CCRESS Media Releases

26th August, 2015

Changes to SRI in Victoria

The Victorian State Government has recently decided to remove Special Religious Instruction (SRI) from classrooms, suggesting, that this program be offered before or after school or at lunchtime.

Special Religious Education (SRE) in NSW is not the same as or similar to SRI in Victoria. In what is world best practice the NSW government gives all faith groups in all their diversity as well as Primary Ethics the opportunity to offer classes to children in government schools.

Under the NSW SRE provisions the Catholic Church uses authorised curriculums with age appropriate lessons that are publicly available. These lessons are taught by 5000 qualified volunteers who weekly see approximately 100,000 Catholic students in NSW Government Schools.

The provision of SRE is being further enhanced by a review of SEE and SRE by the NSW State Education Department. This review is founded on the premise of improving not removing this valuable service to our schools.

Finally, remote and minority faith groups are choosing public education because their children have the opportunity to be educated in their faith in the mainstream educational setting.

This can only be good for Australia as our country is a multi cultural and multi faith nation.

Friday, 3rd July 2015

Media Release

DEC amends Public School enrolment form

The Inter Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools (ICCOREIS) commends the Minister for Education for moving to amend the enrolment form for Public Schools to ensure that the form properly represents the legislation, policy and procedures related to Special Religious Education (SRE) and remove confusion for parents arising from the current enrolment form.

The proposed amendments to the enrolment form, used alongside the SRE Participation letter, are ones that have arisen from consultation with SRE providers across all major faith traditions to ensure a clear choice for parents to select either SRE or the non-SRE options for their children.

SRE is a strength of Public Education in NSW where trained, authorised teachers use approved curriculums. ICCOREIS recognises the paramount importance of the right of parental choice. While SRE is not compulsory, it represents a valuable choice open to families in
our multi-faith society.

Students not attending SRE may attend non-SRE, which includes amongst other options Special Education in Ethics (SEE) offered at a local level in some primary schools.

SRE forms students in the beliefs and ethical systems of their family’s faith tradition.

For more information, please contact Mr Murray Norman (0409 652 984).

Peter Adamson
Deputy Chairperson

Download Media Release

Friday, 3rd July 2015

Statement for DoE website & Media Holding statement re change to DoE student enrolment form

Change to student enrolment form

The Department of Education is amending the student enrolment form for NSW public schools.

The amendments take into account legal advice, ensure consistency with the Government’s position on this matter and address concerns with clarity.

The amended form includes references to both Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics.

Options for student participation in Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics vary from school to school.

Specific advice about these options is available from school principals.

The updated enrolment form will be made available to schools as soon as practicable.


Thursday, 7th May 2015


Catholic SRE Lesson Material


The resources named in the SMH article dated 6 May are not used by the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church uses authorised Special Religious Education (SRE) curriculums with age appropriate and publicly available materials that are approved by Catholic Church authorities.

The Catholic Church does not teach about hot button issues that are contentious in a State school environment. Our volunteer teachers are instructed to advise students to discuss complex issues with their families.  These topics are not covered in the curriculum material.



For more information contact:

Mr John Donnelly
Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State School (CCRESS)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr Jude Hennessy
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
Diocese of Wollongong
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday, 12th June 2012


Celebrating the Work Amazing Work of Catechists and CCRESS

The Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State Schools (CCRESS) this year celebrates its 25th Anniversary. This anniversary also coincides with 50 Years of quality training for Catechists who teach Special Religious Education (SRE) in State Schools in NSW.

To mark the occasion, the members of CCRESS from every Catholic Diocese in NSW, came together on Friday June 8 to for Mass celebrated by Most Rev Robert Mc Guckin, Bishop elect of Toowoomba, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. The mass celebrated the wonderful efforts of Catechists and prayerfully sought continued blessings on this wonderful ministry of Catholic Education in State Schools which sees over 5000 volunteers who weekly see around 100,000 Catholic students in NSW State Schools. Bishop McGuckin reflected on his own experiences as a Catechist and the way that this work powerfully engages young people with the person of Jesus.

Mass was followed by a Celebration dinner that bought together special guests and awardees who contributed to the establishment of CCRESS and the ongoing development of training programs that have prepared Catechists to participate in the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel. Nineteen special Guests were awarded with medallions for their contribution to the leadership of the ministry in the period 1990-2000 by Bishop Mc Guckin in the presence of family members, colleagues and Diocesan Directors of CCD from around NSW-ACT.

Mr John Donnelly, Chair of CCRESS expressed his deep gratitude to the thousands of Catechists who have in years gone by, and who today, continue to make such a significant contribution to the life of the Church. He noted too, the ongoing commitment of both the State Government and Opposition to strongly support the work of these volunteers who add so much to the richness and diversity of Public Education by nurturing kids in the faith of their families.

Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Sr Martina Sarkis rsj noted how all were honoured to receive these awards on behalf of all Catechists. Further to this she emphasized how she as a Sister of St. Joseph, was certain that the work of Catechists would continue to be dear to the heart of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

It is fitting in this year that marks 25 Years of CCRESS and 50 Years of quality training for Catechists, that CCRESS will launch online training programs for the ongoing development of Catechists in their work.

Award Recipients: Armidale: Sr Lyn Raftery rsj, Sr Carmel Maher rsj (Deceased), Bathurst: Sr Clare Hopper rsj, Sr Therese Patterson rsj, Sr Maureen Schiemer rsj, Broken Bay: Sr Joan Goodwin rsj, Sr Mary Hugh sgs, Canberra/Goulburn: Sabina Van Rooy, Lismore: Sr Christine Austin rsm, Maitland/Newcastle: Mary Smith, Sr Rita Petherbridge rsm (Deceased), Parramatta: Sr Libbey Byrne rsc, Sr Colleen Keeble rsj, Diane O’Shea, Sydney: Sr Joan Bell csb, Sr Marie Brennan rsc, Sr Carmel Clancy pbvm, Wollongong: Sr Martina Sarkis.

Mr Jude Hennessy
Wollongong Diocesan Director CCD
CCRESS Liaison Officer 

View photos of the celebration here

Download PDF Version of this Media Release