LESSONS in good citizenship are being taught to students with no interest in religion.
Already volunteers are being trained in Tamworth to deliver ethics classes, in Armidale, Ben Venue Public School students had their first lesson on Tuesday.
Reviewed by the Department of Education, the Primary Ethics program is a welcome alternative to special religious education for many parents.
"We are really keen to offer training to volunteers in the New England North West because there's a lot of schools with kids sitting out of scripture in what is called "meaningful activities," but it's usually just colouring in," Primary Ethics trainer Heidi McElnea said.
"Parents have lobbied for a long time for a complement to scripture, something valuable children can do that will help give them tools in their life."
The Kindergarten to Year 6 program is taught at 500 schools and has been going since 2011.
It's taught by volunteers, anyone from grandparents, community members or university students.
In NSW there are 2700 people who have volunteered to deliver the classes, Ms McElnea said.
"Sometimes we act out of habit without thinking of the consequences, it's about equipping kids with practical skills to think about ethical issues," she said.
"These kids then live a more considered life in that they are less likely to cave into peer pressure.
"One of our topics is about times to be brave and times to weigh up the risks to help children be empowered to make the best decisions in their lives."
The program is delivered to 40,000 children in the state.
Ben Venue Public School in Armidale has a high number of multicultural students, deputy-principal Cam Pryce said.
As a result, there were a large number of students who had opted out of scripture.
Children who don't take part in the religious education classes are not allowed to learn new material from the curriculum, instead teachers at Ben Venue review homework or play outdoors.
"For parents who don't want their children to participate in scripture the alternative is meaningful activities but no explicit instruction in anything," he said.
"It's so students in scripture don't miss out on a structured learning program, but now we have ethics to offer instead for students who aren't religious.
"We sought feedback from our parent bodies and there was a lot of interest in students participating in ethics classes." Armidale City Public School takes part and Drummond Memorial Public School will have their first lesson in a fortnight.