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The National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) is an Australian Government-funded program to support the emotional wellbeing of students and the broader school community through the provision of pastoral care services in schools.
The NSCP defines pastoral care as the practice of looking after the personal needs of students and not just their academic needs, through the provision of general spiritual and personal advice.
Chaplains are not permitted to promote a particular religious view or belief and must respect, accept and be sensitive to other people’s views, values and beliefs. Chaplains must comply with State legislation and policies in relation to child protection matters, as well as meet minimum qualification requirements.
What is a School Chaplain?
Your school may have a Chaplain. If there is a Chaplain at your child’s school, participation in chaplaincy services is voluntary.
A Chaplain is an individual who:
- is recognised by the school community and the appropriate governing authority for the school as having the skills and experience to deliver school chaplaincy to the school community; and
- is recognised through formal ordination, commissioning, recognised religious qualifications or endorsement by a recognised or accepted religious institution; and
- meets the NSCP’s minimum qualification requirements.
All Chaplains must have a Working with Vulnerable People Registration.
Some of the things Chaplains do include:
- work as a member of the school’s wellbeing team in the delivery of student wellbeing services
- referrals for students, or sourcing appropriate services to meet their needs
- support to improve student engagement and connectedness
- help to create a safe, inclusive and supportive learning environment
- help with breakfast clubs and school activities such as sport, camps and gardens
- Chaplains are not allowed to talk to students about religion, unless the student wants them to.
Student participation in chaplaincy services
- Your child may only participate in chaplaincy related services or activities if you have an understanding of the services provided and you agree for your child to participate.
- If you do not want your child to participate in chaplaincy related services or activities, you must contact the school Principal.
What more do you need to know about School Chaplains?
- School Chaplains are employed by an external panel of Approved Chaplaincy Providers, and participating schools select a Chaplain and provider that best meets their needs.
- Education in government schools is required by law to be secular. Chaplains working in a Tasmanian Government School must not conduct religious services or ceremonies or lead students or staff in religious observances unless agreed to by the Principal.
Where can I get more information?
- Talk to your child’s teacher or principal.
- National School Chaplaincy Program