Labor will make it easier for parents to decide between enrolling their child in scripture or ethics classes in the state’s public schools.

A NSW Labor government will reinstate the ethics option on public school enrolment forms.

The Coalition government changed the enrolment form in 2015 – making it more difficult for parents to understand the options available to them.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said it effectively hid options from parents – and requires them to take a number of steps to find out about the availability of Special Ethics in Education classes at the school.

Mr. Foley said it is frankly a scandal that the government in a deal with the Rev. Fred Nile removed the ethics choice from the public school enrolment form.  Labor will ensure that option is there when a child is enrolled.

Labor’s policy will ensure parents and families can make an informed choice.  Ethics and Special Religious Education are both legitimate choices – Scripture is not being removed as a choice from NSW public schools.

Shadow Education Minister Jihad Dib said that at present Principals do not have to inform parents about ethics classes until the parent has returned paperwork rejecting scripture lessons for their child - twice.

Children not enrolled in ethics or scripture undertake other meaningful activities that may include individual work in the school library.

Until the Coalition government changed the enrolment form all parents only had to tick a box and answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question:

‘Do you wish the student to attend Special Religious Education classes?’

OR answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question:

‘Do you wish the student to attend Special Education in Ethics classes, if available at the school?’

A $300,000 independent review by ARTD consultants made 56 recommendations – including restoring the ethics option. The government has rejected this recommendation.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

 ‘Students and parents should be able to freely choose whether to enrol in scripture or ethics classes, or none. It is not a matter for government or the Rev, Fred Nile.’

“The Scripture option will still be on the form, alongside the Ethics option. This will provide parents and families with a clear choice.’

Quotes attributable to Shadow Education Minister Jihad Dib

“Ethics or Scripture should be a matter for students and their parents to decide without intervention from the state – Labor’s policy will ensure that.’

‘It’s a very simple thing to do – go back to the form that was in use before the Liberal-National government changed it. Allow parents to just tick the box, without the need to write additional letters – or creating more confusion.”