Ethics classes headed for Dubbo

ETHICS classes in primary schools are yet to reach Dubbo, but the organisation running them says it is hopeful of an expansion out west.

In Sydney and elsewhere on the NSW coast, children are being turned away from classes because demand is bigger than supply.

Primary ethics volunteer program manager Tinny Hon said interest so far in the central west was patchy but part of that was many parents being unaware of their service.

"There is some interest, but not enough for full classes at this stage," she said.

"Usually in towns with universities, academics or families within that community are interested.

"We absolutely want to come out there, but the main hurdle is letting people know we exist."

The organisation plans to attempt introducing callsets and conduct classes online for isolated students before regular classes are introduced.

Primary ethics, made up of three paid staff and about 800 volunteers, teaches ethical issues to public school students from years 3 to 6 who opt out of special religious education.

Relying on private funding, volunteers offering to act as ethics teachers undergo a two-day training course, online modules and police and child protection checks.

They are locally based, often parents of students, and Ms Hon said fathers on the coast were particularly getting involved.

"They like to join in and it helps with self-esteem," she said.

Ms Hon said there were plans to hold a training course in Bathurst, but a date had not been yet confirmed.

The Department of Education and Communities told the Daily Liberal only one school is so far listed by Primary ethics as offering the subject in the western NSW region.

That is Cooerwull Public School in Lithgow.

A department spokesperson said feedback indicated that ethics had been well received at schools where offered by volunteers.

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