SRE in Schools
Volunteers from Grace Church teach Special Religious Education in our local community schools using a curriculum provided by Youthworks. Click here to see more information on the Youthworks Authorised Curriculum.
What is SRE?
Special Religious Education (SRE) is education in the distinct beliefs and practices of an approved religious persuasion. In SRE classes, students are able to learn and question how beliefs impact their lives. Working closely with the Department of Education to ensure the curriculum is appropriate within context, SRE is taught by authorised representatives of approved religious providers who have been trained and given resources to teach students whose parents would like them to participate in these classes.
SRE is available to any student regardless of whether they or their families attend a church or not. Even if they are not religious, some parents believe the principles their children can learn in SRE are a good stepping-stone to becoming a productive member of society. Parents can request that their child attend SRE classes and can withdraw them from classes as they wish.
Grace Church Port Macquarie Teacher Authorisation Processes
Verification of WWCC Clearance
In keeping with current child protection legislation, all SRE teachers are required to apply for a WWCC and obtain a clearance number. Approved providers must keep relevant WWCC documents for five years after the employment or engagement has been completed.
Child Protection Training
It is an approved provider’s responsibility to ensure that all SRE teachers have participated in an initial child protection induction and annual update. This is to ensure that SRE teachers are aware of their obligation to advise the principal or workplace manager of concerns about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people that arise during the course of their work. SRE teachers are mandatory reporters of suspected risk of significant harm and of the procedures for doing so.
Awareness of Department of Educations’s Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct clarifies the standards of behavior that is expected of all SRE teachers in the performance of their duties. It gives guidance in areas where staff need to make personal and ethical decisions.
Completion of Basic Training
SRE approved providers ensure that all SRE teachers have access to basic training standards. The basic training includes context, knowledge of authorised curriculum, classroom management and the importance of continued professional learning.
Statement in Relation to Specific Crimes
Each approved provider has given an undertaking that any SRE teacher authorised to enter NSW Government schools has not had a criminal conviction for any crime against a minor, a conviction for violence, sexual assault or for providing prohibited drugs.
Authorisation and Accreditation
Becoming an Authorised SRE Teacher
In order to be an authorised as SRE Teacher, a person must approved by the senior minister or leader of the providing church or religious organisation and approved to represent them in the schools. The senior minister or leader has to ensure that the person they have authorised to teach SRE in schools have satisfied the following criteria:
· Having obtained a current Working With Children Check that is valid for 5 years
· Having completed Child Protection Training before they begin working as an SRE teacher
· Having signed a declaration that they are not a person prohibited from undertaking child-related employment
· Having no criminal conviction for crimes against minors, sexual assault, violent crimes or providing illegal drugs.
Grace Church Port Macquarie provides a letter to the school that includes the names, dates of birth and contact details for each of the authorised teachers. This letter is updated annually before the start of Term 1 or as required.
Becoming an Accredited SRE Teacher
For accreditation to teach SRE in government schools, the person must undergo and complete a course that will equip the teacher in theology and in the effective practice of teaching. In order to be an accredited SRE Teacher each SRE Teacher will have successfully completed five training modules as well as be assessed in teaching by a qualified observer.
All Volunteer SRE teachers approved by Grace Church Port Macquarie must be registered, authorised, accredited and approved. The following training is required for Accreditation – meaning the ability to competently teach the required subject in a department of education setting:
- 10 hours of Youthworks training are to be completed by anyone involved in SRE through Grace Church.
- Four 2hr training modules.
- One 2hr biblical foundations model plus pre-reading.
Training Modules for SRE Teachers
High School and Primary SRE have the same accreditation requirements and run equivalent courses, but the content of the courses are context-specific. Teachers can complete the Primary SRE Accreditation training OR the High School SRE Accreditation Training and will be qualified to teach both primary and high school SRE.
In order to attain accreditation, each SRE teacher must complete the SRE Theory and Practice modules for Primary or High School SRE.
Module 1: Understanding Our Ministry Context – SRE Foundations (2 hrs)
This module considers how biblical principles shape the way SRE is taught. The module introduces the big picture of teaching SRE through five contexts: the biblical, legislative, school, family and church context.
Module 2 Primary: Understanding the Developing Child (2 hrs)
This module explores the physical, mental and spiritual development of children, to how children think and learn, and the influence of culture, media and family.
Module 2 Secondary: Engaging students in their understanding of God (2 hrs)
This module explores how the physical, mental, and spiritual development of students influences their understanding of God. It explores how to encourage students to engage with spiritual questions in light of the way they learn, and the influence of culture, media and the family.
Module 3: Preparing and Delivering the Lesson (2 hrs)
This module explores the basics of preparing and delivering a lesson, and introduces participants to the curriculum and how to use it effectively. Participants will also consider different teaching and learning styles, and how to ask and answer questions.
Module 4: Classroom Management (2 hrs)
This module helps participants explore the biblical background of discipline, and consider various strategies for appropriate and effective management of children to ensure that quality teaching and learning occurs.
Module 5: Bible Foundations (2 hrs + reading)
This module equips teachers with a theological foundation that will help them articulate the whole biblical message of God and humanity. This module requires that participants read Vaughan Roberts' book, God’s Big Picture prior to attending the module. The module will discuss the key themes of the book and apply them to the context of teaching children.
In addition to accreditation, approval will not be given unless a person has a valid Working With Children Check and has undergone Child Protection Training that is currently valid
Child Protection Training
Safe Working With Children Training
Competency: CHCPRT001-Identify and Respond to Children and Young People At Risk
Teaching by Joan Maddison - Current TAFE lecturer for Child Protection and Trauma Informed Care. (please contact church office for further information)
- AND -
The Compulsory Reading and Signing of Grace Church Port Macquarie’s Child Safe Policy
Our SRE Teachers use the Connect program by Christian Education Publications in the public schools
Please note: The 2018 revised versions of B1, Beginning with God, Big Questions, and A Cycle are the only authorised SRE curriculum for public schools. B2 and C Cycle are being revised, and will be authorised and released in time for each semester.
Connect is a three-year Religious Education curriculum designed for use in schools in Australia and New Zealand.
It is Bible-based and offers 20 lessons each semester at Infants (ages 5 to 7), Lower Primary (ages 7 to 9) and Upper Primary (ages 10 to 12) levels.
In each lesson students engage with the truths of the Bible week by week through music, drama, reading and writing, puzzle solving, drawing, and asking questions.
The three-year cycle of Connectlessons cover a wide range of Bible teaching from creation to God’s ultimate purpose for humanity. Lessons introduce key biblical concepts, themes and major characters such as Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus in an active and engaging way, allowing students to explore the Christian faith and see how it is relevant today. The curriculum also encourages students to discover for themselves what the Bible says about the contemporary problems people face in today’s world.
Included in the curriculum are teachings on the key events of Easter and Christmas as well as special lessons dealing with major issues that children face, including self-esteem, loss, caring for the environment, and coping with change.
Click here to view for samples of the Connect curriculum (will take you to the CepConnect.com.au website)
Teacher Review Process
Continuing education, evaluation, review and assessment are a continual part of an SRE Teachers commitment. One part of this process is an encouragement to self-reflection. Self-reflection is like looking objectively into a mirror and describing what you see. It is a way of assessing oneself and one’s ways of working. Reflecting helps to develop skills and review effectiveness, rather than just carrying on doing things in the way you have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then, in evaluation, deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future. The following process is used to assist teachers in their self-reflection journey.
1) Teacher completes self-reflection questionnaire annually or as required.
2) Self-reflection identifies areas for support.
3) Teacher self-reflection questionnaires are forwarded to supervisor.
4) Supervisor to speak with teacher as required.
5) Teacher Classroom Observation form to be used where indicated for a random sampling of SRE delivery which includes positive feedback.
Our Ongoing Commitment
We have an ongoing commitment to the fitness of every SRE Teacher we provide. For that reason we maintain these safeguards.
Our SRE Teachers Child Protection Training is updated every three years.
Response to teacher self assessment occurs every 12 months, creating better outcomes.
Every two years our SRE Teachers go through classroom management training.
Any and all complaints/needs for additional training are addressed immediately and appropriately.
We understand that complaints may arise in a school consumer setting and we want to make it easy for your complaints to be addressed quickly and appropriately. We’ve provided a look at the SRE consumer complaint procedure below. If you would like to download a copy of the procedure or need to file a complaint please see the buttons below and click to download our Complaint Flowchart and our SRE Approved Provider Complaint Form.
SRE Complaints Procedure