Queensland state schools embrace a multitude of cultural, religious and non-religious beliefs. Under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, schools are to provide Religious Instruction (RI) if approached by a faith group seeking to provide RI and students of that faith attend the school.
RI informs students about the beliefs and values of a particular religion. It is delivered by volunteers of a faith group using instructional materials approved by that faith group. RI is required to be consistent with legislation and Department of Education policies and procedures.
All RI instructors must hold a blue card and participate in compulsory Student Protection and Code of Conduct training. RI instructors are only entitled to deliver the RI program outlined below. A school staff member will be present during the delivery of RI.
Participation in RI is not compulsory. Any student (except Prep students) may participate in RI if a parent has provided written instructions to the school.
Students are allocated to RI based on information provided by parents on the completed Application for student enrolment unless other written instructions have been provided to the school.
Note: This consent remains in effect unless the parent informs the school otherwise in writing.
A description of the RI available is provided below.
Bahai Religious Instruction
Participating faith groups: Baha'i
Authorised program: Baha'i Education in State Schools (BESS) is a religious education programme offered in government schools during the time allotted for religious representatives to teach about their religion to students. The content and spirit of the Baha'i classes reflect the teachings of the founder of the Baha'i faith, Baha'ullah.
Aims and goals: It is a Baha'i teaching that we cannot begin to understand the concept of God (or 'the Unknowable Essence', as God is referred to in the Baha'i Writings). We explain that, just as the sun is the source of physical life on the plant, so God is the source of our spiritual life. Spiritual qualities or virtues such as trustworthiness, joyfulness, kindliness etc are the signs of God within us. We teach the children that our essence is spiritual and that it needs to be nurtured, fostered and educated just like our bodies and minds do.
Lesson structure: Students will develop an understanding about the fundamental principals of the Baha'i Faith. Students attend a lesson once a week during school hours.
For further information, including module and/or lesson descriptors visit: www.bahai.org.au
Participating faith groups: Cairns Religious Instruction Advisory Committee
Authorised program: GodSpace and Beginning with God curriculum
Aims and goals: Allowing children to have a safe environment to think about and ask questions about spiritual matters, RI lessons give them an opportunity –
To learn what Christians believe, through music, songs, stories, drama and games
To learn Christian values and ways of coping with difficult issues such as bullying, self-image and peer pressure
To hear Bible stories and learn what the Bible says about Jesus Christ
To explore Bible truths and get to know God for themselves
To discover our nation's Christian heritage and, for example, why we celebrate Christmas and Easter
Lesson structure: Beginning with God Resources
introduce students to key themes of the Bible and the Christian faith
allows students to explore the Christian faith and see how the Bible is relevant today.
GodSpace = RI lessons that are Bible-based, relational, relevant and engaging for children.
GodSpace presents excellent life lessons from a Christian perspective.
GodSpace is an interdenominational three-year curriculum being used in Christian RI lessons around Australia. Students attend a lesson once a week during school hours.
For further information, including module and/or lesson descriptors visit: www.godspace.org.au
Participating faith groups: Catholic Diocese of Cairns
Authorised program: Christ Out Light and Life
Aims and goals: a. To provide an environment in which young children may fall "in love" with Jesus the Good Shepherd and develop a real relationship with him.
b. To discover both personal union with God, and their membership of a Church established by God.
c. To learn how to become like their Sabviour – in the home, in School, in the parish and in the world.
d. To have Christian virtue and Christian truth become the foundation for the whole of life.
Lesson structure: Students attend a lesson once a week during school hours.
For further information, including module and/or lesson descriptors visit: http://www.cairns.catholic.org.au
Parents of students participating in these programs will be advised if a faith group requires funds to cover the expense of materials used in RI.
Students who are not participating in RI will be provided with other instruction in a separate supervised location. Other instruction must relate to part of a subject area already covered in class and may include:
- personal research and/or assignments
- revision of class work such as creative writing or literacy and/or numeracy activities which could include online programs currently accessed by the students of that school (i.e. Mathletics, Reading Eggs)
- wider reading such as independent reading appropriate to the student
Parents will be advised of any changes to the RI and other instruction programs to ensure they are able to make an informed decision on their child's participation.