Special Religious Education
Special Religious Education, or SRE, commonly referred to as "scripture", is the time set aside in Government Schools for Catechists (formally known as Scripture Teachers). SRE is mandated by the NSW Education Act (1990) and gives parents the choice to have children formed in the faith of their family. Authorised Catechists from our Parish attend during the school week to teach Catholic children about Jesus and his message that brings hope, joy, and self-giving faithfulness and resilience in forming a Christ-like character.
Special Religious Education is for all religious persuasions, not just Catholic or Christian. SRE is offered in most NSW government schools.
Why is SRE taught?
The Catholic Church sees the education of Catholic children in the Faith as integral and key to its mission. The NSW Department of Education describes SRE “as an integral part of school activities”. SRE can be seen as part of “a well-rounded education that values and supports the intellectual, creative, physical, social and emotional development of each child”.
Who are catechists?
Catechists (Scripture teachers) are volunteers who are approved, authorised, and trained by the Parish. SRE can only be provided by a religious group approved by the Department of Education. The Catholic Church is an approved provider and the curriculum outlines are publicly available.
What is taught?
Catholic SRE teaching programs are approved by our Bishop in association with education specialists, for use by Scripture Teachers. Programs contain lessons suitable for children from Kindergarten to Year 6 and there are a variety of programs for Secondary School students as well.
How can your child attend SRE?
Catholic children are always welcome to attend Catholic SRE classes at their school. Usually parents will nominate what religious denomination they wish their child to attend when completing the school enrolment. Parents also have the right to change the SRE class their child attends at any time or even withdraw children from SRE. This can be done by notifying the appropriate school principal.
Benefits of SRE in schooling
A Positive Message: We begin with the understanding that we were created by a loving God who calls us to the fullness of life. In a culture which often concentrates on negative aspects of life, Catholic SRE is a breath of fresh air, where students are encouraged to see themselves as God sees them – inherently good, full of potential and capable of being a force for good in our world.
The Morals and Values of Jesus: Encouraging children and young people to develop a relationship with Jesus is a key part of Catholic SRE. The curriculum used by Catholic SRE teachers aim to help children and young people make moral choices that are life-giving for themselves and others. Through the exploration of the teachings of Jesus and the stories of Christian Scriptures, and by encouraging students to pray, Catholic SRE aims to provide children and young people with a structure to help them make choices that recognise the value and importance of their relationship with God, others and the world.
A Preparation for Catholic Sacraments: Children attending Catholic SRE classes receive lessons that give them background preparation for the Sacraments that may be available to their age group. Catholic SRE teachers liaise with the Parish to ensure that students and their families are aware of the Sacramental programs being offered locally.
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
Within the Parish, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (or CCD) ministry exists to bring the message of God's kingdom by delivering quality Special Religious Education to Catholic students in State Government schools.
The Pymble Catholic Parish is responsible for Catholic SRE at a range of local schools. We attend to this important task by supporting a dedicated group of Parish volunteers, or catechists, who attend these schools on a regulat basis.
The six local schools our Parish provides catechists to are:
- Gordon East Public School
- Gordon West Public School
- Pymble Public School
- West Pymble Public School
- Turramurra Public School
- Turramurra High School
What is Catholic Special Religious Education (SRE), Information for Parents as a Brochure (PDF 298.4KB)
Further information on the Broken Bay Special Religious Education program
Broken Bay Special Religious Education group at Facebook
Working as a Catechist
The original meaning of “catechist” is one who “echoes God’s word”, however catechists are much more than that. Facilitating a child’s faith formation is a rewarding experience that does not require a teacher’s degree or an advanced degree in theology: all it requires is enthusiasm, as well as generosity in sharing your time with others.
Are you looking for a new way to give back to the community? Have you thought about volunteering?
You may or may not be aware, but there is a shortage of volunteers instructing Catholic children in public schools within our area. Public schools in NSW offer Special Religious Education each week which is volunteer driven.
As baptised Catholics, we are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and one of the most rewarding ways to fulfil this call is to be part of the parish team of catechists. The catechists minister to the children of the Parish who attend the local government primary and secondary schools.
Michael Tebbutt is the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Regional Coordinator, Central Coast within the Diocese of Broken Bay. In the document extract below, Michael answers the question, Why should I consider being a Catechist?
Broken Bay News extract: Why should I consider being a Catechist? (PDF 41.9KB)
The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine volunteers teach Catholic children who attend Government Schools. These amazing catechists bring to the students, the news of Jesus Christ.
Yes, you can be a catechist.
Introduction to the vital connection of our Catechists with our children
Contact the parish office to arrange a commitment free chat on how you can add value to our community by volunteering for 30-35 minutes a week during the school term. All the training and materials are provided.