Christians to upskill school instructors

Benjamin Preiss

The main provider of controversial Christian religious instruction in state schools will shake up training for instructors, offering accredited courses through a private college.

Access Ministries’ entry into the private training market comes after the resignation of chief executive Evonne Paddison. Acting chief executive Dawn Penney has outlined her plans, including a more open and communicative relationship with the 12 Christian denominations that belong to the group.

Access Ministries is creating its own accredited course in Christian education to be offered in partnership with the Australian College of Ministries. The provider stressed it intends to raise the standard of instructors, not generate income through training.

It is negotiating with the Education Department for a new funding agreement.

Earlier this year the Education Department issued a ministerial directive that schools could withdraw religious instruction if there were insufficient resources. It also said religious instruction must be “clearly opt-in” for parents.

Fairness in Religions in School campaign member Scott Hedges said religious instruction had no place in state schools.