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!


  • 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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Fairness In Religions In School

This afternoon, we received advice from the DET about Ministerial Direction 145 and the new guidelines relating to SRI in Victoria for 2016. We have posted the summary we received from the DET below, but the full guidelines and the new consent form can be accessed here - The key points are: * Lunchtime SRI must be supervised by a least one classroom teacher at all times. * Treats and enticements are forbidden. * Proselytising and using the schools as a recruiting ground for other religious activities is forbidden. * Principals have full control and discretion over whether or not to conduct SRI - for any reason. (was previously only for "operational reasons") On first inspection, we are very happy with these guidelines and are particularly glad that the classes will be supervised by teachers. We expect that this will all but kill off SRI in Victoria, as only very small numbers of parents will want their children to lose their lunchtimes and schools will be reluctant to devote their scarce staff resources to supervising this activity. We welcome your thoughts! ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago

Lisel ThomasMy reading is that programs run before or after school - not just those run at lunchtime - would also need to be supervised by a teacher.2 days ago

Lisel ThomasInteresting that they are still limiting SRI to 30 mins per week, even when it's outside of school hours. I wonder if that is going to make it difficult for providers that were going to try to offer it as a de facto after school care program.2 days ago

Lisel ThomasHmmm, principals must ensure the instructor is not a government school teacher. It's not quite clear whether this just means a teacher at that particular school. Otherwise, it suggests you can't be an SRI instructor if you also work as a Casual Relief Teacher.1 day ago

Jim LittleThere's some weird terminology in there eg. "A 'school delivering SRI' must provide a suitable place for instruction to occur." (probably should be something like " a school at which SRI is to be delivered must provide a suitable place for instruction to occur").1 day ago

Alison CourticeOnly program materials available online for parents to access can be used in SRI. So to me that means all program materials, namely the instructor manuals that contain the whole program. Access won't like that. How will they make any money from selling them?1 day ago

Kay ClarkeI am amazed that the union is cool with this. Why should out of hours or lunchtime supervision of SRI be required of teachers. Teachers use before and after school time and often lunchtimes as preparation time etc, not to mention before and after school and lunchtime yard duties. Why should this onerous task be added to their day? SRI should not be in our schools at all. Only good thing that can be said is that it is not taking up valuable curriculum time anymore. For this we must be grateful. Thanks to FIRIS.1 day ago

Lisel ThomasI like that the views of the School Council and the school community are identified as relevant considerations when the principal is deciding whether or not to delivery SRI. and that their own own personal views about religion or their personal religious beliefs or practices are not.1 day ago

Lisel ThomasAll in all, it looks pretty good to me! Time for a positive letter to the Minister for Education, I think.1 day ago

Heike ReichSounds really good. I can imagine the supervision by teachers will be a bit like yard duty and the school will have to decide if they want this extra impost.1 day ago

Heike ReichAh Shelley. You beat me to it!1 day ago

Stuart MacLeodMeanwhile back in QLD ... we are still trying to get clarity on what our guidelines actually mean1 day ago

Adam GoudgeThat's really good news, the beginning of the end is nigh1 day ago

Harry GordonFairness achieved. (Folds map and tucks it into robe)1 day ago

Robert McLeanFair and thorough.21 hours ago