Special Religious Education (SRE) in Government Schools

Special Religious Education

Special Religious Education (SRE) is an important ministry within this Diocese which supports parents, students, clergy and parishes in the religious education of approximately 2500 students attending government schools.

CLICK HERE for the latest SRE Newsletter

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had an impact on this ministry. The current concern is many of those previously involved in the SRE ministry fit into the vulnerable category according to the NSW Health guidelines and the AHPPC guidelines.

We need your help!

Do you have a calling to spread the good news and joy of the Gospels to children in 2024?

Are you able to be there to support the children in the SRE classroom and the Catechists who are unable to return?

Be There for Me campaign


Hunter SRE Recruitment Video (Captions) from Strategic Minds Communications on Vimeo.

Special Religious Education (SRE) is an important ministry within this Diocese which supports parents, students, clergy and parishes in the religious education of Catholic students attending government schools. The Formation & Education office support this ministry so the developing faith of children and young people is based on sound educational principles and sensitive age appropriate teaching.

SRE is often referred to as 'Scripture' and SRE volunteers may also be referred to as Catechists or Scripture Teachers.

Most government primary schools and many high schools have religious education provided for students. SRE lessons are usually 30 minutes once a week in primary schools. These lessons are presented by authorised, trained and dedicated volunteers from Catholic parishes and other churches.  Families have the choice to send their children to these lessons or an alternative activity.

The Diocesan Special Religious Education Handbook is useful for the correct implementation of SRE in parishes. The SRE handbook contains links to relevant sites. 

From the 2015 Review of SRE findings the Department of Education NSW recommends approved providers have in place a system of ongoing SRE training, review and support which includes Child Protection, Classroom Management, DoE Policy and Procedure, Codes of Conduct, age appropriate sensitive teaching, and teacher reflective practice.

Regular review of SRE teaching practice may include adherence to the approved authorised curriculum, teaching the curriculum with sensitivity and in an age appropriate manner, teacher classroom observation, coordinator feedback and further support. Contact the Deanery SRE Coordinator for more information.

How do I become an SRE Volunteer?

Thank you for considering becoming an SRE teacher. These steps will help you understand what is involved in becoming an SRE teacher and the ongoing requirements for SRE teachers.

Successful SRE volunteers demonstrate the skills, knowledge and attitudes to educate children and communicate well with them. They are comfortable with being on a faith journey with the children and are willing to learn more about themselves and their faith. As you read, we pray you will also discern whether you are the right person to teach SRE. Contact your parish leader to discuss becoming an SRE volunteer before beginning this authorisation process. 

Recognition for prior learning is available.


Step 1:  Apply for a Working with Children Check (WWCC) here. If you don’t have the internet, please visit a Service NSW office. You will need your WWCC number before you can complete step 2.

Step 2:  Complete the Diocesan Volunteer Induction Handbook and forms. The parish will send the forms to Volunteers@mn.catholic.org.au and the Diocesan HR (Human Resources) office will email the parish office notifying them that the parishioner is cleared to volunteer. The parish would then communicate this information to the volunteer. 

Step 3:  Complete Unit 1 of the CCRESS (Catholic Conference of Religious Educators in State Schools in NSW-ACT) online training (email sre@mn.catholic.org.au to request login details). Note: This MUST be completed before you can enter a classroom. Once you have completed this unit, email sre@mn.catholic.org.au  to verify completion of the unit and your parish will then be notified.

Step 4:  Read the Diocesan SRE Code of Conduct with your parish SRE coordinator / Parish Induction coordinator who will then sign this section on the Authorisation form. (This could be done with Step 2).          

Step 5:  Complete the SRE Authorisation Form and have it signed by your Parish Leader. After completion, the parish will give you a copy and also forward a copy to the Formation and Education Office.

Step 6:  Complete the Declaration form and email to sregeneral@mn.catholic.org.au.

Step 7: Your Parish office will be sent an SRE Authorisation card for your Parish Priest to sign and authorise you to commence teaching. Please carry this card when attending schools.    

Within 6 months

Step 7: Complete Course 2: Safeguarding in Parishes training in the first six months. The Office of Safeguarding website has dates and registration details.

Within 12 months

Step 8:  Continue CCRESS online training (Modules 2-9). Once you have completed all units, email sre@mn.catholic.org.au to verify completion.


As part of the review process SRE teachers agree to complete a teacher self- reflection every 12 months.

Online Safeguarding training update every year (commencing in 2021) and face to face training every 6 years.

Working with Children check to be renewed every 5 years.

SRE Authorisation form needs to be completed every 5 years.

Regular and ongoing training in Classroom management strategies, implementation of the curriculum and relevant Department of Education policies & procedures.

If you are interested in knowing more about becoming an SRE volunteer contact your parish.

Documents and Forms

Teacher Evaluation/Feedback Form

A part of the diocese assurance to the NSW Department of Education and Communities is that each SRE teacher would be reflecting on their teaching. To fulfil this obligation, all SRE teachers need to complete this brief Teacher Evaluation/Feedback Form each year. https://forms.office.com/r/X1jkYc7M5u or click here to print a copy and send to us

Document Links

Authorisation Form 2023

Authorisation Process 2024

Checking a schools online enrolment

Code of Conduct

Complaints Policy and Procedure

SRE Teacher Declaration Form 2024

Handbook 2024




Approved Curriculum

Catholic SRE

Combined SRE


Initial training for SRE involves being introduced to the Code of Conduct and completion of Safeguarding training which is updated every 5 years.

Regular and ongoing training for SRE includes Safeguarding, classroom management strategies and implementation of the curriculum, relevant Department of Education policies & procedures. Encouragement days are used to explore teaching and learning such as classroom management and appropriate teaching strategies. Days of Prayer and Reflection are where volunteers deepen their understanding of the faith.

Online Training

CCRESS provides online training for those not able to attend face-to-face training.

The training program includes units 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.

Access to the online training is through a log-in process. For further information on this or any other training or authorisation questions, please email sregeneral@mn.catholic.org.au

For training dates, click on Events


Events for 2024

SRE Induction Day: 1 February (previously 29 January), Flyer link, Registration link

Walking with Jesus curriculum & ongoing training at Forster, Friday 19 January

GodSpace curriculum & ongoing training ongoing training at Newcastle West, Friday 2 February

SRE ongoing training at Tea Gardens, Monday 4 March

SRE ongoing training via Zoom, Monday 2 September

Reflection Day at Morpeth, Monday 27 May

Planning for 2025 at Morpeth. 18 November

Flyer link and Registration link for all other events


Annual Requirements

Parish office:

  • Each year parishes with Catholic SRE need to complete and send the Department of Education’s Authorisation letter to each school where Catholic SRE is taught BEFORE the commencement of SRE for the year.
  • Provide SRE Authorisation cards signed by Parish Leader to each SRE teacher/assistant.
  • Any SRE Authorisation forms that the Formation & Education Office has identified as requiring renewal must be completed (and a copy sent to the Formation & Education Office) BEFORE the SRE teacher/assistant can receive their new Authorisation card. Authorisation forms are renewed every 5 years.
  • Supply curriculum for SRE classes

Parish office or SRE coordinator

  • Organise timetable in conjunction with school SRE coordinator
  • Supply annual statistical information to Formation and Education office when requested
  • If an SRE coordinator coordinates Combined SRE, they are responsible for submitting the Department of Education’s Combined Authorisation letter to each school where Combined SRE is taught BEFORE the commencement of SRE for the year.

SRE Teachers/assistants

  • Complete a self-Reflection
  • Attend ongoing training
  • Show your Authorisation card to the school at the beginning of each year

NB: SRE teachers who are teaching across a number of schools need to be receive authorisation from the parish which encompasses the suburb of the school, e.g. John Smith teachers at Hamilton South and Wallsend primary schools, John needs to receive authorisation from both the Inner City and Wallsend/Shortland parishes.


Would you like to fund Special Religious Education? Donate now. 

  • $10 will provide a workbook for a child for a year
  • $100 will provide workbooks for a small class
  • $1000 will provide workbooks for a small school