Media Release 11 October 2016

Ready for big school: New website schools parents on ethics class option

As parents and carers around the state prepare their four and five year olds for ‘big school’, charity Primary Ethics has launched a new website to help ease the enrolment process.

Since the option for ethics classes was removed from the Department of Education enrolment form last year, it has become difficult for parents and carers to opt for ethics classes, with only a box provided in which to nominate the student’s religion.

Primary Ethics, the approved provider of ethics education in NSW primary schools, was established in 2010 to give children who didn’t attend SRE (Special Religious Education or ‘scripture’) at primary school the opportunity to attend ethics classes. Primary Ethics recruits and trains parents and other community members to deliver the classes in their local schools.

In ethics classes, students learn skills in critical thinking and collaborative inquiry to help prepare them to tackle life’s ethical issues.

Despite the additional administrative burden that the current enrolment form has placed on parents, carers and school staff alike, participation in ethics classes continues to rise, with around 32,000 students set to recommence in term 4.

CEO Leonie Johnson hopes the new website, primaryethics.com.au, will assist parents to understand their options.

“Parents typically find out about ethics classes through word of mouth and so there are many parts of the state where parents aren’t aware of ethics as an option,” Primary Ethics’ CEO Leonie Johnson said.

“We’ve designed the website to give parents, schools, supporters and the general public access to information about our program and the opportunity to be involved.”

The new site, primaryethics.com.au, was completed in-house with the help of volunteers and using low-cost software. It provides a guide to the curriculum, written by Dr Sue Knight, a specialist in education and philosophy, as well as practical guidance on setting up classes at a school or applying for a volunteer role. Donations are also processed via the website, which are essential as the charity receives no government funding.

“We also hope the website will attract interested companies who’d like to partner with us to ensure children who would like to attend ethics classes have the opportunity to do so,” Ms Johnson said. “This could involve workplace volunteering, in-kind support or help with promotion. Our aim is for all parents and carers to be aware that ethics classes are an option for their children.”

-End of Release-

Contacts
Media enquiries:
Heidi McElnea, Communications Manager (02) 8068 7752 or email communications@primaryethics.com.au.
Corporate partnerships and donations: Leonie Johnson, Chief Executive Officer (02) 8068 7752 or email leonie.johnson@primaryethics.com.au.
Volunteering and general enquiries: info@primaryethics.com.au or (02) 8068 7752

About Primary Ethics:
Primary Ethics was established to provide ethics education for children.

By providing curriculum and training, we enable community volunteers to deliver ethics classes in schools. We have developed a curriculum designed for each stage from K – 6.

The classes happen once a week during the SRE/SEE (Special Religious Education/ Special Education in Ethics) timeslot. Anyone from any religious background – or from none at all – is welcome to participate.

In ethics classes, children learn to think critically and discuss respectfully in order to make decisions about ethical issues. These skills have a lifelong benefit for the child.