Provision of RI and other instruction
Student allocation to RI or other instruction
Religious instruction (RI) is a program of instruction that is approved and provided by a faith group during normal school hours to eligible students (Years 1–12) for up to 1 hour per week by an approved religious instructor.
RI is a program of instruction that is approved by a faith group and delivered by an approved religious instructor, during normal school hours (for up to one hour per week), to students (in Years 1–12) with written consent to participate.
RI is not a curriculum or syllabus provided by the Department of Education.
The provision of RI during school hours in Queensland state schools is legislated in Chapter 5 of the
Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 and Part 5 of the
Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017.
RI is not compulsory, nor is it provided to students in the Preparatory Year (Prep).
Any parent of a student enrolled at a state school may change their consent regarding their child’s participation in RI or other instruction at any time by notifying the principal in writing.
During the period allocated for RI, students who are not participating in RI must be provided with
other instruction and be supervised in a separate location where they cannot see or hear the RI lesson or its content.
Legislation allows any minister of a religious denomination or society, or an
accredited representative of a faith group who has been approved by the Minister for Education (or their delegate, i.e. the school principal), to provide RI.
Delivering RI is
not part of a teacher's or chaplain's duties. However, if a chaplain or a teacher works part-time, they may choose to provide RI in their own time, outside of their scheduled work hours.
Any student in Years 1–12 who has written consent (as per
application for student enrolment form (PDF, 728KB) or other written instructions from a parent) can attend RI.
A parent can change their consent at any time by notifying the school principal in writing.
Faith groups deliver RI to students who have written consent to participate, as either a
single arrangement—when a religious leader of a single faith group elects to deliver RI separate from other faith groups, or as a
cooperative arrangement—when religious leaders of 2 or more faith groups agree to work together to provide RI as one faith group.
The faith group determines the content of RI programs. The
religious leader of the faith group approves the program of instruction. If the faith group is a member of a cooperative arrangement for RI, then the program of instruction is approved by all participating religious leaders.
While the department is not involved in the selection of content for RI, schools review the program/s to ensure that the content and activities do not contravene legislation or departmental policies and procedures, and may review them to ensure the program is developmentally appropriate. How this is done is determined by the school.
The Queensland Multi-Faiths RI Peak Body Network commissioned independent reviews of some RI programs for their alignment with departmental policy requirements. The review reports are available on the
Network's website and schools may choose to access these when reviewing the program/s to be delivered at their school.
The principal determines the types of activities to be offered to students participating in
other instruction. Other instruction must relate to part of the curriculum that has already been covered in a student's class and does not include ‘free time’. Examples of appropriate activities include wider reading, personal research, assignments or revision of work.
Other instruction must occur in a separate location to RI and be supervised by a school staff member.
Under the RI provisions of the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017, students who are not participating in RI are provided with
other instruction. Ethics could only be undertaken as other instruction if it relates to part of the curriculum that has already been covered in class. Ethics education cannot be offered as an alternative to RI.
Under section 76(1) of the
Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, RI must be conducted during normal school hours for up to 1 hour each week on such a day as the principal of the school appoints.
Section 29 of the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017 requires the principal to fix the period in which RI may be given each week. Changes to the period in which RI is offered may be made, however, it is recommended that schools provide notice of schedule changes to the RI coordinator in advance to allow for appropriate planning by the coordinator.
No. Departmental policy requires state schools to conduct RI during normal school hours, excluding meal breaks. Recess and lunch breaks support students’ social and emotional wellbeing and ensure students take time out for meals and to socialise and play.
RI is provided at Queensland state schools in accordance with Chapter 5 of the
Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 and Part 5 of the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017. RI is a program of instruction about a specific faith that is approved by that faith group and delivered by an approved religious instructor during school hours to students (in Years 1–12) with written consent to participate.
RE may be taught by teachers as a subject or as a topic within a subject. In Years 11 and 12, students can elect to study the subject ‘Studies of Religion’ where they explore and critique the role religion has played and continues to play in society. Students can also elect to study the senior secondary subject ‘Religion and Ethics’ to explore the influence of beliefs on an individual’s values and actions. Across Prep to Year 10, students may study subjects where a topic involves exploring how religions have shaped particular societies and events or influenced people’s cultural identities.
Both RI and RE may be delivered at a Queensland state school.
Students are allocated to RI or other instruction based on information provided by a parent on the completed application for student enrolment form or in other written instructions from a parent to the school. The parent’s choice remains in effect until the parent provides other written instructions to the school.
Parents can change their preference for their child to participate in RI or other instruction at any time by notifying the school principal in writing.
Schools may choose to use the
optional template: information and consent form – religious instruction and other instruction to update student RI records at any time.
If it’s available, the child is to be allocated to RI for the nominated denomination.
If RI for the nominated denomination
is not available (as a single arrangement), but forms part of a Christian cooperative arrangement, the child is to be allocated to that RI program.
Should the specific denomination not form part of a Christian cooperative arrangement, the child is to be allocated to other instruction.
Yes. At any time, a parent can provide written consent for their child to attend any RI program that is available at the school.
Schools are expected to record details for new enrolments and maintain records when parents change their RI preference (by writing to the school principal) in the OneSchool Manage Student Details > Enrolment Details module.
Yes. Schools can provide religious instructors with a list of the names of students participating in their RI class. Such a list is not to leave school grounds unless it is de-identified (e.g. consists of first names only with no year level or school name).
Information about the RI program/s available at the school, as well as other instruction, is provided at the time of enrolment and on the school’s website, in the newsletter and/or in the parent handbook, as per the department’s
school website, newsletter, parent handbook information document.
Information on school websites should be listed under the extra-curricular or co-curricular tab and must be reviewed and updated as required and at least annually. Schools should liaise with the RI coordinator/s about the RI program-specific information to be included and may choose to copy text from the
Queensland Multi-Faiths RI Peak Body Network’s website.
Any change to the availability of RI programs must be clearly communicated to parents in a timely manner that allows them to make an informed decision on their child’s participation.
At the discretion of the principal and at any time, schools can also distribute to their community other information (i.e. pamphlets or
brochures) developed by a faith group and provided by the RI coordinator about the RI program/s available at the school.
No. The original allocation of a student to RI or other instruction remains in effect from year to year unless the parent informs the school principal otherwise in writing.
Schools are not required to seek an annual update from parents on RI participation, however, they may choose to do so and can use the department’s
optional template: information and consent form – religious instruction and other instruction. While it remains a principal’s decision, choosing to share this document with parents of students entering Year 1 may be worthwhile given this is the first year in which students can participate in RI.
Parents may change their RI preference at any time by writing to the school principal.
Schools must keep a register of the ministers of religion or accredited representatives who attend the school and the dates and times of their attendance. Schools choose how to do this. An RI instructor’s attendance can be recorded in the school’s visitor book or equivalent. These files must be retained in accordance with the department’s information management and privacy requirements.
Section 34 of the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017 allows religious instructors to bring onto, and use on, school premises a publication of a religious denomination or society as part of their authorised RI program. Religious instructors must not leave such publications at the school.
Non-denominational faith group publications used as part of an authorised RI program that are not considered to be a publication of a religious denomination or society may be stored securely on school premises.
Students who do not participate in RI must not have access to any RI publications.
The fundamental religious texts such as the Bible, the Koran, the Tripitaka, the Torah, etc are not considered to be faith group publications.
Under section 67 of the Education (General Provisions) Regulations 2017, non-educational documents (i.e. documents other than those used in delivering an educational program to students of the school) can only be distributed with the permission of the principal.
Religious leaders write to the principal using
form 1: single/cooperative arrangement and religious instructor approval. The principal considers the information provided and, if there are students of that faith at the school, approves the person/s listed on the form to conduct religious instructors at the school by completing
form 2: religious instructor approval.
Yes. As part of school-based induction, religious instructors are required to complete the department’s
Mandatory All-Staff Training program: Key messages guide 2022 for contractors, volunteers, visitors, preservice teachers and other adult students on placements (PDF, 1.2MB) which includes student protection and code of conduct training. Refresher training is required on an annual basis.
Principals have the discretion to request that religious instructors complete additional training specific to their school.
Religious instructors must also hold a valid blue card. If they are yet to receive the actual card, instructors can provide the school with a copy of the Blue Card Services email stating their blue card has been approved.
Details of all mandatory training for religious instructors must be retained for audit purposes. Schools should use attachment 2 of
form 1 (from the
RI policy statement) to record training.
In addition, the
Mandatory All-Staff Training program: Key messages guide 2022 for contractors, volunteers, visitors, preservice teachers and other adult students on placements (PDF, 1.2MB) includes a record of completion section to be signed by the instructor and the principal (or principal’s delegate). The record of completion can be shown to principals of other schools as evidence of training completion.
A blue card holder can provide the school with a copy of the email approval they receive from Blue Card Services stating that their blue card has been approved. This email will contain their blue card number and its expiry date and is sufficient for the applicant to commence work while they await receipt of their actual card.
The school will need to
validate the blue card number on Blue Card Services’ website and verify the cardholder and their date of birth by sighting identification documents, e.g. a driver’s licence or passport.
The school is also required to link the person to the school organisation – which can be done instantly using the
Blue Card Services Organisation Portal or (if the school does not have access to the portal) by completing a link form and submitting it to Blue Card Services.
A school staff member is always present to provide supervision during both RI and other instruction.
A religious occasion, event or tradition at a school that does not form part of an RI authorised program/s is outside the scope of the
RI policy statement.
Yes. Decisions about the content and use of a prayer are made by principals in consultation with the school community (i.e. staff, students and the Parents and Citizens’ Association).
Parents must be informed of the school prayer’s content, when it will be recited and that they may withdraw their child from the event or part of the event in which the prayer is to be recited.
If used, prayers should ideally be presented at the beginning or the end of an event to ensure minimal disruption caused by the movement of students or staff not attending the prayer component.
There may be times when religious occasions or events are observed in state schools, for example, Christmas, Easter, a prayer as part of ANZAC commemorations, Ramadan, Buddha’s Birthday, Festival of Lights, etc.
Decisions to observe religious occasions (or to include a religious element in an event) should be made by the principal in consultation with the school community.
All parents should be provided with information in advance about religious elements of an occasion or event to allow them to make an informed decision about their child’s participation or withdrawal from the event or a specific component of it.
When a school excursion venue is managed by a religious group, this should be mentioned in the excursion consent form, even if the excursion activity is not of a religious nature.
Parents should be notified of the nature of any religious observances conducted at the facility/venue (e.g. saying Grace at mealtimes) and be informed that their child can be withdrawn from that activity if the parent wishes.
Principals make decisions about what is acceptable advertising with reference to the
A school cannot explicitly accept advertising that promotes, contains, undermines or disparages religious views or beliefs, but may communicate information (for example via their newsletter) regarding upcoming events that may contain religious component.
Information about an event that has a religious component or content should be clearly communicated in advance to parents to allow them to make an informed decision about participation. Communications should be presented as editorial content, rather than advertising, and be approved by the principal.
For further information, please contact your regional Principal Advisor, Education Services.