Draft guidelines on religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura

Have your say about guidelines on religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura

Closing date for submissions is 7 December 2018

The Ministry of Education has developed draft Guidelines on religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura to help boards of trustees who wish to close their school to allow religious instruction to take place, to do so in a way that complies with our education laws and human rights laws, and protects the rights of their diverse students and their families and whānau to be free from discrimination based on their religious or non-religious beliefs.

The draft guidelines aim to:

  • make clearer to school boards what their legal obligations are regarding religious instruction, and how they can meet them
  • make clearer to children and their parents, caregivers, family and whānau what their rights are under existing legislation.

Draft guidelines

The draft guidelines are available in PDF format and a copy of the Summary from the guidelines is available as a web page.

Draft guidelines on religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura [PDF, 683 KB]

Draft guidelines on religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura - Summary (HTML version)

If you need help accessing this document please contact RIO.submissions@education.govt.nz

Have your say

Before we finalise the draft guidelines, we want to know what you think

Your feedback will help us ensure that the draft guidelines:

  • are practical for schools and kura
  • promote best practice
  • make the rights of children and their parents, caregivers, family and whānau clear.

Once published, all boards of trustees and leaders of state schools me ngā kura should find the guidelines useful when thinking about whether they want to allow any religious instruction programmes to take place in their school, and ways that they could do this that uphold the rights of their students, and their parents, caregivers, family and whānau to be free from discrimination based on their religious or non-religious beliefs.

How to have your say

The questions below are a guide to help you make a submission. You can answer as many or as few as you like or you may want to make a more general comment on the draft guidelines. We need to hear what you think about the draft guidelines by no later than 7 December 2018.

You can email your submission to RIO.submissions@education.govt.nz or you can post your submission to:

RIO Guideline Submissions
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140

Your submission will become public information. That means that a member of the public may request a copy of your submission from us under the Official Information Act 1982. Any submission summary we create as a result of this consultation may also mention your submission.  Please tell us if you do not want your name included in any submission summary.

General questions about the draft guidelines

  • Will these guidelines help school boards of trustees allow religious instruction in a way that does not discriminate against anyone who holds different beliefs?
  • Do the draft guidelines clearly show how schools can meet their obligations under the Education Act 1964, the Education Act 1989, the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 when providing religious instruction?
  • Are the rights of children and their parents, caregivers, family and whānau about religious instruction clear?
  • Will schools and kura find these guidelines useful and practical?
  • Do you consider that these guidelines promote best practice for the purpose of allowing religious instruction programmes? If not, how should the draft guidelines change to promote best practice?
  • Are the differences between religious education, religious instruction and religious observances made clear in the draft guidelines?
  • Is there anything else you think should be included in the draft guidelines?
  • Do you have any other comments in relation to the allowing of religious instruction in State primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura?

You may also like to comment on specific guidelines:

  • Guideline 1 recommends boards of trustees consult with their community when deciding whether, and how, to allow any religious instruction programme.
  • Guideline 2 recommends schools or kura provide full and accurate information to students, families and whānau to help them make informed decisions.
  • Guideline 3 recommends schools or kura offer valid education alternatives to religious instruction. This guideline also suggests that schools wouldn’t need to provide an alternative if the religious instruction were allowed outside of the school’s usual hours.
  • Guideline 4 recommends schools or kura adopt a “signed consent” approach to religious instruction which means families have to give the school express permission for their child to participate.
  • Guideline 5 recommends schools or kura use volunteers who are not part of the school’s teaching staff to deliver religious instruction.
  • Guideline 6 recommends that schools or kura provide secular school and student support services.
  • Guideline 7 recommends that schools or kura perform safety checks on volunteers who will be delivering religious instruction. This is consistent with the requirements under the Vulnerable Children’s Act which requires an identity check, an interview, a police vet, work history check, referee checks and a risk assessment.
  • Guideline 8 recommends that schools or kura communicate to families and whānau the school or kura’s complaints procedure. The complaints procedure should be used to resolve any queries or complaints about whether and how the school or kura chooses to allow any religious instruction programmes to take place.

You may also like to comment on religion in schools more generally

Further information

If you have any questions about making a submission, or would like more information, please email RIO.submissions@education.govt.nz

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