Who is SUSA?
Scripture Union South Australia is a Christian organisation with over 145 years’ experience working with children, youth and families in over 120 countries, and is well known for producing educational material and Bible resources for churches and individuals. In co-operation with volunteers from local churches, we train and resource volunteers to conduct classroom and seminar programs in primary and high schools, as well as voluntary student groups during lunchtimes or after school. SUSA also runs popular holiday and camping programs for families and young people.
It is a founding member of the Schools’ Ministry Group (SMG), established by the Heads of Churches in South Australia. This group co-ordinates the Christian Pastoral Support Program (Chaplaincy) in schools throughout South Australia.
Scripture Union in South Australia is affiliated with Scripture Union organisations in each Australian State and Territory, and in over 120 other countries. Scripture Union in SA is run by a small professional team working with volunteers from all major church denominations.
Scripture Union programs in schools
Scripture Union has been a leading voice in providing age appropriate Christian programs in South Australian classrooms since 1984. Our School Programs are designed to help school students understand the basic teachings of Jesus. They aim to broaden students options as they consider the major questions of life in an informative and educational way.
These programs are designed to fulfil the provision of the Education Act, which provides for ‘a maximum of one half day in each term to be set aside for the churches desiring to participate to hold seminars or gatherings’
[Regulations 192 (2)]
Our programs are fast moving and highly interactive, overflowing with activities purposefully designed to stimulate the many different learning styles of children. They’re made up of 3 x one-hour sessions, one class at a time, and provide great opportunities for small group discussions. A child’s attention is continually engaged throughout the program. They’re never dull, nor boring.
An educational rationale for principals, staff and school councils
Many teachers have fears about the inclusion of ‘Religious’ groups into their community and school curricula. However it is important to point out that all SUSA programs operate within the boundaries established by the Department of Education. These boundaries prohibit any organisation, whether faith based or otherwise from ‘proselytising’, which can be defined as ‘efforts to induce or coerce a person to accept a particular religion, belief or way of life’. Our school programs teach about the Christian faith from an historical, cultural and values basis. They do not proselytise.
At SUSA we believe that the spiritual aspect of humanity is important and often overlooked. According to Australian polling data, over 60% of Australians identify themselves as Christian and around 80% state that they believe in the existence of God. SUSA recognises this, and believe that religion still plays an important part in Australian lives. As Australia is predominantly a Christian nation, SUSA seeks to teach the basic history, beliefs and values of Christianity. It is of course up to parents to guide and educate their own children as to what they want them to believe, and with any school program parents can choose for their children not to participate in the programs SUSA conduct.
Staff and volunteer screening, training and requirements
At SUSA we strongly believe that children are precious. They’re also the most vulnerable members of our community. Which is why all SUSA school staff and volunteers must be approved through the Department of Education requirements of a DCSI (Department for Communities and Social Inclusion) Employment Screening Check, undergo the Responding to Abuse & Neglect training course, and do the ChildSafe training program.
Our volunteers also undergo referee checks to make sure they are suitable people to be involved. So you can see at SUSA we go above and beyond the legal and DECD requirements in order to ensure the safety of young people and suitability of volunteers and staff.
Visit our ChildSafe page for more information about this training program.
Read our Process, Procedure and Protocol page to see the necessary hoops that we put applicants through BEFORE they can become a Scripture Union Volunteer.
Our method of engagement, practice and materials are designed to educate and present information in a way that young people can easily understand. None of our programs are designed to indoctrinate students into the Christian faith, nor to promote any one approach. They are not designed to build up the faith or knowledge of those students with a Christian background, but are intended to allow all students to become aware of who Jesus is, and what he teaches. They aim to broaden students’ options, as they consider the major questions of life, in an informative and educational way.
While some of our programs and resources are produced from Scripture Union interstate, the overwhelming majority of our curricula and materials used in our school programs have been designed by South Australian educators, specifically for use in the schools of this state. They reflect current educational practice, and are designed to complement other religious education courses.
SUSA’s school programs are taught by trained teams, working with students in their normal class groupings and rooms. These teams are made up of local people, drawn from a variety of local churches, working in partnership with Scripture Union personnel. Class teachers are expected to be present, and are invited to participate if they wish.
Scripture Union school programs and the Australian curriculum
Scripture Union’s School Program has been developed to align with the DECD documents Educating for the 21st Century and the South Australian Curriculum, Standards and Accountability Framework. In these documents there are references to developing students’ understanding of Australians’ multicultural values, cultures and beliefs. In particular, the learning area ‘Society and Environment’ has provided the Christian Option Program with a framework which has complemented our aims.
“Society and environment involves the study of how the life experiences and relationships of individuals and groups are shaped and characterised by particular social, cultural, religious, historical, economic, political, technological and ecological systems and structures which develop in different ways and places at different times. The learners’ own experiences and knowledge are starting points in the challenge of discussing and taking new perspectives on ideas and issues, and there is an emphasis on understanding and participating in ethical issues concerning societies and environments.”
Scripture Union’s School Program seeks to contribute to the fulfilment of these statements:-
A) It helps students understand some of the cultural, social, historic and religious values within Australia and the global community.
B) It encourages students to interact with adults from their own community who are committed to a specific belief system and set of values. Together they investigate the Judaeo-Christian culture, people and heritage.
C) It encourages students to be informed, responsible and active citizens who respect and appreciate the diversity and values of others.
“Using inquiry learning and other processes, society and environment encourages children and students to understand and critically challenge ideas, in order to participate positively and effectively in their schools and communities. They develop the understandings, skills and dispositions to be active citizens who can make informed and reasoned decisions and act on these.”
How is the program implemented?
The leaders facilitate students’ learning by using inquiry learning through small and large group work, DVD clips, dramas, activities, games and discussions. Students use skills in communicating, researching, working co-operatively, posing independent questions and expressing their feelings and opinions.
What a Scripture Union school program offers your students
The SACSA Framework specifies a number of essential learnings that seek to develop key competencies for all students. Our SUSA School Programs develop three of these skills in particular:-
The style of these programs, and their methodology, develop communication skills. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are integral parts of each program.
Identity and Interdependence
All of our School Programs affirm the personal worth of each individual. They are based on the model of genuine care and respect provided by Jesus and his teaching of an ethic of justice, love and protection of the weak. They promote tolerance, and an acceptance of different points of view.
Critical and Creative Thinking
With the use of primary source documents, a variety of communication channels and the reliance on research skills, our School Programs develop and enhance skills in this area.
Some comments from teachers
“The leaders engaged the students well and had a good mix of activities to hold the interest of the children.“
(Teacher, Cowell Area School)
“As a teacher I value anything which enables students to debate, discuss and evaluate life issues.“
(Teacher, Clapham PS)
“The students enjoyed the interactive educational components where they were personally involved.“
(Teacher, Highgate PS)
“I value the contribution that it makes to the curriculum.“
(Teacher, Seacliff PS)
“Students were engaged…and discussed issues that were contemporary and relevant to adolescents today.“
(Teacher, Highgate PS)
“The program is very valuable and links to our values.“
(Teacher, Flinders Park PS)
“The format, organisation and quality of delivery is top class – congratulations. The rapport and interaction with the students is fantastic!“
(Teacher, Fulham North PS)
“They are very valuable lessons because students are starting to value their friends and respect one another more. They are starting to build up a better character because they are made aware of moral values.“
(Teacher, Berri PS)
“It was a program that gave students a choice without pressure. I really like the way it is aimed at the students’ level and that they can discuss ideas in a non-threatening environment. It is also fantastic that there are so many volunteers to allow for such small group work…thought it was excellent.“
(Teacher, Hallett Cove East PS)
Some comments from students
“You made learning about God fun and easy.“
“The interesting bits were finding out what I believed about God and Jesus because I have never thought about it before.“
“You’re all cool. Thank you for coming. I hope we see you another time.“
“Thank you for taking the time to come and tell us about God and Jesus.“
We thank you for taking an interest and for visiting our site.
Please read the more commonly raised questions (FAQ) we receive. It is our hope that any questions you may have are answered. If not, please contact us with your question.