School Chaplaincy has a long and strong history across Australia.
“Schools play a vital role in promoting the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and wellbeing of young Australians.”
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, 2008
A Chaplain’s role is to assist schools in this vital role by providing holistic pastoral care for their students.
History of the National School Chaplaincy Programme
In 2007 the Australian government established the National Schools Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP) that provided funds to place a Chaplain in schools that successfully applied for a grant.
The goal of this Program was to make available the support that community-funded chaplains already provided in most states.
Due to its success Chaplaincy was expanded in 2012 to include another 1,000 schools.
The Commonwealth budget on May 13, 2014 provided funds for a further four years under a new National School Chaplaincy Programme.
On June 19, 2014 the High Court ruled that the method of providing grants for schools was outside the narrowly defined "executive power" of federal governments under the constitution and that Chaplaincy grants must be applied via the states.
Each state and territory has now established its own grant application process where all schools wanting a Chaplain can apply. The NSW Department of Education (DoE) is now responsible for the application process for NSW state schools.
On May 8, 2018 the Federal Government committed to the ongoing funding of the National School Chaplaincy Programme.
New State Funding Available for 2018–2020
The NSW State Government has recently announced funding for the Student Wellbeing Support Program. Schools can apply for a Chaplain under this Program.
Grants of $7,000 have been made available to schools who commit to contributing $7,000 and are able to secure $7,000 of community funding.
What do Chaplains Do?
A Chaplain is an additional support for school communities to assist with the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of members of school communities.
Chaplains are able to run specific programs tailored to the needs of the school such as grief and loss, resilience building and anti-bullying. Chaplains also provide one-on-one care, mentoring and support for students, parents and staff. Chaplains network with the local community to provide a broad range of support services to the school.
What kind of activities can a Chaplain do?
- Work with Learning Support or Welfare Team to facilitate student wellbeing
- Provide pastoral care for students, staff and the wider school community
- Facilitate small group programs and one-on-one meetings with students
- Facilitate lunch time activities to assist students in building healthy relationships
- Network with welfare services, local churches and other agencies in the local community to provide a broad range of support services to the school
- Facilitate groups, events and activities to support spiritual wellbeing with voluntary student participation
- Build mentoring relationships and assist students with goal setting
- Support staff at school camps, excursions and other activities as required