department is refusing to release this public funded report. The explanation that we receive is “The review is now complete and the findings and recommendations are being considered by the Department. The review is not yet publically available.” The same response is posted on the DEC website: http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/about-us/statistics-and-research/public-reviews-and-enquiries/special-religious-education-review Mr. Alex Greenwich MP recently asked these straightforward questions to the Minister in parliament: (1) When was the Review of Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in New South Wales Government schools completed? (2) When was a report delivered to Government? (3) When will the report be made publicly available? (4) When will the Government respond to the report? Mr Greenwich received this dismissive response from the Minister one month later: Answer—(1) to (4) The Department is currently considering the report on of the Review. For over six months, everyone in the NSW public has received the same response: The findings and recommendations are being considered by the Department... The findings and recommendations are being considered by the Department... The findings and recommendations are being considered by the Department... The findings and recommendations are being considered by the Department.. Yet there is one man who recently received a completely different response. On 29 August 2016, the “Reverend the Honourable” Fred Nile of the Christian Democrat Party had this exchange with Minister Piccoli at a NSW budget meeting: **************************************************** Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: Another area that concerns me is the pressure on the school chaplaincy and Christian scripture classes. Are you and your department giving your full support to securing the future of Christian chaplaincy in New South Wales and Christian scripture classes in our State? Mr ADRIAN PICCOLI: The Government is not changing the policy around scripture classes. https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/InquiryEventTranscript/Transcript/9737/Transcript%20-%20Uncorrected%20-%20160829%20-%20GPSC3%20-%20Education%20-%20Piccoli.pdf ********************************************************** Well there you have it folks! The Department really cannot consider the findings and recommendations of the SRE report. How can they when the Education Minister has publicly declared in parliament that “THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT CHANGING THE POLICY AROUND SCRIPTURE CLASSES”??. It appears that SRE policy is being driven by the demands of special interest religious groups. It appears that their demands are taking priority over the rights of parents. It appears that their demands are taking priority over the duty of care to NSW students. It appears that the NSW public are not receiving the truth about the $300,000.00 SRE Review. This is how SRE policy is made in NSW. ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

Kay ClarkeSo all of that money went into the coffers of the consultants. It would seem that they found many things wrong with SEE/SRE and so the report will not see the light of day. Appalling to hide the truth from parents and the community. What don't they want anyone to know and where is the transparency around the use of tax payers money? Something is very wrong in NSW.1 week ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolIt's completely unacceptable and we are doing everything possible to unearth the report Kay.1 week ago

Jim LittleIs the report being fredited?1 week ago

Jonathan CrowtherHi Matt Kean, I don't intend doing anything to spoil your birthday and I hope it's a good one. However, I would be interested in your comment regarding the claims made in this post.1 week ago