Education Today Logo


Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Qld Education Minister re-states no change in RI policy

As Christian groups ­demand the withdrawal of an ­un­official policy that could see ­primary school students disciplined for talking about Jesus in the schoolyard, the Queensland Education ­Department has called an urgent meeting with the government’s religious instruction advisory group, 

Education Minister Kate Jones has insisted there has been no change to the state government’s religious instruction policy — despite the recent release of a departmental document that warns schools to take “appropriate action” against students caught “evangelising” outside class.

The directive, contained within the department’s review into the GodSpace religious instruction materials, has been criticised as an attack on freedom of speech and religion.

The Australian has reported that the document was not provided to the Religious Instruction Quality Assurance Committee, which comprises representatives from a range of faiths and is ­responsible for advising the ­department on religious education, ahead of its publication.

Ms Jones on Friday acknowledged the departmental advice had caused “genuine confusion and concern" and confirmed that there has been no change to religious instruction policy.

But religious and charity lawyer Mark Fowler disputed the claim of no change to the religious instruction policy. The section that has alarmed Christian groups states: “While not explicitly prohibited by the [legislation], nor referenced in the Religious Instruction (RI) policy, the department expects schools to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in RI are evangelising to students who do not ... given this could adversely affect the school’s ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”

Examples of “evangelising”, according to the GodSpace review and two earlier reviews into other religious instruction materials, include handing out Christmas cards that mention Jesus’s birth, sharing poems or songs about Christianity or telling others outside the RI class about Jesus.

19 Feb 2019 | India
Breakfast and lunch for better learning News Image

Breakfasts at school have had a great effect on learning outcomes and it looks like the same goes for lunch according to an investigation of 120 million Indian students. Read More

18 Feb 2019 | Melbourne
Ivanhoe university campus at Latrobe commences News Image

Ivanhoe Grammar School has opened its  University Campus for Year 9 at La Trobe University. It offers a year-long program designed to expose students to the self sufficiency of university life. Read More

18 Feb 2019 | National
Scrapping HECS debt for remote teachers welcomed News Image

Experts have endorsed the announcement that the government will cancel the uni debts of teachers who commit to working for four years in remote indigenous communities and say more must be done to attract locals to teaching. Read More

18 Feb 2019 | National
New $15k Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy open News Image

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has launched the new $15,000 Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy, part of almost $2m it awards every year. Read More

14 Feb 2019 | National
Yamaha’s 60K Great Start Grant – applications open News Image

Yamaha Music Australia’s Great Start Grant is a nationwide initiative with a very generous $60,000 worth of musical instruments given to the winning school and more. Read More