Newsletter April 2021

Primary Ethics News | APRIL 2021

Volunteer photos | More high schools | Kindy curriculum questions | Special needs students in ethics | Post-class reports – improved! | EVIE improvements too | More…

30 April 2021

Dear volunteer,

Term 2 is well underway now. Welcome back to the old hands and welcome to the many new teachers who’ve joined us – and the new schools! Among those are two more high schools taking part in our 2021 pilot program – James Ruse Agricultural High School in Sydney’s northwest and Katoomba High School in the Blue Mountains. You can read more about the pilot program below. We know there’s a lot of enthusiasm from parents for this and we hope to expand in 2022 – watch this space if you’re interested.

Volunteer teachers Cathy, Meg and Kaye – first day of ethics classes at James Ruse Agricultural High School!






We always welcome your feedback and questions and this week we’ve upgraded the feedback and help buttons in EVIE – see below for more detail. Photos are also very welcome – of yourself and other volunteers. For those who do Facebook, please join in on our Primary Ethics page and volunteer group – and don’t forget to keep an eye on your local district Chatter group in EVIE. If you ever have any communications issues, do get in touch:

In the media







Trainer, teacher and classroom support teacher extraordinaire Kelby Mason spoke to ABC Canberra radio about ethics teaching last week. Unfortunately the online audio of the interview is no longer available to listen to – but it was a good one.

The High Schools pilot

Coral Sturgess of the Classroom Support Team holds the 5 discussion guidelines, adapted for high school students, with Katoomba trainees Bruce and Tatar.






Fort Street High School: The two Year 7 ethics classes at inner-Sydney Fort Street continue this term, with students exploring the cost of a human life and later the emotion of disgust and the influence of emotions on our actions. The teachers are strongly supported by our Classroom Support team, who have observed and provided feedback on lessons and also have regular meetings and phone conversations. Scheduled Teacher check-in zoom meetings also provide opportunities for the volunteers to provide valuable feedback for the Stage 4 Curriculum writing team, as well as the PE High School Pilot team. This is also proving an ideal time for the curriculum writers to share how their ideas and research become the fully-formed topics and lessons that teachers end up delivering.

Katoomba and James Ruse join in: At the end of Term 1, a group of very enthusiastic ethics teachers interested in teaching Year 7 students at Katoomba HS in the Blue Mountains and James Ruse Agricultural HS in northwestern Sydney completed the one-day face-to-face training. School site inductions were held and students at James Ruse had their first lesson in the first week of term, while Katoomba lessons begin today!

Supporting students with additional learning and support needs in ethics lessons

Do you have a student/s in your ethics class with special learning and support needs (which may include language, physical, behavioural, cognitive or emotional support needs)?

We’d like to hear about the situations you’ve experienced. We aim to use this information to help us develop additional training resources and support for teachers. Ideally this will help teachers manage not just students with special needs but all students, because after all, every student sometimes needs extra support.

Please respond to our short survey >>

We’d also like to hear from you if your school has specialist support classes and those students attend your ethics classes.

If so, let us know >> 

Kindy teachers – your feedback needed

The Early Stage 1 (Kindy) lesson materials have undergone some changes to the guiding development principles this year and we’d love to get your feedback on how the materials are working in your class.

Some of the changes include:

  • More physical movement for students so that they aren’t expected to sit still for as long
  • Reusing existing characters in new stories so that students don’t have as many names to remember (and images can be re-used to reduce printing)
  • Replacing old English nursery rhymes with more contemporary rhymes
  • Replacing photographic images of animals with line drawings to reduce ink used in printing.

If you teach Kindergarten, please complete our short survey: Kindy curriculum feedback here >>

NB: This is designed to capture feedback on changes to the guiding principles – not feedback on individual topics. Feedback on individual topics can be posted via the Help and Support tab in EVIE.

From the Classroom Support Team (CST)

Three new members have joined the Classroom Support team – Jane Torr and Diana Dagg in Sydney and Ian Barker in the Northern Rivers Region. They join the 10 existing members and bring rich experience and deep commitment to providing support for ethics teachers.

3 CST questions
What do our teachers request support in?

  • large and small class sizes
  • difficult teaching and learning spaces
  • end of the day lessons
  • dominant and reluctant speakers
  • students with additional learning and support needs
  • classroom management issues eg a few students who are consistently disruptive
  • classroom teachers
  • lesson timing.

How do I make a CST request?
Logon to EVIE. Click ‘Help and Feedback’ at the top of the screen; on the left side of the screen see ‘Request Classroom Support’, add your details and submit.

When should I make a CST request?
Our advice is to do this sooner rather than later!

Join the Classroom Support Team

We’re expanding our team to 20 to meet the needs of our growing community of ethics teachers. If you…

  • Have experience in teaching, coaching, adult education or human resource management or would like to develop skills in giving effective feedback
  • Are looking to support Primary Ethics in a volunteering role that offers flexibility and variety
  • Can give about 10-15 hours a school term and can commit to the role for a minimum of 12 months …

…then joining the CST team could be for you. To apply or find out more, please contact team manager Coral Sturgess on or 0414 377 272 during office hours.

Welcome back








Thank you to volunteers at Tacking Pt Primary who started their 2021 classes this term. 

[Apologies to the volunteers for an incorrect caption in the bulletin email.]

Those @#$*% post-class reports

We know there’ve been a few teething problems with post-class reporting in our online platform, EVIE. We’re pretty sure we’ve finally ironed out most of them (but do keep telling us if you encounter difficulties).

Every week on the day of your scheduled lessons, you should receive an email with a link to the fastest survey ever about how it went:










You will receive separate email links for each lesson you teach, at each school you teach at. We’ve now enabled EVIE to recognise if you teach a composite class.

If you don’t get these post-class report email links, please get in touch with us now:

Please do your report each week. Without this info, we can’t know exactly what’s going on with our very big, statewide program and we can’t tailor our support to areas that need it most.

EVIE – Help & Feedback

We’ve listened to your suggestions and changed the help & feedback layout within EVIE to make it easier to find online information and send us feedback on your teaching experiences.

Here’s what it looks like:





  • Click the how-to button for guides and videos about EVIE
  • Use the document library button to reach our go-to location for volunteers and staff for: handbooks for teachers and coordinators, notes for schools, policies and procedures and resources for promoting Primary Ethics
  • Request Classroom Support if you’d like a call about facilitating discussion or managing student behaviours – this form goes straight to our Classroom Support Team manager, Coral Sturgess
  • Submit a Give us your feedback form if you have comments on curriculum, EVIE, training or anything else – this form goes to different staff members, depending on the subject of your feedback.

NAPLAN could affect your classes

NAPLAN is coming up (the NSW Education calendar shows 11-21 May) and special school activities on the day could affect your lessons. SO:

Coordinators – check the NAPLAN times and dates with your school and if necessary, mark the relevant dates as ‘no lesson’ in EVIE.

Teachers – check My Lessons in EVIE for lesson dates affected by NAPLAN.

Diversity and inclusion course – only until May 22

All volunteers are enrolled via EVIE in an SBS-written online course about diversity and inclusion in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This course will only be available to you until May 22, so take the opportunity to learn valuable skills and insights that you can apply in the classroom, your workplace and in life generally. You’ll find it in My Training – as in this screen shot:





Thank you so much for everything you bring to Primary Ethics.

The Primary Ethics team