Volunteer bulletin January 2022

Renew now! We’re going back to school | Talk to your school asap | Curriculum changes for stage 3 | Comings and goings

A special welcome to those of you who will be ethics teachers for the first time this year. And welcome back to the thousands of other dedicated and experienced volunteer teachers.

February is always a busy month for Primary Ethics – this year will throw up some extra challenges but please be aware that we are here for you … working hard to keep you fully informed and supported as we navigate this changed landscape together.

Since we wrote to you 10 days ago, plans for our return to school have firmed. Ethics classes will return to NSW schools from the start of Term 1 as usual. Our classes normally start from 2-4 weeks into the term and it will be no different this year.

Your ethics coordinator will be in touch with you soon. It’s vitally important that you complete your volunteer renewal process as soon as possible so that you are on the AVL (Authorised Volunteer List) which the school and coordinator will use to draw up the timetable for ethics classes. If you aren’t on the AVL, you can’t access your lesson materials.

If you haven’t yet completed your renewal, scroll down for the details.

As in previous years during the pandemic, we will completely support the choice of any volunteer to temporarily withdraw from teaching – but in order to place yourself in raincheck, you must have completed the renewal process.

Please keep a regular eye on our COVID-FAQs, which we will keep updated as we get any new information from the Department.

New this year is the recommendation that you get a vaccine booster shot as soon as you are eligible. Taking a rapid antigen test before visiting the school is also recommended. We expect to have more detail on that by week’s end and when we do have it, your coordinator will discuss this with you. (We wish we had more detail now for you but have to request your patience. Please bear in mind that our best personal protection lies in following the advice on vaccination, masking and distancing.)

Get ready to teach
Complete the Volunteer Renewal program as soon as possible, so that we can include you on your school’s AVL to help the coordinators prepare the lesson slots in liaison with the school. You’ll only get access to lesson materials when you’ve finished the program, which includes:

  • The regular Child Protection refresher training course
  • Our 2022 Policies course will direct you to what’s new and what’s changed
  • Skills Tune-Up – for teachers who completed their training in Term 2 or 3 2021 but had no or very little time in the classroom due to the lockdown.
  • Spare a thought for our tireless Helpdesk personnel and don’t leave it to the last minute. The majority of you still haven’t completed this – it doesn’t take long so get going now!

Stage 3 curriculum: Topic updates and new sequence

Stage 3 lesson materials have been updated over the holiday break in response to feedback and suggestions from teachers. These include substantial updates to the topics on Human Rights, Fatalism, and Moral Responsibility. These deal with quite complex ideas, so we’ve added additional scaffolding and moved them to later in the year (keeping in mind all the ways that topics build on one another). This means that Stage 3 topics have all been re-numbered.

As usual, please make sure you don’t have any old copies of lessons lying around – we recommend that you dispose of them now to avoid confusion. When teaching, make sure to follow the new sequence indicated on EVIE.

There is still work to do on our Stage 3 topics, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear your feedback on the new versions and sequence. You’ll be able to post your feedback in your post-class reports or by using the ‘Help & feedback’ tab in EVIE (you can also hit reply to this email and that will reach us).

Coming and going
Our heartfelt thanks go to Leah Mansfield, who has resigned as the Regional Manager for Orange, Cowra and Bathurst. Leah started as an ethics coordinator in Orange in July 2015, became an ethics teacher in August 2016 and took on the Regional Manager role in August 2019. That’s a lot of voluntary effort over several years – congratulations and thank you Leah.

Primary Ethics has a new – and our first dedicated – Finance Manager in Dale Fisher, who commenced in the new year. Dale is a Fellow Certified Practising Accountant with a strong interest in process improvements, taxation, risk management and cybersecurity.

High School 2022
During the closing months of 2021 a review of the High School pilot was undertaken by consultant Rebecca Iliffe. Our thanks go to Rebecca and to the participating Primary Ethics volunteers and staff who generously provided feedback as well as suggestions for improving the high school ethics program.

In 2022, ethics lessons will be provided for Year 7 and Year 8 students at the three foundation high schools: Fort Street HS, James Ruse Agricultural HS and Katoomba HS. We also plan to implement the program in a select number of other high schools.

There are many experienced ethics teachers who have registered their interest in teaching in high schools and we have the training program and Stage 4 curriculum ready to roll for 2022.

If you’re curious about the topics offered for the older students in Years 7-8, you can access Stage 4 lesson materials in EVIE. The writing team of Kelby Mason, Jarrah Aubourg and Coral Sturgess are keen for our high school ethics teachers and students to breathe life into the lesson materials!

And …watch this space for information concerning the new high school ethics programs commencing this year.

Primary Ethics at the 2022 NSW Seniors Festival 
Primary Ethics has been accepted as an exhibitor at this year’s NSW Seniors Festival Expo at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, on 30/31 March. We’ll have a stall attended by staff and volunteers.

If you’re going (we realise two months is an age in COVID time, but let’s hope for the best), please make sure to come along and say hi to us, as well as taking the opportunity to talk about our wonderful program to other expo attendees.

The NSW Seniors Festival Expo also runs many local events across the state in celebration of seniors. These are organised by local councils and community groups and will be running from 25 March to 3 April. This year, staying close to home might be the way to go. If you know of any events in your local area that Primary Ethics could be part of, for example an open day, fete, etc, please let us know. We’re happy to help you organise something locally and provide any resources that might be required.

Please contact Dana Sampath at dana.sampath@primaryethics.com.au with your ideas.

Here we go!
It’s been a bumpy start to the year and we’re aware that COVID will have directly impacted many of you already. We hope you and your family have managed to stay well or, if not, have fully recovered.

Time to fasten our seatbelts as we accelerate into February. Most importantly, get your renewal done. Then we will be ready to get back to our inspiring ethics students.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, our Helpdesk is here to help – please email or call (02) 8068 7752. Our Facebook Volunteers group is a good way to stay in touch.

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