Govt says children can sing Christmas carols

COALITION MPs are railing against what they claim is a directive from the state government saying that public schools should not sing “praise songs”, or Christmas carols directly related to Christian themes.

 They say these songs include Away in a Manger or Silent Night.

But according to Education Minister James Merlino, the claims are untrue.

“Traditional Christmas carols sung at govt schools this year & in years to come,” he tweeted.

Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull and Morwell MLA Russell Northe voiced their concerns, saying they had petitions that residents could sign, asking for the guidelines to be removed.

New guidelines were released in November, as part of the state government’s restructuring of special religious instruction.

While encouraging a secular education system, the guidelines allow for Christmas decorations to be put up, as well as symbols for other cultures, but not explicitly religious symbols.

Christmas carols are allowed, although hymns specifically are not.

The curriculum aims to teach about all religions, instead of focusing on just one, to help students understand other cultures and foster inclusiveness.

A spokesperson from Sale 545 Primary School said that their traditional end-of-year carols had not been affected at all, and that the children still chose which carols to sing.