Primary Ethics was established to provide schoolchildren with the space to explore ethical dilemmas.
Following almost eight years of lobbying by parents, the Federation of P&C Associations of NSW and The Ethics Centre, the NSW Parliament amended the NSW Education Act on 1 December 2010 to give students who don’t attend Special Religious Education/Scripture classes in NSW public schools the legal right to attend philosophical ethics classes as an alternative to supervised ‘private study.’
The NSW Government tasked The Ethics Centre with developing and delivering ethics education classes in urban, regional and rural primary schools.
The Ethics Centre promptly established Primary Ethics Ltd, an independent not-for-profit organisation, to develop an engaging, age-appropriate, interconnected curriculum that spans the primary years from Kindergarten to Year 6 and to then deliver ethics education free of charge via a network of specially trained and accredited volunteers.
Since then, ethics classes have been implemented in over 500 schools in NSW and Primary Ethics has established itself as a highly effective education provider within the public school system.
Primary Ethics is an independent not-for-profit organisation approved for deductible gift recipient status and is the sole approved provider of ethics classes to NSW public schools.
To support children to develop skills in ethical reasoning, critical thinking and respectful discussion by enabling community volunteers to deliver ethics classes in public primary schools.
To grow our program so that all parents have the option of choosing ethics classes for their child.
Primary Ethics is a child-focused organisation that values:
We respect the rights of parents and carers to make informed choices about the most suitable option for their child. We create learning environments in which children practise respectful discussion. We respect the teaching environments and requirements of each school community and behave in a way that earns respect within each school community.
We employ robust recruitment and screening practices to ensure the integrity of our volunteers and the highest standards in child safety. We use a strong evidence base in the design of our curriculum and strive for continuous improvement. We are open and transparent about our teaching methods and curriculum.
We provide a secular learning environment in which students of all faiths or no faith can learn together. Our volunteer ethics teachers impartially facilitate discussions, supporting children to develop the skills to form their own judgements on ethical issues. Our curriculum is independently developed, reviewed and approved.
Our teacher training and curriculum are continuously improved to ensure excellence in the classroom. We provide classroom support and ongoing training to help volunteers improve their classroom skills. We welcome volunteer, parent and school feedback to improve our training, curriculum, systems and processes.
In ethics classes children learn that ethical issues are more easily understood by talking with others than by thinking alone. Members of the school and broader communities work together to provide ethics education for children. We rely on volunteers, donors, corporate partners and many others working with us to make this program a reality — thank you!