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

What FIRIS has learned in NSW Lesson One – Parents/caregivers cannot expect active respect for their right to information Following numerous confused and conflicting replies from the NSW Minister for Education and the Department of Education about the status of the final report of the review into Special Religious Education (SRE) and Special Education in Ethics (SEE) review completed last year, FIRIS decided to start its own audit of policy compliance by SRE providers. The Minister for Education was sent a letter today informing him of our preliminary findings. The audit is based on the Department of Education’s current list of ‘Organisations approved to provide Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in NSW Government Schools’, dated 23 June 2016. In consideration of the recent issues regarding the content of the ‘Connect’ SRE instruction materials published by Christian Education Publications, a division of Youthworks Media, the authorised SRE curriculum provider for the Sydney Anglican Diocese, FIRIS thought we would focus first on the accessibility of information regarding the content of SRE lessons which would enable parents/caregivers to make an informed decision about SRE. The Religious Education Implementation Procedures state that an approved SRE provider must “make lesson content accessible on a website or at least provide a program outline and curriculum scope and sequence documents.” FIRIS has found that 61 of the 105 approved SRE providers in NSW do not seem to have the minimum required information regarding their curriculum on their websites which are hyperlinked to the Department’s approved list of providers (see list below). This finding includes those SRE providers whose link to the Department’s list of approved providers was not functioning at the time of the audit and another church whose website was in development. FIRIS welcomes corrections from SRE providers which we will share on our Facebook page. Corrections can be sent to religionsinschool@gmail.com. Please note that corrections must relate to the websites linked to the Department of Education’s approved provider list. *List of Approved SRE Providers allegedly non-compliant with Religious Education Policy and its Implementation Procedures* Anglican Diocese of Sydney Anglican Diocese of Bathurst Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn Anglican Diocese of Riverina Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta Catholic Diocese of Bathurst Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay Catholic Diocese of Lismore Catholic Diocese of Sydney Catholic Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes Catholic Diocese of Wollongong Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia – website in development Associated Christian Ministries Australian Indigenous Ministries (Taree) Clarence Valley Baptist Church (Grafton) Cornerstone Baptist Church (St Clair) Emmanuel Baptist Church (Glenwood) Fellowship Baptist Church (Moorebank) Liberty Baptist Church (Cherrybrook) Metropolitan Baptist Church (Lane Cove) Smithfield Baptist Church (Smithfield) Christian Brethren Assemblies Presbyterian Church of Australia (NSW) Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia Presbyterian Reformed Church The Salvation Army – link on approved providers list not working Christian Reformed Churches of Australia CRC Churches International NSW – link on approved providers list not working Albury Bible Church (Albury) Bathurst Evangelical Church (Bathurst) Central Coast Evangelical Church - EV Church (Erina) Coast Evangelical Church (Forster) Hunter Bible Church (Jesmond) Maitland Evangelical Church (Maitland) Resolve Church (Newtown) The Lakes Evangelical Church (Berkeley Vale) The Point Evangelical Church (Port Macquarie) Wagga Wagga Evangelical Church (Wagga Wagga) Association of Vineyard Churches (Cabramatta) C3 Church - formerly known as Christian City Church (Oxford Falls) Calvary Chapel (Newcastle) – link on approved providers list not working Calvary Chapel (Sydney) Central Life Christian Church (Wyong) Elim Christian Ministries (Gosford) Evangelical Brotherhood Church (Sawtell) Forest Alliance Church (Frenches Forest) Grace Church (Port Macquarie) Gymea People’s Church Inc. (Gymea Bay) Liberty Family Church (West Gosford) Manning Valley Covenant Ministries (Taree) – link on approved providers list not working New Life Christian Fellowship Narrabri Inc. (Narrabri) Oasis Christian Church Inc. (Highfield) Vision Christian Fellowship (Fyshwick) Seventh-Day Adventist Church North NSW Conference (Elermore Vale) Sikh Khalsa Mission Inc. (Quakers Hill) JET Australia Foundation (Sutherland) – link on approved providers list not working Chinmaya Mission Australia (Castle Hill) – link on approved providers list not working Buddhist Council of NSW (St Leonards) Losang Dragpa Kadampa Buddhist Centre (Mayfield) Al-Jaafaria Society Inc. (Arncliffe) Islamic Council of NSW (Greenacre) – link on approved providers list not working ... See MoreSee Less

16 hours ago

Kasspar MesserIt seems that the Minister and the Department have no idea and no interest in what is going on in SRE world.11 hours ago

Kasspar MesserIsn't having their curriculum available on the intranet one of the criteria for approval by the Minister? Why is it that a group of parents need to do the Minister's job for him?11 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In School

In 2012 the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No 2, released a report on the Education Amendment (Ethics Classes Repeal) Bill 2011. The report made a number of recommendations aimed at improving the implementation and delivery of SRE (aka 'scripture') and SEE (aka 'ethics'). Recommendation 14 of the report required ‘a future independent review of both ethics classes and SRE be conducted by appropriately qualified early childhood educational reviewers in 2014-2015'. As an astute member of our present day 2016 community, you may have noticed that the “2014-2015” review has still not seen the light of day, despite being completed over six months ago. While the DoE and the Education Minister Adrian Piccoli continue to 'finalise' the supposed independent report, FIRIS thinks this is a good time to start sharing some of the things that we have learned about the SRE program since we began our NSW campaign in March 2015. FIRIS has also been very busy doing its own audit of SRE provider policy compliance. Stay tuned for a number of upcoming posts on these themes. ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago

Julia EmThat's taking an awfully long time to read a report. Maybe all that curriculum time lost to SRE would have been better spent on reading and comprehension????2 days ago

Dan GuentherIt certainly has a stench of more backroom deals being made with the SRE providers.. It's the same game plan that they used when the enrolment forms were made less transparent.....and the same game plan they used when Gayby Baby was banned.....and the beat goes on and on and on and on....1 day ago