SPECIAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
To support Parishes in 1) providing Special Religious Education lessons in N.S.W State Schools in accordance with the NSW DEC Implementation Guidelines for Special Religious Education and 2) meeting the required Working With Children Legislation’ and Diocesan Authorisation Procedures for Parish SRE Volunteers this package includes the following information and documents:
- Legal Requirements (in brief) for the provision of Special Religious Education (SRE) within the Armidale Diocese.
- Summary of the 2013 Working With Children Legislation’ and overview of areas of responsibility in the authorisation of Parish SRE Volunteers in the Diocese of Armidale
- Step by step guide to the Authorisation Process for Parish SRE Volunteers
- Masster ‘pro forma’ documents for the Authoisation of Parish SRE Volunteers including:
- 1) Parish SRE Volunteer Engagement Form
- 2) pro forma for the Annual list of Authorised Parish SRE Votunteers to be sent to Schools,
- 3) pro forma for the temporary authorisation of guest speakers and visiting groups entering schools for SRE on behalf of the Parish.
1) Legal Requirements (NSH DEC Guidelines For the Provision of Special Religious Education and Diocesan SRE Policy)
MATTERS OF AUTHORISATION:
- PRIOR to their entry into NSW State Schools all Parish SRE Volunteers must have
- (i) registered and completed the online ‘Working With Children Check” and have been given a WWC Clearance number —Declaration Form;
- ii) have completed and signed a Parish SRE Volunteer Engagement Form
- All personnel must be authorised by the appropriate authority.
- The “appropriate authorittes” are:
- For Parishioners – the Parish Priest’Administrator
- For visiting groups and guest speakers – the Parish Priest! Administrator
- For Clergy – the Bishop’Vicar General
- All Parish Priests‘Administrators are required to send to the Principals of state schools, at the beginning of the school year, a list of all SRE ‘Teachers’Assistants (including themselves if applicable) who are authorised to attend that school. The list should contain names, addresses, and telephone numbers and respective WWC Clearance numbers.
- All personnel including Clergy should be identified with an appropriate name tag and carry with them their Diocesan SRE Authorisation Cards while on State School premises.
- All personnel entering the school premises for the purposes of SRE, be they authorised SRE Teachers’ Assistants, guest speakers, or visiting groups, must sign and complete the SCHOOL ATTENDANCE BOOK for Clergy before entering any class room,
MATTERS OF CURRICULUM AND LESSON CONTENT
- Guest speakers and visiting groups are required by law to present only material which is in accordance with the approved programmes.
- All persons presenting Catholic SRE must teach only from the approved programmes.
- Approval of programmes to be used in the Catholic Diocese of Armidale rests solely with the Bishop of the Diocese.
- Lessons presented must constitute a valid educational experience, according to the age, and stage of development, of the children in the class.
- All Catholic parishioners involved in Ecumenical or Joint SRE must have completed the required documentation, and be authorised by the Parish Priest Administrator.
- Any programmes presented in Ecumenical or Joint SRE by Catholic SRE Teachers/Assistants must be approved by the Bishop of the Diocese.
- All personnel authorised to teach SRE must ensure that they are aware of the requirements of New South Wales State Legislation, and Department of Education and Training Guidelines, and comply with those requirements.
- All personnel authorised to leach SRE in State Schools must be aware of, and observe, the Duty of Care that they have towards all students named on their class rolls.
- All personnel must be willing and available to undergo supervision in their tasks as Catholic SRE Teachers’ Assistants in accordance with Armidale Diocesan CCD Guidelines.
- Any breach of these requirements should be reported in the first instance to the Parish Priest Administrator, (or the Bishop, if applicable), and the Diocesan CCD Coordinator.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW:
The ‘new online Working With Children Check’ commenced on 15″ June 2013 and covers more people, is more comprehensive and provides better protection for children. The new model is also consistent with other state and territory Checks, giving us the starting point for a National Working With Children Check.
A ‘Working With Children Check” involves a national police check and review of findings of misconduct involving children, and the result is either a clearance to work with children for five years, or a bar against working with children. [f the outcome is a clearance, the Check can be used for any child-related work (paid or voluntary) in NSW,
A WWC Check is a prerequisite for anyone in child-related work paid or unpaid. Child-related work means face-to-face contact with children in a child-related sector or work in a stipulated, child-related rale.
As Parish SRE Volunteers (Teachers and Assistants) are involved in child-related work involving face-to-face contact with children in a child-related sector (Religions Services) they are required to undergo the online ‘Working With Children Check’ by filling in an online application form at www.newcheck.Kids.nsw.gov.au If they cannot access the online system the application can be completed by calling a Customer Support Officer for assistance om (02) 9286 7219.
PARISH AND DIOCESAN AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
in meeting the
‘New Working With Children Legislation’, and the
NSW DEC SRE Guidelines and Diocesan Authorisation Procedures for
PARISH SPECIAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION VOLUNTEERS’
It is the responsibility of the:
- PARISH SRE VOLUNTEER (Teacher or Assistant) to:
- 1. Register and obtain a ‘Working With Children Check’ Clearance Number.
- 2. Complete and sign a Parish SRE Volunteer Engagement Form with attached letter of clearance from the Office of The Children’s Guardian
- 3. Display a name tag and a signed Diocesan SRE Authorisation Card when on school premises
- PARISH PRIEST / ADMINISTRATOR
- 1. Sight and verify the volunteer’s identification and ‘Working With Children’ clearance letter by signing the Parish SRE Volunteer Engagement Form accordingly
- 2. Countersign the Diocesan SRE Authorisation Card authorising the volunteer
- 3. Completing, signing and sending a list of appropriately authorised SRE Volunteers to the Principals of each State School and a copy to the Diocesan CCD Office.
- DIOCESAN CCD OFFICE
- 1. File and store Parish SRE Volunteer Engagement Forms with respective letters of
clearance from the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
- 2. Verify WWC Clearance numbers and maintain a Parish SRE Volunteer Register and
Database recording name, address, WWC Status, WWC Clearance number, verification
- 1. File and store Parish SRE Volunteer Engagement Forms with respective letters of
date and expiry date.
- 3. Maintain a copy of the annual list of Authorised Parish SRE Volunteers from the parishes
for auditing and cross-checking purposes.
A STEP -BY-STEP GUIDE TO
AUTHORISATION OF PARISH SRE VOLUNTEER
Due to NSW DEC Guidelines for Special Religious Education and the NSW 2013 ‘Working With Children’ Legislation there are strict requirements for the authorisation of SRE Teachers’ Assistants attending State Schools.
As the ‘employer’ of Parish SRE Volunteers, it is the responsibility of cach Parish Priest/Administrator 10 ensure that each Parish SRE Volunteer (Teacher or Assistant) is appropriately authorised to enter the schools to teach Special Religious Education.
The following are the approved Authorisation procedures in the Catholic Diocese of Armidale to be implemented by the Parish Priest or Administrator
- STEP 1: The SRE VOLUNTEER (TEACHER or ASSISTANT)
- a) Completes and undergoes the online ‘WORKING WITH CHILDREN’ check and registration and has been given ‘Working With Children’ clearance number
- b) completes and signs a Parish SRE. VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT FORM and attaches a copy of the Clearance Letter from the ‘Office of the Children’s Guardian’
- STEP 2: The PARISH PRIEST signs the Parish S.R.E. VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT FORM verifying the identification of the Parish Volunteer and the sighting of the respective ‘Working With Children’ clearance letter and number.
- STEP 3: Two photocopies should be made of the signed Parish SRE, VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT FORM and the ‘Working With Children’ clearance letter. (One copy for the Parish SRE Volunteer and one for the Parish records. Such records are to be stored in accordance with Privacy Legislation}.
- STEP 4: The ORIGINALS of the signed Parish S.R.E. VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT FORM and the ‘Working With Children’ clearance letter are to be sent to the Diocesan CCD Coordinator at the CCD office where they will be kept in secure storage for auditing purposes,
- STEP 5: Diocesan SRE Authorisation Cards arc to be completed recording the Parish SRE Votunteer’s respective clearance number and signed by both the catechist and the Parish Priest.
- STEP Sa: The PARISH PRIEST completes. signs and sends to the Principal of each State School a list of the Parish SRE Volunteers he has authorised as SRE Teachers or Assistants for that school for the year. The list should be sent to the Principal of each school by the Parish Priest as close as possible to the commencement of classes in Term lL. This list is to be updated as required throughout the year.
- STEP Sb: Two copies of the authorisation list should be made. One copy is to be retained in the Parish office and the second copy sent to the CCD Office.
- The Diocesan SRE Authorisation Cards will need to be completed and distributed annually.
These cards will be distributed by the CCD Office at the beginning of each school year to
each Parish Priest.
- Guest speakers or visiting groups are to he authorised hy the Parish Priest and carry with
them a temporary authorisation card. (see enclosed proformas)