‘Did you know that children whose parents make a conscientious decision to have them opt out of Special Religious Education (SRE) are prohibited from any form of instruction during this period? NSW Department of Education policy provides for the supervision of these children but specifies they are not to have access to ‘ethics, values, civics or general religious education.’ – St James Ethics Centre.
Hello and welcome to one of the few live rather than Skyped interviews that I conduct for this podcast. Last week I attended the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Association annual conference, held at the University of NSW. One of the presenters was Dr Philip Cam.
Dr Philip Cam is an Associate Professor in the School of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales. He has particular interests in the philosophy of the mind, education, social philosophy and philosophical inquiry for children. Dr Cam has written several books related to philosophical inquiry for children, some of which have been widely translated, and he is the author of many articles on related aspects of education.
In 2004, I attended a Level 2 training course in Philosophy for Children, with about fifteen other teachers, attending lectures and workshops run by practitioners, including Dr Cam. At the FAPSA conference, he did a short presentation about the state’s 10-week trial for secular ethics classes, which has caught some media attention – so I hoped to clear up a few misconceptions about the trial and whether it was, as some claimed, really ‘in competition’ with religious education classes.
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