The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and Special Religious Education (SRE)
“Being a catechist is not a title, it is an attitude: abiding with him, and it lasts for a lifetime! It means abiding in the Lord’s presence and letting ourselves be led by him”.
The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) was founded in 1536 in Milan, Italy, and has a long history of being recommended by Popes and Vatican Congregations to address the perennial need for evangelisation, renewal (re-evangelistion) and catechesis.
“Special Religious Education (SRE) is education in the beliefs and practices of an approved religious persuasion. Under the Education Act 1990, s. 32, government schools allow time for special religious education.” (DoE SRE). The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst provides a ministry to students in public schools through groups of volunteer Special Religious Education (SRE) teachers in each parish. Volunteer SRE teachers and helpers carry the message to the students in public schools that God is love and Jesus came to bring the Good News.
Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State Schools
CCRESS is the Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State Schools in NSW-ACT. It draws its membership from every Catholic Diocese in NSW and the ACT and exists to assist Bishops to promote the evangelising mission of the Catholic Church through the work of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD). Bishop Brian Mascord, Diocese of Wollongong, has been allocated the responsibility by the NSW-ACT Bishops for issues associated with the work of CCD via CCRESS.
Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools (NSW) inc.
ICCOREIS is the peak body that represents many Christian churches that provide Special Religious Education in public schools in NSW. More information can be found at http://www.iccoreis.asn.au/
The SRE Team
The Diocese provides support and encouragement to SRE teachers and helpers through regional coordinators. They regularly visit schools and parishes to encourage the SRE teachers and helpers in their important work. They are also involved in training programs.
Mrs Vicki Mair is the Southern Region SRE coordinator. In this role, Vicki assists, supports and encourages SRE teachers through term visits.
Vicki has been a classroom teacher for many years in both city and country schools. Vicki is an experienced SRE teacher who lives in Bathurst and is a member of St Michael and St John’s Cathedral Parish.
p: 02 6334 6400
Miss Jacinta Thatcher joined the Special Religious Education (SRE) coordinating team in August 2017 as the Northern Region SRE Coordinator. She is also the Mission and Renewal Project Officer.
Jacinta completed a degree in Theology in 2017 and is a member of the St John the Baptist Parish, Gulgong. Jacinta is a Catholic representative on ICCOREIS and the Department of Education Consultative Committee.
p: 02 6334 6400
SRE teachers and helpers visit the local public school on behalf of the local parish. Most parishes have an SRE coordinator who can talk to you about how SRE is organised in your parish. Please contact your parish office or email your regional coordinator for more information.
Authorisation of SRE teachers and helpers
The authorisation process involves:
Obtain a Working With Children Check (WWCC) number. This can be obtained from the Office of the Children’s Guardian. The WWCC will be verified by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.
Complete a Safe Ministry Check and Clearance form and SRE Volunteer Engagement form (these are also available from your parish office). Give these forms, with your WWCC “Notice to Employer’ letter received from the Children’s Guardian, to the parish office or send to the Catholic Chancery Office, PO Box 246, Bathurst NSW 2795, to be verified. You can also email the forms to email@example.com
You will then be given a Code of Conduct to read and a form to sign to say that you agree to follow the code.
You are expected to be aware of the Department of Education’s Code of Conduct which can be found by searching for code of conduct at https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library.
You will complete training in Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting. The preferred training is the Safe Church Awareness Workshop.
Your authorisation card and name badge will be issued.To continue to be authorised you must complete training in Classroom Management, Delivering the Curriculum and other modules suggested by the Inter-Church Commission of Religious Education in Schools (ICCOREIS). Child Protection, Mandatory Reporting and Classroom Management training need to be refreshed every three years. Your regional coordinator will let you know how to access this training. Your parish SRE coordinator will act as a mentor for you during initial training.
You will be supported in your role by your parish SRE coordinator, other SRE teachers, your parish priest, the regional SRE coordinator and the prayers of many across the Diocese. You will also be asked to formally reflect on your teaching at least once a year. This will include teacher self-reflection and may also include student feedback, classroom observation, supervisor feedback, mentor support and adherence to the authorised curriculum. The results of these reflections will help us to identify relevant training as part of the annual assurance process.
Online Training Resources
The training program includes modules in Child Protection, Classroom Management, Curriculum Use and Lesson Planning, Teaching Authority of the Church, Introduction to the Bible, Child Development, Mission and Ministry of the Catechist and Classroom Skills/Questioning. It builds on the work CCRESS and individual dioceses have been doing in public schools for over 25 years.
To enrol in the online training modules, please contact our SRE Coordinator, Jacinta Thatcher via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What we teach
SRE teachers and helpers teach from approved curriculum that have been written by educators. There are two types of programs, Catholic programs and Combined programs.
All programs are reviewed by the providers on a cyclic basis (for more information please see their websites). Only the most current version of the curriculum is approved to teach in the Diocese.
Catholic Special Religious Education (SRE)
At schools where there are separate SRE classes for Catholic students the program Christ our Light and Life from the Sydney Archdiocese is used. An overview of the content can be found here.
Joint Denominational SRE
At schools where all Christian denominations are taught together a program that has been approved by all providers is used. The ones used in the Bathurst Diocese are listed below. Please contact your local school or coordinator to see which program is used.
The following resources from the Department of Education and Training are useful for SRE teachers and anyone interested in the SRE program.
Code of Conduct
SRE teachers visit schools as ambassadors for Christ and their relationships with children are marked by the Christian virtues of respect, service, justice and love.
As SRE teachers we share the privilege of sharing the Good News of Jesus with children in public schools. However, like every adult who works with children, each SRE Teacher is obliged by NSW Child Protection Legislation and other legislation to fulfil certain requirements. Such legislation aims to protect children for whom the Department of Education is responsible, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of the delivery of SRE to students.
Child Protection measures are in harmony with the Christian notion that each person is valued as a unique person fashioned in the image and likeness of God. Child Protection legislation requires that children are, at all times, treated in such a manner that they are enabled to develop into free, unique and autonomous persons endowed with dignity. SRE Teachers actively support and adhere to such legislation.
Each church authority is allowed to send its SRE teachers into NSW public schools only on condition that the church has in place structures to ensure that its SRE teachers conform to the requirements of this legislation.
SRE teachers authorised by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst adhere to the following Code of Conduct.
If you feel that an SRE teacher authorised by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst is not adhering to the Code of Conduct or have any other concerns you may complete and submit this Complaints Form. The Special Religious Education Complaints Policy and Procedure will be followed to resolve the issue. The SRE Complaints Flowchart outlines this process.
If the issue is a breach of child protection legislation, please contact the school principal and then the safeguarding officer at the Chancery on (02) 6334 6400.