School religion figures link with SRE misleading

1 August 2017
An SRE teacher delivering religious education to a group of public school students in the Diocese of Parramatta. Image: Supplied.

Opponents of special religious education (SRE) are manipulating figures showing religious affiliation on NSW school enrolment forms to further their anti-religion agenda, according to the body representing SRE in the state.

The Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools (NSW) Inc (ICCOREIS) said figures showing 40 per cent of parents listing “no religion” on enrolment forms are irrelevant because many of those same parents choose SRE after they receive a letter outlining their options.

ICCOREIS spokesperson Murray Norman said the Government’s independent review found that in NSW primary schools alone, over 70 per cent of parents elect an SRE option for their children.

“The vast majority of parents want SRE and see the value in their children attending these classes,” he said.

“Unfortunately we have small groups with agendas that will twist the facts to try and deny the majority of parents their right to choose to have their children learn about their nominated faith.”

He said SRE was closely monitored and delivered by approved providers.

The NSW Department of Education’s own framework states that “spiritual wellbeing relates to our sense of meaning and purpose”, and independent reviews show that “SRE contributes to students’ understanding of their cultural heritage and is an avenue for their spiritual care”.

“Across NSW around 87 per cent of schools have SRE due to the high percentage of parents – around 72 per cent in primary school – opting in,” Mr Norman explained.

“For students not participating in SRE or ethics, it’s important to note the current implementation procedures: schools are to provide meaningful activities with appropriate care and supervision.

“These meaningful activities include reading, private study and completing homework.”

For more information about this in the Diocese of Parramatta, please contact Cecilia Zammit on (02) 9890 4731 or visit the CCD website at

With thanks to ICCOREIS.

Read Daily
* indicates required