There has been some discussion in the media this week about Special Religious Education (SRE or scripture) in our public schools. A parent-driven group from Victoria called FIRIS (Fairness In Religion In Schools) put up an anti scripture billboard in Liverpool on Tuesday. This is what the billboard looks like:
I’m actually not too worried about the billboard. I don’t think it will shock too many people and how great is it that a truth of God’s word is up there on a busy intersection for all to see! Let’s pray that God would use it to bring people to himself. One Christian commentator said that it reminded him of Joseph in Genesis saying ‘You meant it for harm but God used it for good’.
That said, as Christians we want to be equipped to talk about SRE in the public sphere (1 Peter 3:15). We also want to be transparent and above reproach as we teach and talk about SRE in our schools.
In light of all this here are some facts about Special Religious Education (SRE) in NSW:
1. SRE has been part of NSW schooling since 1849. It is offered in most NSW government primary schools and a majority of students across NSW attend.
2. The current NSW Education Act requires that time be allocated for religious education in all government schools.
3. SRE allows approved providers, usually from local churches, to enter government schools during school hours, and teach about their distinctive beliefs, values and practices.
4. The DEC requires that each SRE provider uses an authorised curriculum. The curriculum we use in our local primary school has been developed by Youthworks and published by CEP. It has been approved to be used in NSW schools.
5. Teachers must be registered, authorised, accredited, approved and trained. Youthworks has now trained over 2000 SRE teachers. They also run training to keep teachers up to date with their accreditation.
6. It is the right of each parent to enrol their child in, or withdraw their child from SRE at any time.
7. It is the school’s job to inform parents about the practice of SRE at the school and parents can contact the school at any point seeking information on what their child is being taught during SRE.
Please continue to pray for SRE in our schools:
- Thank God for this wonderful opportunity to teach Biblical truths to children whose parents have opted them in for it
- Pray that we would continue to have this opportunity
- Pray for those who are debating this in the public sphere, that they would be honest, humble and wise as they speak
- Pray that our scripture teachers would be faithful, honest and transparent as they teach in our schools
- Pray that God would use SRE to grow children to know and love Jesus more
If you want more information about SRE head to WhySRE.com.au
N.B. Some of this content has been taken straight from the Generate and Youthworks websites.