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

“Voodoo” creationism taught in SRE to high school students in Newcastle. It’s banned from science classrooms in Australia, USA and UK yet as Colleen Ricci reported for the SMH in 2015 “Creationism may be gone from the curriculum but it still finds its way into some schools.” In 2014 the UK government banned the teaching of creationism as a scientific theory in public schools because it was unscientific and “is (even) rejected by most mainstream churches and religious traditions”. With the separation of church and state observed in the United States, the teaching of creationism in public schools is considered "unconstitutional" under the law. Creationism cannot be taught as science in Australian public schools either. Ricci explains: “Scientists overwhelmingly object to the teaching of creationism as scientific fact. They say scientific knowledge is based upon observation, questioning and the pursuit of evidence, while creationist theories cannot be scientifically tested or proven……David Leidner, of US group Atheists United, says teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution is akin to teaching voodoo as an alternative to medicine". In Newcastle students from two schools serviced by the Warners Bay Education Association (WBCEA), Warners Bay and West Wallsend high schools are taught creationism as a factual explanation for the existence of the Earth and all life upon it in SRE. In 2010 the then (and quite possibly still) chairman of the Warners Bay Christian Education Association Rev. Lyndon Keeley told the SMH: ''Through the scripture classes we can give students more information, so they can make up their own minds…………Students are taught evolution (in Biology), which they assume and believe to be true. We give an alternative view.'' FIRIS is aware that SRE has presented creationism as fact in other NSW schools. Startlingly this topic in the SRE curriculum was being taught to year 9 students to counter the Board of Studies biology curriculum which teaches evolution to year 9 students. If the NSW Department of Education is looking for possible reasons why academic standards are falling in schools then they would do well to begin by looking at Warners Bay and West Wallsend High and schools like them that present non-evidence based theories to students as fact. ... See MoreSee Less

18 minutes ago

Julia EmIn Qld too, of course... From the blog of an RI volunteer on the Gold coast.8 minutes ago

Fairness In Religions In School

Opinion in the Otago Times (New Zealand): Religious education not reflecting NZ society In the culmination of a four-year battle, parent Jeff McClintock sought permission to bring an appeal to the Supreme Court of New Zealand in October. His case contested the right of his child's school to hold Christian religious instruction classes during the school day, in the light of the Bill of Rights Act which protects freedom of religion and belief. It was dismissed on grounds of there being no ``matter of public importance'' at stake or ``any appearance of a miscarriage of justice'' if the appeal were not granted. The legislation upon which current practices are based is 52 years old. The issue of religion in education has long been ducked by government and by most educationalists. But immigration has brought a great increase in religious diversity - particularly to New Zealand's cities where the majority of children live. Here's the problem. The Churches Education Commission (CEC) has a legal right to promote Christian beliefs in state primary schools under Section 78 of the 1964 Education Act, if boards of trustees are agreeable. Legislators in the early 1960s rightly assumed religious instruction by church volunteers would meet the approval of the vast majority of parents. At a time when about 90% of the population affiliated to Christianity, Bible in Schools had ``social legitimacy''. It met a social need. It is much harder to make a case for the social legitimacy of Christian instruction in state schools today. ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

Dan Goodsir"These times are a changing" ... and for the better... hopefully this out of date legislation gets the change it needs, here and abroad.... thanks for posting Fairness In Religions In School1 week ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolThe relevant piece of legislation in NSW has not essentially changed since 1880. It is time to step out of the 19th Century and into the 21st.1 week ago

Jim Little'Bible in Schools' was not a thing in NZ in the 60s or 70s.1 week ago