Special Religious Education is a voluntary program in State Schools in New South Wales. There are also similar programs in some other States.
The details on this page are provided at the request of the New South Wales Department of Education.
Special Religious Education (or Scripture as it is better known) complements the general education of Greek Orthodox children. Scripture classes focus on an Orthodox way of life and identity.
The lessons include much more than Bible knowledge. These are not classes on ethics.
They help develop the religious sense of each child. For instance, they are shown how to pray, how to make the sign of the Cross and the importance of the Sacraments in our life.
Children are taught the hymns of the Church. They are acquainted with the Liturgy and Feasts of the Orthodox Church.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia encourages all its members to be involved in Special Religious Education to enrich local school communities.
Participation is free and entirely voluntary and only at the discretion of the parents or guardians.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is a Department of Education approved provider for 2018 and is also a member of the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools (NSW).
Modes of delivery
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia authorises trained volunteers to deliver an approved curriculum.
Teachers must have the appropriate Working with Children Check and evidence of their clearance is kept on record in the Archdiocese.
A system is in place to ensure that all special religious education teachers attend initial and ongoing training in classroom management and child protection issues.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has authorised the material and pedagogy used by teachers. This is the curricula of the Pantanassa Monastery. A copy of the curriculum is provided to the public on website: http://www.pantanassamonastery.org/scripture-lessons.html
There may be minor variations in the delivery of the program across schools due to timetables or combined classes.
Other sites of assistance in understanding curriculum issues are ICCOREIS the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools (NSW) Inc.
Parents and caregivers are very welcome to view the lessons that their child is taught by consulting their local priest.
For more information contact the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia or your local parish. If you wish to make a complaint about a specific teacher, or the material being taught, or any other issue, please use the complaint procedure provided on the next page.
School link to Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia SRE web-site
Schools may place a link http://www.greekorthodox.org.au/?page_id=3854 on their website to this page
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is the process for authorisation of SRE teachers, minimum requirements, qualifications and basic training on your website?
Yes – see Authorisation of Teachers
Is the complaints procedures which includes resolution within a reasonable timeframe visible on your website?
Yes – see Complaints
Is there a process of cyclic curriculum review in place e.g. every 5 years and is this information accessible on your website?
Yes – see Scripture Resources. The curriculum is reviewed every three years for Infants, every four years for Primary and every three years for High School
Is your curriculum scope and sequence in sufficient detail for parents/caregiver to understand what is covered in SRE lessons?
Yes – see Scripture Resources
AUTHORISATION AND TRAINING OF SCRIPTURE TEACHERS FOR SPECIAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
The Archdiocese uses the following form of authorisation:
This authorisation is issued by each parish after these formal requirements for teachers:
- Awareness of the Department of Education Code of Conduct
- Working with Children Clearance
- Child Protection Training
- An undertaking of no criminal convictions
- Completion of the Basic Accreditation Course for Greek Orthodox Scripture Teachers
The following records are kept for each teacher: Full name, Contact details, Date of birth, Working with Children Check number, Verification date, Verification outcome and Expiry date
The nature and scope of the process for the Authorisation of Teachers of Greek Orthodox Special Religious Education in the State Schools of New South Wales is outlined in the document Scripture Teacher Authorisation Processes.
A new application to be an authorised teacher is completed each year. This is contained in the Teacher Compliance and Acknowledgement by the Scripture Teacher and it is authorised by each parish priest.
A Letter to the Principal of each school that indicates the name of the teacher, their date of birth and their completion of the authorisation procedures is sent by the parish to each school.
TEACHER BASIC TRAINING
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is an approved provider of Special Religious Education. It makes every effort at a centralised as well as parish level to ensure that all Scripture Teachers have access to basic training.
For instance, training has been provided annually for almost 40 years and now takes the form of a Basic Accreditation Course, an online Basic Accreditation Course, an Annual Advanced Course as well as specialist in-service training in craft, use of teaching resources, content or teaching skills.
The Teacher Basic Training is consistent with the standards set out by the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools. It covers the following:
- The history of Special Religious Education in New South Wales
- The role of the Special Religious Education teacher
- Special Religious Education Procedures, Code of Conduct, Child Protection and Working with Children Check requirements
- School protocols
- Planning for and implementing effective teaching and learning
- Creating and maintaining supportive learning environments
- Reviewing, reflecting and assessing personal feedback
- Engaging in professional training and ongoing learning
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has authorised the material and pedagogy used by teachers. This is the curricula of the Pantanassa Monastery.
A summary of the 2018 curriculum for infants, primary and high school can be found here:
MY 2018 INFANTS STAGE 2 PRIMARY STAGE 1 AND HIGH SCHOOL STAGE 3 SCRIPTURE PROGRAM AND CALENDAR
Curriculum contact details
Cyclical review of curriculum
There is an ongoing review of curriculum. Each lesson is reviewed and amendments are made.
Every stage in the curriculum is reviewed and re-issued every three years for Infants, every four years for Primary and every three years for High School.
Curriculum scope and sequence
The list of topics together with the general aims and learning outcomes are published each year and are available on the web-site.
Specific enquiries about the aims and learning outcomes for each stage for any one of the 400 lessons are readily available upon request from email@example.com
Infants Stage 1
Infants Stage 2
Infants Stage 3
Primary Stage 1
Primary Stage 2
Primary Stage 3
Primary Stage 4
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY AND PROCEDURES
AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIAL IN SCHOOLS
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese recognises the value of audio-visual resources but is also cognisant of the dangers of indiscriminate use of such teaching aids. A balance is required in teaching so that the personal effectiveness of the spoken word is not diluted. Religious education is more an interaction than subject matter instruction.
Accordingly, there is a strict policy on the use of social media and audio-visual materials for special religious education. This policy is outlined in the document Social media policy and procedures.
It is recognised that the use of social media is increasingly part of everyday activities. There are some positive aspects of these developments but there is concern about their relevance for religious education.
It is essential to maintain a Greek Orthodox ethos so that it remains as special religious education. At the present time it is not clear that social media is beneficial over and above the interpersonal contact of student and teacher.
The Greek Orthodox Advisory Committee for Teaching Religion in State Schools will only approve audio-visual materials that are (a) available at all schools and (b) which link to specific lessons. Audio-visual resources cannot be used willy-nilly or in an unplanned fashion.
At present, it is not permitted for teachers to distribute any materials without the approval and authority of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
The history of religious education shows that effective religious instruction has been possible without the use of social media, computer games or videos.
Greek Orthodox special religious education must not be relegated to the level of entertainment.
To a large extent special religious education is a personal encounter and not merely a “lesson”. Its content and purpose are vastly different from other school subjects or instruction that benefits routinely with audio-visual experiences.
The failure to cultivate good teaching cannot be replaced by audio-visual experiences, which may have unintended consequences.
To avoid negative consequences, it is mandated that for the time being:
- No social media is to be used for Greek Orthodox special religious education in State Schools
- No computer games may be used for Greek Orthodox special religious education in State Schools.
- Powerpoints may be used only if they are approved by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
- No written or printed materials may be distributed without prior approval of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and its Advisory Committee for the Teaching of Religion in State Schools
Meanwhile, we are working towards a policy where approved materials can be made available to all parents. In this way, social media will complement the face-to-face instruction that is essential for special religious education.
Our complaints process is designed to encourage the fast and efficient resolution of your issue. For non-urgent matters we encourage that you send us an e-mail explaining your complaint, if this is not possible, or if it is urgent, please call the Archdiocese as soon as possible.
During the course of your complaint, we will aim to tailor any proposed resolutions to provide a fair and reasonable outcome to all parties involved. We will aim to deliver our mutually agreed resolution to you within 10 business days, or 2 business days where the complaint is urgent.
Please follow the steps below to raise your complaint. In the event that you require assistance with making a complaint, please do not hesitate to call us.
• NON-URGENT COMPLAINTS
If your complaint is of a non-urgent nature, then please send us an e-mail explaining the situation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also contact us using the via the website’s Contact Us facility
Please fill out your Full Name, E-mail Address, and the State and Area that you reside in. For Subject, please indicate that it is related to “Special Religious Education (SRE)”.
In the message, please provide a detailed description of the complaint, including the date and time, the school or place, and the people involved. The more information we have, the easier and quicker the complaint will be processed and resolved.
ARCHDIOCESAN DISTRICT OF NSW & ACT
242 Cleveland St., Redfern, NSW 2016
Telephone: (02) 9690 6100
Fax: (02) 9698 5368.