Religious Freedom Review
On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion.
Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools has prepared the following submission to the review:
QPSSS submission to the Ruddock Review
The Connect series is published by Christian Education Publications, the publishing arm of the Sydney Anglican Diocese. It is commonly used by religious volunteers to deliver Religious Instruction in state schools around Queensland.
These materials are not part of the formal school curriculum and are not endorsed by the Queensland Department of Education and Training.
Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools have reproduced the lesson aims and outcomes so that parents are able to make an informed choice when considering whether to enrol their child in Religious Instruction.
Parents can find the information on this page.
QPSSS is disappointed to see that Queensland state schools continue to fall prey to opportunistic evangelists. Not only are antiquated rules that allow access to students during school hours being exploited, QPSSS has uncovered an example of one state school evangelist posting photos of children in his RI class on the internet, boasting that they have been ‘born again’ thanks to his evangelism.
We’ve been sharing examples of schools that have assembly prayers or creeds with religious references.
It should be clear to everyone that has followed us for a while that parents are largely on their own if they want to effect changes and make their school inclusive of everyone.
Here are the thoughts of one parent who is trying to have her school remove the prayer from assembly.
QPSSS has prepared an example of the completed ‘Information to parents and consent form- religious instruction and other instruction’, to assist parents and principals.
Make an informed choice about your child’s participation in Religious Instruction in school.
Do the Religious Instruction providers at your child’s school use an Access Ministries program? The link below is to a pdf document that outlines the ‘Scope and Sequence’ of the program.
Access Ministries: Green Series, 2010.
For more information about Access Ministries’ Religious Instructions, read the report produced by the Department of Education and Training in February 2017:
Report on the Review of ACCESS Ministries’ Religious Instruction Materials, February 2017.
Make an informed decision about your child’s participation in Religious Instruction.
Are the Religious Instruction providers at your school using GodSpace? The link below connects you to a pdf document that outlines the ‘Themes, Overview and Aims’ of the ‘Purple 2017’ edition of Godspace.
Godspace: Purple Edition, 2017.
For more information about the GodSpace program, read the report produced by the Department of Education and Training in March, 2017:
Report on the Review of GodSpace Religious Instruction Materials
If you have read the Connect review, you will know that the reviewers were described as-
‘A mix of staff with substantial knowledge and experience in teaching, curriculum development, government policy and administration, and departmental policies and procedures including in the areas of RI, student wellbeing, inclusive education, and safe and supportive school communities undertook the review with oversight by an Executive Director.
The reviewers held qualifications in primary and secondary teaching, psychology, social sciences and governance and public policy.’
The following newsletter, dated 12 April 2016, was downloaded from this page. Until recently, it was downloadable from the link titled ‘RI in schools.docx’. We downloaded it ourselves on 10 September 2016.
The newsletter is attributed to Fiona Cran, a member of the Religious Instruction Quality Assurance (RIQA) Task Group – the people who are supposed to ‘oversee the quality of RI’.
As students return to school this week, parents are still in the dark about the contents of the controversial Religious Instruction program delivered in Queensland Government State Schools.
One of the recommendations resulting from the Education department’s own 2016 review of ‘Connect’ Religious Instruction materials was that parents be given more detail about program contents to enable them to make an informed choice about whether their children participate in the program.
Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools, a grassroots parent organisation that has been advocating for the change, says they have seen little to indicate the Department is seriously addressing the recommendation.
Spokesperson for QPSSS, Alison Courtice, says little to no information is provided to parents by schools at the time that they are asked to indicate whether they wish for their child to participate in the class and it seems that nothing much has changed for 2017. “Parents are shocked to later discover their child has been exposed to content that has a strong ‘sin and salvation’ message,” she said.
“Parents deserve to be able to make an informed choice about their child’s participation in Religious Instruction.”