Ethics@ Coogee Public School – a non-religious complement to scripture classes

Following the Dec 2010 amendment of the NSW Education Act 1990, students who don’t attend Special Religious Education (SRE)/Scripture classes in NSW public schools now have a legal right to receive philosophical ethics classes (known as Special Education in Ethics) as an option to supervised ‘private study.’

The NSW government has authorised Primary Ethics, a not-for profit organisation, to deliver these classes. The philosophical ethics classes that make up the Primary Ethics curriculum are inquiry based. Children use dialogue and discussion, learning how to think about ethical matters through the give-and-take of reasoned argument.

What is Ethics?

Ethics or moral philosophy seeks to address questions about morality including concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice and virtue.

In the ethics class the teacher will open up discussions with the children about conscience and how we make choices in the face of difficult questions and how that impacts upon ourselves and the people around us in our everyday lives.

For a short video on philosophical ethics and further information go to

For more information on the topics discussed in classes see the “Primary Ethics K-6 Curriculum Framework”

Can my Child do Ethics

Currently at Coogee Public School there are classes operating for all year groups. Ethics classes for Years 5 and 6 have been running very successfully since February 2011, Years 3 and 4 since July 2012 and Years 1 & 2 since July 2013. The Kindergarten class started in July 2014.

Each class has 8-22 children. If Special Education in Ethics class places are limited, those children who already opt out of SRE will have priority access to these classes over others who might want to join by opting out of Scripture.

Who Teaches Ethics?

Volunteer teachers are recruited from the parent body and the community. They are screened and trained to offer the course by Primary Ethics. The teachers at Coogee Public School are usually Coogee parents who generously give their time and energy to teach every Wednesday morning. If you are interested in teaching ethics go to or contact the Ethics Coordinator (see below).

How Do I Enrol My Child?

Print out the Ethics expression of interest enrolment form, fill it in and deliver it to the school office.
Ethics Coordinator at Coogee Public School