In 2007 the Australian government established the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP), a three year program that provided funds to place a Chaplain in schools that successfully applied for a grant.
The goal of this funding was to make available to many more school communities the spiritual, social, and emotional support for students, parents and staff that community-funded chaplains already provided in most states. Chaplains provide pastoral care and help in developing positive values and relationships and may provide spiritual guidance when requested. They also enhance engagement with the broader community.
Due to its success the program was extended to the end of 2011 and in 2012 a new program expanded to 1,000 more schools, but with the non-faith-based option of a Student Welfare Worker (SWW). Under the National School Chaplain and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP) there were 2,900 Chaplaincies and more than 600 SWWs in over 3,500 grant schools nation-wide from 2012- 14.
In the Commonwealth budget on May 13, 2014 funds were provided for a further four years of grants for School Chaplains under a new National School Chaplaincy Programme but not for Student Welfare Workers as these positions were not part of the original concept in 2007, and state governments are responsible for welfare programs in state schools.
On June 19, 2014 the High Court ruled that the method of providing grants to schools was outside the narrowly defined "executive power" of federal governments under the constitution and that Chaplaincy grants must be applied via the states. The National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP) therefore ceased to operate for the remainder of 2014, though grants already paid have enabled providers to keep employing Chaplains and SWWs to the end of the year as intended.
On October 10, 2014 the federal government announced that all states and territories had agreed to participate in the new National School Chaplaincy Programme from 2015. Each state and territory need their own grant application process and all schools wanting a Chaplain will be able to apply for the 2900 grants available. There will be no automatic rollover for previous grant schools, and not all schools will be successful. We await news from the Department of Education and Communities about the application process for NSW schools.
Fortunately Generate’s goal has always been to develop a model of local community funding for School Chaplains in NSW state schools as exists in every other state in Australia. Generate is committed to growing and increasing the positive impact of Chaplaincy for the long term for state schools that choose it, and we know that partnering with churches and local communities is the best way to make this happen. By helping grow local support for your Chaplain you can help secure their role into the future.
Want to know more about Generate's Chaplaincy Program: myChaplain? Watch our video below!