Ethics for high schools

Primary Ethics is the sole approved provider of Special Education in Ethics (SEE) to NSW Department of Education public schools. While our main focus has been primary schools, we are now able to provide high school ethics lessons in response to the many requests from high school principals, parents and students.

In 2021, after marking the tenth anniversary of Primary Ethics’ first ethics classes, we successfully undertook a pilot high school ethics program for year 7 students. Our pilot program, offered in a small number of high schools, gave us important insights into the high school learning environment, which has informed our curriculum development, teacher training and teacher support. With the pilot program successfully concluded, the schools involved are planning to expand their ethics programs in 2022 to include both Year 7 and 8 students. We will now offer ethics programs to Year 7 and 8 students at a number of high schools across the state.

About High School Ethics Lessons

From 2022, ethics programs will run in high schools where there is an existing weekly or fortnightly Special Religious Education (SRE) program and where there is:

  • school support for SRE/SEE
  • family support for SRE/SEE
  • trained volunteers available to facilitate the discussion-based classes.

Our ethics lessons:

  • give choice to families by providing a high-quality option in the SRE timeslot
  • support students to develop skills in critical thinking, respectful discussion and ethical reasoning – skills which are transferable to the key learning areas of the secondary curriculum
  • support students in making the transition from primary to secondary school,
  • assist with development of interpersonal and decision-making skills as well as the consideration of ethical dilemmas that can loom large in the adolescent years.

Current legislation gives parents of all NSW public school students the right to seek ethics lessons for their children. Primary Ethics is dedicated to supporting parent choice wherever possible.

About the High School Ethics curriculum

Our lessons are based on the traditions of philosophical inquiry combined with the findings of cognitive psychology and pedagogical research. We use a community of inquiry learning model supported by teacher-led questioning. This student-centred approach to learning supports students to be curious and discover concepts for themselves, by collaborating with their peers in a safe environment. Lessons are facilitated by volunteer ethics teachers who are trained and supported by Primary Ethics. The curriculum is reviewed by the NSW Department of Education for age appropriateness. The ethical dilemmas presented in the lessons are designed to be challenging, providing students with the opportunity to practise and then apply their collaborative inquiry and critical thinking skills. The overall aim of ethics lessons is for students to develop both the capability and the willingness to discuss ethical issues with those around them in a well-reasoned and respectful way.

Contact us about our high school ethics program

We are always keen to hear from parents, schools and community members interested in our high school ethics program:

Submit your expression of interest here.