Ethics Education in NSW primary schools
“In time, not very much time at all, it will be the decisions of the children we teach today that will shape the world.” Dr Simon Longstaff
Following almost eight years of lobbying by parents, the Federation of P&C Associations of NSW and St James Ethics Centre, parliament amended the NSW Education Act on 1 December 2010 to give students who don’t attend Special Religious Education/Scripture classes in NSW public schools the legal right to attend philosophical ethics classes as an option to supervised ‘private study.’
The NSW government tasked St James Ethics Centre to develop and deliver ethics education classes in urban, regional and rural primary schools. St James Ethics Centre promptly established Primary Ethics Limited, an independent not-for-profit organisation, to develop an engaging, age-appropriate, interconnected curriculum that spans the primary years from Kindergarten to Year 6 and to then deliver ethics education free of charge via a network of specially trained and accredited volunteers.
From a standing start in December 2010 and with no funding, by the end of its second year, Primary Ethics has over 650 trained and accredited volunteers in place, teaching Ethics to around 6000 students each week. However we need to recruit and train a volunteer workforce of over 4000 people to provide classes to approximately 65,000 students each week. The work that will be provided by this volunteer workforce is valued at over $25 million with annual outgoings of just $1.3m.
Teresa Russell is Primary Ethics General Manager. Primary Ethics is looking for support and for volunteers. To find out more about the Primary Ethics organisation and to find out how you can get involved go to: primaryethics.com.au