Government’s changes to Special Religious Instruction (SRI)
Access Ministries is currently running a campaign on the Government’s changes to Special Religious Instruction (SRI) in schools for 2016.
As a part of this campaign they are claiming that the singing of Christmas carols has been banned in schools. Christmas carols are not banned. Traditional Christmas carols have been and will continue to be sung at our government schools.
The changes to the delivery of SRI for next year, still allow for the study of common religious celebrations or festivals as a part of general religious education curriculum provided by government school teachers. This includes the singing of Christmas carols or making Christmas decorations, along with other activities such as colourful celebrations during Diwali and candle lighting during Hanukkah.
However, a music based program provided by visitors to a school or school volunteers where the lyrics are praise or worship focussed is considered SRI and cannot occur during class time. The guidelines exist to make it clear that there is no proselytising in government schools. A copy of a fact sheet sent to schools on the changes to SRI for 2016 is attached.