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.
The providers of Christian RI use authorised program resources and are committed to best-practice programs that have been reviewed by independent curriculum experts. The most popular Christian RI program resources in use in Queensland state schools are: Connect, Beginning with God and Big Questions (all published by Christian Education Publications).
Beginning with God is a one-year program consisting of 40 lessons that introduces students to the key themes of the Bible and the Christian faith. Children engage with the themes through music, drama, reading and writing, puzzle-solving, drawing and asking questions.
The seven main themes for the lessons are:
- God and his world
- A troubled world and God’s remedy (includes 2 Easter lessons)
- Jesus, God’s Son, is always with us
- Jesus cares for people
- Responding to Jesus and God
- People in God’s unfolding plan
- God’s plan fulfilled (with 4 lessons for Christmas)
Connect is a three-year program presented across three levels of schooling – infants, lower primary and upper primary. The lessons are Bible based covering Bible history from creation to God’s ultimate purpose. Each lesson introduces concepts, themes, and major characters from the Old and New Testaments. Lessons also cover key Christian events such as Easter and Christmas. Students engage with the concepts through music, drama, reading and writing, puzzle-solving, drawing, and asking questions.
Big Questions is designed for students in their last year of primary school. Over two consecutive school semesters, the program explores concepts such as ‘What is God really like?’, ‘What’s gone wrong with the world?’, ‘Does God really care about me?’, ‘What’s the purpose of my life?’ and ‘How will I make choices about my future?’. Lessons include reading and discussion of key Bible verses.
Participating faith groups
Local Christian Churches come together to offer Christian RI on a cooperative and non-denominational basis. These local Churches may, amongst others, include Anglican, Australian Christian Churches, Baptist, Catholic, Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Uniting Churches.
Outline of your Faith Group’s Aims and Goals
The aim of Christian RI is to inform students about the basic beliefs of the Christian faith from a non-denominational perspective.
Outline of lesson structure
Christian RI may involve a variety of up-to-date teaching methods including storytelling, prayer, music, drama, craft, activity books, games, quizzes, video clips and puppet shows. Program resources are written by professional educators and are age appropriate.
Amount of time for lesson per week
Typically, 30 minutes per week
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.