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

We are seeking feedback on our draft guidelines on religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools me ngā kura to help boards of trustees who want to close their schools to allow religious instruction to take place.

About the draft guidelines

The draft guidelines will help schools:

  • comply with our education laws and human rights laws, and
  • protect 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 clear:

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

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 (web version}

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

Have your say

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

Your feedback will help us ensure that the 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.

Make a submission

You must send us your submission no later than 7 December 2018.

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. You must tell us if you don't t want your name included in any submission summary.

General questions about the guidelines

The following questions may help you write your submission. You can answer as many or as few as you like.

  • 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?

Alternatively you may want to make a more general comment on the draft guidelines.

You can also 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 aren't 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

Where to send your submission

You must send us your submission no later than 7 December 2018.

You can email it:

RIO.submissions@education.govt.nz

Or you can post it to:

RIO Guideline Submissions
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140

Further information

If you have questions about the draft guidelines or how to make or submit a submission, email:

RIO.submissions@education.govt.nz

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