The NSW Government recently released the independent review of Special Religious Education (SRE). In response, McCrindle was commissioned to review the findings and summarise the key data into this SRE in Schools visual summary.
As part of this process, Research Director Eliane Miles was delighted to speak last Tuesday night at NSW Parliament House to launch these findings. The other speakers who addressed the attendees, who included representatives from most of the major providers of SRE across all faiths, were the Education Minister Rob Stokes, Shadow Minister Jihad Dib, and host of the event, The Hon Paul Green MLC.
The Review highlighted how SRE contributes to students’ understanding of their cultural heritage and is an avenue for their spiritual care. Further, it noted that the work of SRE teachers builds tolerance in schools, promotes multiculturalism, contributes to a well-rounded education, and connects schools with their local community.
In addressing the gathering, Mr Stokes, said, “It is wonderful that we have in our schools an understanding that humans are made up of three parts, mind, body and spirit, and we need to provide sustenance to each part of what makes us fully human. SRE has a very important role to fulfil in our schools.”
Mr Dib expressed strong bipartisan support for the value of SRE. Mr Dib said, “[The review] was not at any point in time thinking how to do away with it, but rather, how we actually improve it.” In thanking SRE teachers and providers, Mr Dib went on to articulate the importance of ensuring, “Every single student should have an opportunity – for at least one hour in a week – to reflect about the person that they are and the way that they can actually better themselves.”
Most striking amongst the research presented by Eliane Miles was the levels of satisfaction regarding SRE from schools and parents. The research showed that of the 780,600 students that attend the 2,152 government schools in NSW (with SRE taught in 87% of these schools), 84% of parents are satisfied or mostly satisfied with their student’s learning experiences in SRE and 96% of principals agree or mostly agree that their school has a good working relationship with SRE providers.