Listen: Murray Norman chats to Ray Kington on Hope Drive
A poll that is awkwardly worded, published by The Daily Telegraph this week, is asking readers to vote for whether they think Scripture classes should be continued in state schools.
It is well known that the majority of parents (70%) support scripture in state schools, by choosing to have their child learn about faith in Special Religious Education (SRE) class time. Murray Norman, the CEO of the scripture advocacy group ‘Christian SRE’, believes a poll should reflect this goodwill in its results.
However the poll has been conducted using a green “Yes” box to indicate an anti-scripture vote, and a red “No” box to indicate a pro-scripture vote – as well as a double-negative in the wording: “Do you think scripture classes should not be held during school hours?”
For parents and readers voting in a hurry, as many do when using social media, some may become confused and vote contrary to their actual wishes. Moving scripture classes to outside school hours, would involve parents having to make trips outside normal pick-up and drop-off times if their child was to continue in the classes.
Mr Norman is encouraging any parents who want to see scripture kept in school hours, to vote in the poll – and do so carefully – by following the links on the Christian SRE Facebook page.
Why The Poll?
A curriculum review is being undertaken by the NSW Education Department to decide whether certain elements of the school curriculum should be removed. Scripture is one of the items some principals want to put on the chopping block.
“The principals’ association has raised that the curriculums cluttered, and they’ve put forward that Special Religious Education might be one of the things that should be looked at taking out,” Mr Norman said in an interview on Hope Drive.
“But we’re very keen… that there’s opportunities for young people to learn about faith in the context of schooling as they grow up and develop.”
Mr Norman stressed that parents in the community do in fact largely support scripture in school.
“In NSW every parent, when they sign their child into school, has the opportunity to be able to choose faith education for their child,” he said. “In NSW in primary school about 70 percent of parents are choosing a faith option for their child to be able to learn in school… [taught] by someone from their local faith community.
“And 90 percent of those children are enrolled in Christian religious education.”
Scripture Teachers Are Back After Covid Hiatus
Scripture classes have begun again this term, after going on a break in Term 2 during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently 10,500 teachers of various Christian denominations, such as Anglican, Pentecostal, Baptist and Catholic, are teaching children across the state every week.
Mr Norman is asking parents of faith to pray for those teachers, and pray for scripture to be able to continue.
He also encouraged anyone interested in teaching about their faith, to consider becoming a scripture teacher, to get in touch with Christian SRE.
“It’s a great opportunity to teach young people about faith [so students] can learn about how to live their lives and grow up and hear about Jesus and the good news that that is,” he said.