Most of you will be aware that DEECD changed its SRI policy during the initial stages of the VCAT discrimination case. While that was several months ago, DEECD has made no attempt (that we’re aware of) to inform schools of the new policy. The new policy has significant impact on schools. Most importantly, it changes the system from ‘opt-out’ to ‘opt-in’.
FIRIS has sent a letter to the School Councils of every government primary schools across Victoria explaining the changes. The letter asks the School Council to ensure that they are complying with the new policy, and – if necessary – to make changes to the way their school runs SRI. It also informs the Councils that they are allowed to survey their school community to determine what level of support SRI has, and asks them to consider passing a motion indicating that the School Council is committed to maintaining an inclusive school curriculum that does not require any student to withdraw from class on account of different religious beliefs.
The letters have been posted today and include a FIRIS brochure and an information sheet explaining the new DEECD school policy for SRI and the changes and implications for schools. We will get a copy of the information sheet up on this website soon.
What you can do …
- Follow it up with your own School Council. Make sure they got it.
- Push for the new opt-in form to be distributed to all students.
- Offer your support for a motion indicating that the School Council does not support the practice of volunteer-run SRI during school hours.
- Be a general fountain of information for all school councilors – make sure they are aware that you know all about the issue and can either answer their questions or put them in touch with someone who can (us).
- Let us know what happens!