In New South Wales, legislation requires that every government primary school provide one lesson of Special Religious Education or SRE (popularly known as ‘Scripture’) to its students each week (some high schools also provide SRE classes). Schools provide a number of Special Religious Education classes to reflect the religious composition of their student body, and parents nominate the faith group which their child will attend during SRE (schools also provide a ‘Non-Scripture’ option for parents who prefer that their child not receive religious instruction, and recently an Ethics option has been added in some schools).
BJE is the sole authorised provider of Jewish SRE lessons and teachers in New South Wales government schools.
SRE lessons take place during normal school hours. The day and time at which SRE takes place varies from school to school and you should consult your local school for details of their timetable.
BJE provides a structured curriculum for students in Jewish SRE classes. Students are encouraged to feel positive about being Jewish. They learn about Jewish holidays and values. Older children also explore ethical aspects of Judaism and explore some areas of Jewish history.
More detailed information about what students learn in SRE lessons may be found in our Scope & Sequence documents. For primary school students, please see our Primary School SRE Scope & Sequence, and for high schools please see our High School SRE Scope & Sequence
PROJECT HERITAGE (PRIMARY SCHOOL)
Project Heritage is an inter-generational Jewish learning experience that brings Jewish youth together with senior members of the community.
Upper Primary students in selected schools take part in Project Heritage. A Holocaust survivor/ Living Historian visits each class and tells and discusses their life story with students, who then do further research and prepare a presentation based on the Living Historian’s life. This Project is extremely popular with students who enjoy learning more about the Holocaust, placing their knowledge into a more structured framework, and relating to the individual story of an older member of the Jewish community. Living Historians are careful to relate their story in an age-appropriate and sensitive way for students.
WHAT IF MY CHILD'S SCHOOL DOES NOT OFFER JEWISH SRE?
If there are sufficient students interested in attending a Jewish SRE class (a minimum of 3 students per class is required), then approach the school and request that they contact BJE to arrange for a Jewish SRE teacher to attend at the school. If you are uncertain how many potentially interested students there are, the school may be able to assist you e.g. by placing a notice in the school newsletter asking interested parents to contact you.
Please note that despite our best endeavours, it is not always possible to provide an SRE teacher to every school which requests one as logistical and other considerations may prevent a suitable teacher being available.
If BJE is unable to provide Jewish SRE classes at your school, you can join our correspondence program. For more information, please contact BJE.
SRE TEACHER AND CURRICULUM INFORMATION
BJE has comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure that its SRE teachers provide the best possible education for children attending Jewish SRE lessons.
BJE contacts each school in which it provides Jewish SRE lessons annually before the start of term 1 and on other occasions during the year if needed (e.g. if there is a change in BJE’s SRE teaching staff at the school). BJE clearly identifies itself as the provider of Jewish SRE lessons and keeps each school informed as to the names, dates of birth, and contact details of the Jewish SRE teacher(s) who will be teaching in the school.
Teachers with BJE are issued with a comprehensive information pack which includes the BJE Teachers’ Manual, and copies of BJE policies and procedures which cover areas including Code of Conduct and WH&S. Teachers are guided through the Child Development Milestones and classroom management techniques.
BJE requires its SRE teachers to comply with the following:
- Hold current WWC (Working with Children) certification
- Successfully complete a Child Protection online course through the Department of Education portal
- Successfully complete a Code of Conduct online course
- Before commencing teaching for BJE, they must complete a teaching professional development session. After this, they undertake a Practicum and are observed teaching classes by senior BJE staff. Only after successful completion of this process are they allowed to teach SRE lessons unsupervised.
- Only BJE-approved curricula and materials may be used in lessons. The curricula and materials are developed and approved by our professionally trained staff – please see below for more details.
- Allow periodic observation of classes by senior BJE staff to ensure standards continue to be met. As part of the process, teachers are asked to complete a self-reflection and this gives the teacher and BJE opportunity to discuss any issues and for feedback on the lesson to be provided. All observation records are collected and signed by all parties and are kept in the teacher’s file held by BJE.
- SRE teachers undertake ongoing professional development sessions provided by BJE
- BJE also has a teacher mentor available to all our SRE staff to work one-on-one with them and provide classroom support.
BJE’s SRE curriculum is written and reviewed by staff with professional teaching qualifications and experience.
The curriculum has a 3 year cycle, with age appropriate aims and activities for each year group. For more detailed information about the content of our SRE curriculum, please see our Scope and Sequence document
Teacher feedback is sought at the completion of teaching each unit in the curriculum, including how the students responded to the unit and the various activities in it.
The unit is then reviewed in light of the feedback received and modified appropriately before being deployed to the classroom again.
Resource materials, such as videos and story books, used in conjunction with SRE lessons are also reviewed by curriculum staff to ensure suitability, both in terms of content and age-appropriateness.