Newcastle volunteers help shape the future of ethics education

How do we help children make wise decisions in their lives today, while equipping them to be responsible leaders for tomorrow? That was one of the questions posed at the Primary Ethics conference held at the University of Newcastle on Saturday, where 60 volunteers met to workshop strategies for making ethics education available to more students in local primary schools.

Another focus of the day was to support volunteers’ professional development in their roles as facilitators and organisers of ethics classes.

Volunteers came from right across Greater Newcastle, the Central Coast, Taree and as far afield as Coffs Harbour. Some are parents, grandparents or carers of primary school aged children. Others are community-minded volunteers who have a love of learning and wish to make a big impact with an hour or two they have available to volunteer each week. Continue reading

New ethics classes in the Hunter

Students at Morpeth and Hinton Public Schools are attending ethics classes for the first time due to the efforts of parents and community members and the support of the school.

The Primary Ethics program has been running at other Maitland area schools such as Dungog and Tenambit since 2015.

Designed for primary school aged children, the classes give children a chance to develop skills in critical thinking and in making well-reasoned decisions. Volunteers are trained as ethics teachers and they facilitate the discussion using the Primary Ethics curriculum. The next two day training workshop will be held in Newcastle on April 7 and 8.

“My kids really enjoyed their first ethics class at Hinton,” said Holly Moore, mother of Violet, 9 and Banjo, 11 who were among those to take the classes for the first time this term.
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Professor Dame Marie Bashir a guest of honour at Primary Ethics class

Professor Dame Marie Bashir is indefatigable in her grassroots support of Australian communities and last Wednesday, March 7, her attention was on ethics classes in public schools.

Despite the loss of her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie in recent weeks, Professor Bashir continues to dedicate an incredible amount of energy and time to supporting communities build on essential areas as education, health and international relations.

Professor Bashir joined former NSW Premier Nick Greiner and his partner Carolyn Fletcher to participate in an ethics class at Marie Bashir Public School. Continue reading

Primary Ethics volunteers recognised at State Reception

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Almost 100 of Primary Ethics’ longest serving volunteers were recognised for their service to community at Government House Sydney earlier this month.

On Thursday, February 8 His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales and Mrs Linda Hurley hosted the reception for volunteers, some of whom travelled from across the state to attend.

In his address, the Governor extended his thanks to those invited for donating their time to teaching ethics to the children of NSW.

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Hundreds converge to support ethics classes in NSW schools

From Byron Bay to Bungendore, Canowindra to the Central Coast, Milton to Manly, volunteers descended on the first Primary Ethics conference held at UNSW on Saturday.

Primary Ethics is a not-for-profit organisation that offers free training and curriculum to community members to deliver weekly ethics classes to children at public primary schools across the state.

Ethics classes are held at the same time as scripture and non-scripture, and give children from kindy to year 6 the opportunity to develop thinking, reasoning and decision-making skills to help them in all aspects of their life.

On Saturday, 350 teachers, coordinators and regional managers gathered to share experiences, network and develop skills in facilitating classes and managing programs that they will take back to the programs which are currently operating in 460 schools across the state and teaching ethics to 36,500 children. Continue reading

New CEO continues push for clarity around ethics option

Evan Hannah seeks fair and informed choice for parents

Sydney, Monday 7 August 2017

Allowing parents to make an informed choice when enrolling their children in NSW public schools is simply a matter of fairness, says incoming CEO of Primary Ethics Evan Hannah.

“In NSW you cannot enrol your child in ethics classes on the enrolment form, as you can for religious instruction,” Evan said.

“The burden is on parents to work through the current confusing process before they finally get the chance to access ethics classes for their child.”

The former journalist and news media manager became CEO of the not-for-profit organisation in July. Continue reading

Long awaited report shows ethics program strong

Report coverMedia Release Tuesday 11 April 2017

UPDATE: Primary Ethics has submitted to the Department of Education a response to the report’s recommendations. View the Primary Ethics Response to SRE and SEE in NSW Government Schools Review.

Department rejects recommendations to make it easier for parents to know it’s an option.

Earlier today the Department of Education released the report of the 2015 review of Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in NSW Government Schools.

The NSW Government commissioned the review in 2014 and the long awaited report was published on education.nsw.gov.au on 11 April 2017 along with the Department response to the recommendations.

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Parents need all options at once

Media Release Friday 10 March 2017 

Creating a level playing field for Ethics and Special Religious Education in NSW Schools.

Department of Education policy instructs NSW public primary schools to make available a weekly Special Religious Education (SRE) and Special Education in Ethics (SEE) timeslot.

Last December the Department of Education released its new guide for schools instructing them on how to manage enrolments in SRE and Ethics in the 2017 school year.

Below is the flowchart designed to explain how SRE and SEE enrolments should be managed. This flowchart is part of the support materials the department supplies to assist schools to comply with the Religious Education Policy and Special Education in Ethics Policy.

In 2017 it is not an easy process. Instead of the clear form that parents used to get that clearly showed them what the options were for their child; namely a scripture option, the ethics option or supervised free time, there is now a complicated process that creates confusion, effectively hides the ethics option and adds extra admin for schools.

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A little volunteering role with big returns

Media Release Thursday 12 January 2017 

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It’s not guaranteed to make a person lose weight or get fit, but volunteering to teach ethics to children satisfies a number of other common New Year’s resolutions such as learning new skills, meeting new people and giving back to the community.

Primary Ethics is seeking volunteers to teach ethics in public primary schools across NSW. The not-for-profit was established in 2010 to give parents and carers the option of ethics education for their children. Currently 32,000 children receive ethics education. Bruce Hogan, Chair of Primary Ethics, wants to see that number grow.

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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. Continue reading