Demand for ethical options rise

RELIGIOUS ALTERNATIVE: Clare Stuart, Laura Egan, Kylie Bourne, Alison Bennett and Nancy McGreal discussed ethics during ethics training. Photo: SUPPLIED

RELIGIOUS ALTERNATIVE: Clare Stuart, Laura Egan, Kylie Bourne, Alison Bennett and Nancy McGreal discussed ethics during ethics training. Photo: SUPPLIED

ORANGE primary schools are looking to increase the number of ethics classes run as an alternative to religious instruction despite facing several hurdles.

Charity organisation Primary Ethics runs ethics classes in NSW public primary schools and is trying to recruit new volunteer ethics teachers and held training workshops at Millthorpe on the past two weekends.

Bletchington, Calare, Cudal, Millthorpe and Nashdale Public Schools are among those who already take part.

Held as an alternative to scripture, students explore scenarios discussing what they should do, how they should live, what kind of society we should have and what kind of person each of us should strive to be. 

Millthorpe Public School ethics teacher and coordinator Darrin Yates said the school launched ethics classes in term four of 2014 and now has 80 students enrolled with a fifth class to start next term.

Calare Public School ethics coordinator Leah Mansfield said she started the subject at the start of the year to provide a meaningful alternative to non-scripture.

However, Primary Ethics CEO Leonie Johnson said changed enrollment forms, which were distributed for new enrollments at the end of last year, have made it more difficult for parents to enroll their children in the ethics option across the state. 

“We believe parents and carers are the best placed to make decisions about the education of the children in their care, and that both options should be made available to them on enrollment forms, as they were previously,” she said.

She said it has also placed an administration burden on school staff to to plan classes and for scripture and ethics providers to allocate volunteers as needed to the schools.

“Orange and Molong Public Schools are two schools in the Central West where a lack of volunteers has affected the ability to provide ethics classes for those families who have opted for it,” Ms Johnson said.

“Of the 12 volunteers who successfully completed ethics teacher training in Millthorpe this month, two are ready to help restart classes at Orange Public School and discussions are underway with the school. Any volunteers for the Molong area are encouraged to get in contact with Primary Ethics.”     

A spokesman from the Department of Education said participation in ethics classes was decided at a school level. 

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop