Do you love working with children? Are you willing to do some checks and training?

Special Religious Education (SRE) – or School Scripture teaching – could be for you!

What is Special Religious Education?

Commonly known as scripture, SRE has been in NSW public schools since the government took over from the churches in coordinating education in the late 1880s.

Under the Education Act 1990, time must be allowed for scripture in NSW public schools.

Initially students had one hour per day of religious education. Now it is a minimum of 30 minutes per week.  

SRE teachers follow an authorised curriculum and have ongoing training and support.

The curriculum also allows for General Religious Education, covering world religions, which can be run by NSW Department of Education teachers under the HSIE subject area.

Why become an SRE teacher?

Newcastle Anglican’s SRE Coordinator Kate Baker says she loves working with volunteer SRE teachers.

“I have found they are generally community-minded, generous, and faith-filled people who just love to give,” she says.

“Many of them love teaching scripture so much that they teach for decades.

When I ask SRE teachers what motivates them, I get a variety of answers. Many of them say their love for Jesus, and the opportunity to educate students in the Christian faith really motivates them.

“Others talk about the satisfaction and encouragement they get from teaching students and witnessing ‘lightbulb moments’ and answering genuine questions about faith, meaning, and purpose in life.

“Being able to provide students with an opportunity for spiritual expression and offer hope and prayer in the classroom is another great motivator.”

If teaching SRE is something you would like to consider, please speak to your local minister and SRE contacts in your parish.

You may need to go into a classroom and observe a lesson before deciding (you will need a Working with Children Check for this).

Please also feel free to contact Kate if you have ideas on how to promote and encourage more people to invest in this amazing ministry opportunity in NSW public schools.

Fun facts from our diocese

  • SRE teaching is the largest volunteer base inNSW, with some 10,000 volunteer SRE teachers.
  • Newcastle Anglican currently has about 100 authorised SRE (volunteer) teachers.
  • In 2021, around 40% of our volunteer SRE teachers in the Newcastle diocese were professional teachers (mostly retired) or educators. This was consistent with a survey five years prior.
  • 95% had experience in volunteer kids’ ministry at church for an average of 19 years.
  • 95% were also at least diploma-level educated, with 68% degree-qualified or above.
  • The average SRE teacher in 2021 was aged 55 and had most likely been teaching for over 20 years, or under five years. A report five years prior showed the average age to be 65. So, SRE teachers appear to be getting younger.
SRE Teachers

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