Report of Committee on Religious Education

20 Sep 2018
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Photo of Select Committee meeting room in Parliament House - black and whiteIn 1972, the Victorian Minister for Education, the Hon. L. H. S. Thompson, initiated a Committee under the chairmanship of the former Deputy Director General of Education, W. B. Russell, to examine religious education in Government schools.

After two years of research with the Committee meeting on 30 occasions, the Chairman, W. B. Russell, delivered the final report, titled, Report of the Committee on Religious Education – Victoria, 1974, in September 1974. The Report’s key recommendations were that:

  1. religious instruction in State schools be progressively replaced by the kind of religious education delineated in the body of this Report. [Note: The Report describes what might currently be referred to as General Religious Education (GRE), as defined in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. Namely, ‘In this section “general religious education” means education about the major forms of religious thought and expression characteristic of Australian society and other societies in the world.’]
  2. the programs of religious [HSV prefers ‘world-view’] education in each school be conducted by Departmental teachers . . .
  3. when religious education, along the lines recommended in this Report, has been satisfactorily established in the schools, the Minister then consider the desirability of seeking the repeal of Section 23 of the Education Act [Note: now Section 2.2.11 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006]


Full text (in PDF) of Report of the Committee on Religious Education – Victoria, 1974

Preface, Contents, Ch 1: Introduction

Ch 2: Religious teaching in Victorian state schools since 1872

Ch 3: Recent developments in the provision of religious education in state schools in Australia

Ch 4: The changing forms of religious education

Ch 5: The attitude of teachers, students and community to religious education

Ch 6: Some implications for religious education of current understanding of child development

Ch 7: Our pluralist society: some implications for religious education

Ch 8: Changes in schooling which affect religious education

Ch 9: The term “Secular Instruction”

Ch 10: The school curriculum and the rights of parents, the public and the teaching profession

Ch 11: Religion and the study of religion

Ch 12: The possibility of educating in religion

Ch 13: Why religious education ought to be included in the school curriculum

Ch 14: Methodological considerations

Ch 15-I: At the junior primary level

Ch 15-II: At the senior primary level

Ch 15-III: At the junior secondary level

Ch 15-IV: At the senior secondary level

Ch 16: Staffing and teacher education

Ch 17: The contribution of the churches and other institutions and organisations

Ch 18: Legal and organizational considerations

Appendix 5: Summaries of some submissions – Humanist Society submission

  1. Government Committee on Religious Education
  2. HSV Submission to Committee on Religious Education
  3. Report of Committee on Religious Education
  4. HSV Objection to Report on Religious Education