Eden Public School parent Jill Francis wants ethics taught at the school

READY TO TEACH: Jill Francis is keen for her children Nyla, 10, and Uri, 9, to take part in ethics classes at Eden Public School.
READY TO TEACH: Jill Francis is keen for her children Nyla, 10, and Uri, 9, to take part in ethics classes at Eden Public School.

When Eden Public School sent out expressions of interest to teach ethics, Jill Francis answered the call.

“I’d heard about ethics before and knew nothing was happening in that area at the school, so when they were looking for volunteers I put my hand up,” Ms Francis said.

The Kiah resident, who is completing a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at University of Wollongong’s Bega campus, said ethics provided a positive alternative for students who did not take part in weekly scripture classes.

“It would mainly be focused on going through different scenarios and looking at how people deal with them,” Ms Francis said.

“Ethics looks at moral reactions and the students’ beliefs across different situations, like, ‘if you found $20 would you hand it in?’

“The teaching gives them the tools to be well-rounded, to be conscious citizens.”

Ethics classes run at Pambula, Merimbula, Tathra and Narooma public schools across stages one, two and three.

​If they can ​run ethics classes at other schools in the area, there’s no reason they can’t run at Eden.

Jill Francis

Ms Francis will complete her training at Narooma in November, but cannot teach the class unless two more volunteers also complete the training.

“Ideally what we’d like is three volunteers: one for stage one, one for stage two and one for stage three,” she said.

“Whoever volunteers can take the stage that they’re comfortable with.”

And the training is not exclusive to parents at Eden Public School.

”People who are retired or even students completing HSC can apply,” Ms Francis said.

Heidi McElnea, communications manager at Primary Ethics, said ethics classes run at more than 450 schools across NSW, usually in the special religious education/special education in ethics weekly time slot.

“According to Department of Education data recently released, parents of 129 students at Eden Public School didn’t nominate a religion on their child’s enrollment form,” she said.

“That’s almost 50 per cent of the 265 students at the school.”

Ms McElnea said ethics teacher training usually only comes to the Far South Coast once or twice a year.

“We're keen to encourage as many interested people as possible to apply to become an ethics teacher in the next month,” she said.