Newsletter April 2018

Message from the Chair

Dear volunteers, donors, parents and supporters,

Bruce HoganTerm one is an exciting time of year. It is when many students participate in their first ever ethics class. For other students, it’s a chance to practise and build on critical thinking and ethical reasoning skills that they have been developing in previous years of ethics classes.

This term, we’ve welcomed hundreds of new volunteers to Primary Ethics, including 309 ethics teachers who have successfully completed training so far this year.

Coffs Harbour ethics teacher training

Recent ethics teacher training in Coffs Harbour

We also appreciate the many who return for their second, third, and in some cases eighth year with Primary Ethics.

Primary Ethics was also fortunate enough to begin the term with a state reception held at Government House in recognition of the efforts of our volunteers in supporting students to think, discuss and reason together about ethical issues.

We welcome, too, a number of new schools to the Primary Ethics program in 2018.

Congratulations to Bathurst, Bega Valley, Bermagui, Carlton, Galston, Hinton, Lake Cathie, Miranda North, Morpeth, Murray Farm, Norfolk Island, Padstow Park, Parkes East (see article), Peakhurst, Port Macquarie, Revesby South, Soldiers Point, Sylvania, Wollongong West and York Public Schools. 

Thank you to the volunteers who have worked to introduce ethics classes to these school communities. It is very pleasing to see the reach of the program extend  and more and more students are able to access the classes regardless of where they live in NSW.

Whatever role you play in supporting our organisation, on behalf of the Board of Directors I thank you for getting behind what is an incredibly worthwhile and robust ethical education program for students in our public primary schools.

Bruce Hogan, Chair of Primary Ethics


Primary Ethics Govt Hse-98

With thanks to Government House. Photo: Mark Muirhead

His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales and Mrs Linda Hurley hosted a reception for Primary Ethics in February to thank long term volunteers for their service to community.

Almost 100 volunteers, selected by ballot, attended the reception.

Read more about the event hereInner West Courier

In his speech, His Excellency extended his appreciation to all Primary Ethics volunteers, past and present.

“In this rapidly changing world, you, as volunteers, are helping to equip children with the skills to think things through and make well-reasoned decisions; the skills to listen to each other; to express views and give reasons; to listen to the reasons of others; and to build on each other’s ideas – or to disagree respectfully,” His Excellency said.

We were also fortunate enough to host former NSW Governor Professor Dame Marie Bashir at an ethics class earlier this month. The Hon Nick Greiner and Carolyn Fletcher were other special guests on the day. Read about Prof Bashir’s visit here.

We deeply value the support of these past and present NSW Governors.


An interesting volunteer opportunity has come our way via Tinny Hon who was an ethics coordinator, regional manager, and our operations manager in the early days! Tinny is now a bioethicist and the Executive Officer of the Population and Health Services Ethics Committee (PHSREC). The PHSREC is a state government committee that reviews research projects seeking ethical approval. Tinny is looking for new Committee members in all membership categories. No experience necessary and training will be provided. If you’re interested, there’s more information here: or you can contact Tinny directly at


Are you a parent or carer of a child in ethics? PrimaryEthics@Home gives parents and carers background information on the topics taught in class and activities and stories designed to help continue the discussion at home.

From our March edition:

Early stage 1 – kindergarten

Mia and Oscar

“What is a slug?” Mia asks. “Is it a snail that’s lost its shell?” 

We nurture curiosity and consider the value of asking questions in the topic Questions, puzzlement and what is ok?

Stage 1 – years 1 & 2

Pride: when is it ok to be proud of what we do, or the things we have?

Stage 2 – years 3 & 4

What is it to be Selfish, and is it ever ok to be selfish?

Stage 3 – years 5 & 6

What does it mean to have A Fair Society? Would it be possible to have one?

Read the March edition of PrimaryEthics@Home. Next edition due out in May.

Spotlight on the Maitland region

Ethics class small

Ethics classes help children think deeply and well about ethical issues. Photo: Rowan Turner

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.

“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.

“Banjo really enjoys participating in the group discussions and hearing what everyone has to say.”

Violet added, “I liked that there wasn’t just one right answer, there could be lots of different answers, depending on the situation.”

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

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Primary Ethics receives no government funding.
Donations to Primary Ethics
are welcome and are tax deductible. Thank you.