School staff are sending students to school chaplains in their thousands

NEWS  |  Kaley Payne

Thursday 12 May 2016

A new report says school chaplains across Australia are having over 18,500 formal support conversations within their school setting every week, with students, staff and parents.

Of the 12,696 formal conversations chaplains have specifically with school students, over 50 per cent of them are referrals from school staff. 23 per cent are direct approaches from students themselves, and 13 per cent by parents.

The report was released by Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD), the largest provider of school chaplains in Australia, and was developed in partnership with McCrindle Research with the aim of showing “the tangible impact school chaplains have in our schools,” according to a statement.

In 2016, 2200 schools are supported by a chaplain working an average of three days a week. SU QLD says each chaplain will have, on average, nine student conversations, three staff conversations and two parent conversations every day, all of a “formal” nature, on topics ranging from relationships to grief and loss, family breakdown, bullying and harassment or school disengagement.

Over 37,400 programme sessions are run by chaplains every term on similar topics.

“More than one million school students and their families across Australia depend on their chaplain for social, emotional and spiritual support. School chaplaincy is building hope and resilience in future generations,” says Peter James, CEO of SU QLD.

The report is based on a survey of 1023 chaplains in Term 3 of 2015. It has been released a week after the 2016-2017 Federal Budget failed to include future school chaplaincy funding in its forward estimates. Chaplaincy providers across the country have launched appeals to their supporter base, asking them to contact their local MPs to highlight the benefits of school chaplaincy and the value of the programme.

“If there is no reaction from people who highly value school chaplains, the federal government might interpret that as a lack of support for school chaplaincy. We need to send the message that our schools and children need their chaplains to continue in 2019 and beyond,” said Peter James in a message to supporters.

See below for the full snapshot.

SnapshotNational-Chaplaincy-A4-2-pager-digital_Page_2

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