School Bible lessons now need parental consent in New Zealand

(Photo: Unsplash/Sarah Noltner)

Religious instruction is no longer compulsory in New Zealand's state schools after a change to the law. 

The Education and Training Act 2020 has been reformed to require parental consent before children can take part in religious instruction that teaches about the Bible and other aspects of faith. 

Before the changes came into effect, children were automatically enrolled in the lessons but parents had the option of withdrawing them if they did not want them to take part. 

Religious instruction in schools has been the source of a long-running legal battle in New Zealand.

The Secular Education Network has been the driving force behind calls to end religious instruction in schools, 

The introduction of the opt-in comes weeks before a case over Bible-teaching in schools was due to be heard at the High Court.

SEN member Tanya Jacob has dropped the case in light of the changes. 

The SEN, however, said it will continue to campaign for the full removal of religious instruction in schools.