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1. Authorisation

Different denominations vary in their authorisation processes. The following apply to Baptist authorised SRE teachers in NSW. i.e. people who attend a Baptist Church in NSW.

AUTHORISATION IS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT and is gained by signing the necessary forms, applying for a Working With Children Check, completing child protection training and SRE classroom training and being endorsed by your church, once you have satisfied their requirements.

Do I need an authorisation card to teach Scripture?
Yes. And you must have it on you whenever you are on school premises – wear it as a name badge. Ours is designed to double up as a name badge which is also requirement for all SRE teachers to wear.

I filled in a form and sent it in ‘a few years back’. Does that mean I’m authorised?
All valid cards have an expiry date. Our cards are professional looking made out of plastic with the Baptist logo on it and will have your name on it, the school/s you are authorised to teach in, the expiry date and the statement to say your WWCC number has been verified.
If you do not have a card, you need one! You need to apply online here: SRE Authorisation LINK

What’s a Working With Children Check number?
Introduced by the NSW Government in 2013 for ALL people interacting with children/youth.
All existing Volunteer SRE teachers (including helpers) and paid SRE teachers must have a WWCC number before they are allowed to go into a school. You only need one number so if you already have one for church, school, tutoring etc. it will fine to use that number.
It is an on-line application. SRE teachers are listed under ‘religious services’ in the child related sector. There is no cost for volunteers. There is a fee for those who are in any child/youth related paid roles.
See http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-organisations/working-with-children-check for more details. We will verify your WWCC number before issuing you with an Authorisation card (Green Card). You must have completed the full process i.e. had your application and identification confirmed by the Roads & Maritime Services (old RTA).

Do teachers need to sign an SRE Teacher Engagement Form every year?
Your form is valid for as long as your card (will be for three years with either a ‘30/04/20XX or 30/09/20XX). You are responsible take note of the expiry date. We will keep records and contact you to send a reminder using the email address you give us. It is your responsibility to let us know if you change churches, schools and/or any other contact details. You will be asked to sign a new form if additional requirements are introduced. We have chosen to use the 30th April date so that your card is valid till the end of first term (or third term) so don’t have to deal with a mad rush to get new cards ready for the beginning of the year.

I just want to be a helper. Do I need to do all this?
The Department of Education do not distinguish between teachers and helpers so all must complete at least three modules, including Modules 1 & 4; the Safe Church training; have a Working With Children Check number and complete the ‘Helper’s application form’. A card noting their status will be issued. Helpers must be in the presence of an Authorised SRE teacher at all times. Helpers can apply through the online authorisation form here: SRE Authorisation LINK.

My authorisation card is due to expire, what should I do?
You need to complete the online SRE Authorisation application form here: SRE Authorisation LINK
(If you are with another denomination then you will need to contact them to check on their process). It would be helpful to check if others from your church also need new cards so we can do cards for your whole team together.

Do I need an interview before I can be authorised?
Yes. Your pastor will need to sign your authorisation form and will determine if an interview is necessary so they can confidently sign to say that you are competent to represent them in the school.

I attended training days but haven’t received a green card. Why not?
Authorisation cards are issued when your SRE teacher Engagement Form is received. If you’ve applied online and your church has not received your card please email the SRE team at sre@nswactbaptists.org.au or phone 9868 9235 to follow it up.

Our church doesn’t have a pastor at present. Who can sign our forms?
Where there is no pastor, an elected office bearer of the church such as the Secretary or Treasurer may sign the forms.

Does the pastor have to be authorised? Who signs the pastor’s form?
Yes, everyone who goes into schools under SRE has to be authorised and completed training. Another member of the pastoral team or an elected office bearer of the church may sign the pastor’s form. A pastor’s authorisation card must also be signed by a second person. No one may do SRE as an individual, only as a representative of the churches.

Our school doesn’t ask to see green cards. Why do we need to fill in SRE Engagement Forms and do child protection training?
It’s the law that teachers sign to say they meet child protection and Department of Education requirements, and be authorised for SRE by an Approved Provider. The Association of Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT (Baptist Union) is the Approved Provider for affiliated Baptist Churches. Even if schools don’t ask to see evidence because you are well known in the school, we have to comply and desire to fulfil best practice methods.

Why does the school ask for my WWCC number?
There has been some confusion as to where SRE teachers fit into the school’s practice of checking WWCC numbers. Principals have been informed that it is the responsibility of the SRE Provider to verify the WWCC number so schools do not need to do it. If you feel it creates a tension to not give the number then it’s up to you to decide if you want to give it to them or not. If you give your details then they are required to verify the number and you should request confirmation that the WWCC has been verified.

What is the requirements for an Under 18 year old who is not able to apply for a WWCC number?
The Department of Education requires all people without a WWCC number to sign a Contractor’s Form. As we have deemed that not to be appropriate for Under 18’s we (The Baptist Association) have negotiated with the Department of Education to approve a separate form for under 18’s to sign (in conjunction with their parent and/or school). Part of this agreement is that the Under 18 year old is not permitted to be responsible for a class on their own and must have an authorised SRE teacher (over 18) present with them at all times.

Someone from another local church, which is not an Approved Provider would like to. May they be authorised by the Baptist Association?
If a Baptist pastor/minister is comfortable signing off for someone from another local (non ‘Approved Provider’ status) church, who fulfils all our requirements, we will honour that. However no pastor/minister/leader is to feel compelled they have to do that. They must be comfortable with the arrangement. We also request that the pastor of the independent church co-sign any paperwork and keep a copy.

2. Training

What training do I need to complete to teach SRE?
Approved Providers, such as the Association of Baptist Churches in NSW & ACT (Baptist Union of NSW), now have to give an assurance to the government that all teachers they authorise receive ‘initial and ongoing training’. That means that to receive authorisation, two types of training is required – safe ministry training (Creating Safe Spaces) and SRE classroom training. As a member of the Inter-Church Commission of Religious Education In Schools (ICCOREIS), we have signed up to follow an agreed framework of training for all our teachers to complete. You may attend any training by a member of ICCOREIS. There are six (6) modules to be completed. With the changes that took place in 2011, only training done since 2012 (that is approved by us as part of the ICCOREIS framework) will be recognised.
For places and dates go to the website for details: https://nswactbaptists.org.au/sre-training/

Do I need to do child protection training to teach SRE?
Yes. To be authorised as a Baptist SRE teacher you need to do Creating Safe Churches or a recognised SCTA endorsed course every three years. The latest training calendar is available
from http://www.ncca.org.au/departments/safe-church/scta/scta-workshop-calendar
We require that you attend one that includes spiritual aspects, therefore email Joseph Lam
jlam@nswactbaptists.org.au for information of Creating Safe Spaces Training (includes Child Protection) Important Note: ONLY training provided by an Approved member of the SCTA (Safe Church Training Agreement) is accepted. There is a non approved on-line one around (i.e safe ministry training) that we will not recognise. Please check with Joseph Lam jlam@nswactbaptists.org.au before commencing any training. More information on Creating Safe Spaces can be found here: https://creatingsafespaces.org.au/

I’ve done my child protection training but haven’t received card, why?
Two types of training are required to teach SRE, both very different. Child protection/safe ministry/safe spaces training is one type, practical classroom training is the other.

Does our training get checked?
Yes, records are kept of training for each authorised teacher. You must complete a minimum of three modules (including modules 1 & 4) before any card will be issued with a commitment to complete the rest within three months.

If I’m not able to physically get to a face to face training day is there an alternative?
Face-to-face training days along with on-the-job training are undoubtedly the most effective type of training. Getting together with a professional and other teachers provides valuable opportunities to share challenges, pray, learn new skills, share your best tips and stay updated, not to mention having fun with like-minded people.

We recognise that due to distance, demands of young families, work commitments, etc. that not all folk are able to attend face to face training days so the Baptist Association and GodSpace have combined to produce training DVDs for Modules 1-4 based on the competencies in the ICCOREIS agreed training framework. These DVDs are ideal for new teachers, for those who have not yet done all the essential classroom modules at a training day and for those who want a refresher. Hopefully Module 5 will be available early in 2019. It is our desire that at some stage all SRE teachers attend at least one face to face training day within their three year authorisation period.

What does on – going training mean?
After the agreed six modules are done, there needs to be ongoing training (minimum of 2 hours per year) E.g. Being observed by an experience teacher for feedback – twice a year
You may sign up for weekly (term time) Teaching Tips that are emailed directly to you.
Go to http://eepurl.com/NA8Tr

I heard a teacher say they were ‘going for accreditation’. What does that mean?
Before 2013 the Department of Education and Communities had no training requirements on SRE teachers and teachers could be authorised by filling in the appropriate forms. They then could choose to go through a system of training offered by their denomination to be ‘accredited’. Now the Department requires two types of training for authorisation so authorisation and accreditation are the same, or will be. We are currently in a transition
period. Some denominations still have a system of accreditation.

I am a trained school teacher. Surely I can teach without SRE training?
As classroom teachers they generally don’t know the SRE guidelines or have an appreciation of the spiritual development of children. We require that all our SRE teachers do the six modules to gain an understanding of what it means to represent your church, or combined group of churches and share their experience with other teachers. Most trained school teachers come away from the training days expressing their appreciation of the
content and engagement with other SRE teachers.

I did child protection training for my job, can I get credit for it?
It needs to be specific churches training. It can be done with any church that is part of the SCTA agreement.

I went to a good kids ministry conference recently. Can that count as my SRE training?
After the agreed six modules are done, there needs to be ongoing training (minimum of 2 hours per year) and something like a kids ministry conference could be part of that.

3. Coordinators
See https://nswactbaptists.org.au/baptistsre/sre-co-ordinators/ for specific information for Coordinators (Church and Area ones).

If your question isn’t covered here, please email the SRE team sre@nswactbaptists.org.au or phone 9868 9235 with your question and preferably a phone number as well for a speedy reply.