On 9 November 2015, the Minister for Education approved new Ministerial Direction 145 (replacing MD141). MD145 applies from Term 1, 2016. It was introduced to move SRI to lunchtimes or before or after school. This change frees up 30 minutes of valuable class time per week in schools where SRI is offered.
The key points in the new Ministerial Direction are:
- SRI may only be offered during lunchtime, or in the hour before or after school, for a maximum of 30 minutes.
- Principals have the decision-making responsibilities around SRI in their schools; however, it is important that they carefully consider the circumstances of their school and the views of all the school community when making the decision about whether to offer SRI.
- The administrative burden has been reduced and principals are no longer required to seek parental interest each time an instructor approaches the school to offer SRI.
- To increase flexibility within the new policy, where an instructor is willing, SRI may now be delivered to multi-age groupings of students rather than being limited to ‘normal class organisation’.
- To increase transparency in the decision making process, the new ministerial direction now expressly provides that principals must not have regard to their own personal views about religion or their personal religious beliefs or practices in making a decision to offer, or not to offer, or to cease offering SRI.
Schools and parents will receive further information to support implementation of MD145.
For the full Ministerial Direction and policy, see:
Ministerial Direction 145 - Special Religious Instruction in Government Schools (pdf - 1.85mb)
Ministerial Direction 145 - Special Religious Instruction in Government Schools (docx - 50.55kb)
Special Religious Instruction 2016
School Policy and Advisory Guide