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.

14 Nov 2018 | National
Nowhere to run for cheaters News Image

While it’s prevalent at universities, cheaters’ days might be numbered as markers have shown themselves to be adept at indentifying which assignments are not the work of the student and the ability improves with training. Read More

14 Nov 2018 | NSW
Surf Lifesavers head Bush News Image

Over 6000 youngsters will get a taste of the beach when the 25th annual Beach to Bush program rolls into towns including Tamworth, Lismore, West Wyalong, Young, Moree, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Canberra. Read More

13 Nov 2018 | National
Catholic School Principals plan for future News Image

As the current crop of Catholic School Principals retires there’s concern that no one is stepping up to the plate, the Catholic Schools’ Middle Leadership Program addresses the development of new leaders. Read More

13 Nov 2018
Students asked which anti-smoking ads work best News Image

Quit Victoria’s annual Critics’ Choice initiative invites students to appraise anti-smoking ads and high school students are being called upon to get involved.
Read More

13 Nov 2018 | National
Program sees autistic toddlers thrive in mainstream kinder News Image

Toddlers with autism can thrive in normal kindergarten environments if provided with the correct scaffolding and La Trobe University’s Group-Early Start Denver Model (G-ESDM) looks to be one intervention that works well. Read More