Department of Education

Behaviour and Wellbeing

Behaviour and Wellbeing

Behaviour and WellbeingWellbeing ‹ School Chaplaincy Program

School Chaplaincy Program

School Chaplaincy Program

Chaplaincy services play a key role in supporting public schools’ pastoral care provisions.  Schools’ pastoral care programs encompass a range of services and strategies that support the social and emotional wellbeing of students that is central to comprehensive educational provision in public schools.  Pastoral care is the practice of looking after the personal needs of students, not just their academic needs, through general support and advice.

Chaplains may be of any faith and must have regard to the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children, and the relevant State responses to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse (Volume 6 - Making institutions child safe, Volume 10 - Children with harmful sexual behaviours, and Volume 13 - Schools).


Voluntary participation

Participation in the school chaplaincy program by public schools and students is voluntary, and the school community must be made aware of this.  Parents/guardians can withdraw their child from the program by advising the principal.  If a parent/guardian chooses to opt out of the program their child will not have any formal pastoral care contact with the school chaplain.  The school must ensure processes are in place to ensure the expectations of parents are met. It is highly recommended that Principals inform the school community of the voluntary nature of this program at least once per year in multiple forums (i.e. school website, newsletter, parent meetings).  Schools should consider providing information regarding the chaplaincy program to newly enrolled students throughout the year.


Managing the chaplaincy program in your school - Prohibited Services

When delivering services chaplains must not:

  • proselytise and will respect, accept and be sensitive to other people’s views, values and beliefs.
  • take on roles that are the domain of school staff members (teachers, school psychologist, guidance officers), for example:
    • providing counselling services;
    • directly referring a student professional or specialist support;
    • case management of an individual student.
  • provide support to students who have indicated that they do not wish to access chaplaincy services.


Minimum qualifications

All chaplains/Pastoral Critical Incident Response (PCIR) chaplains are required to hold one of the qualifications below:

  • a Certificate IV in Youth Work; or
  • a Certificate IV in Pastoral Care; or
  • a Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care; or
  • an equivalent qualification (refer 1.2) which must include competencies in ‘mental health’ and ‘making appropriate referrals’.


Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC)

The principal must ensure that the chaplain has a current screening clearance number (NCCHC) clearance prior to commencing at a school.


Professional learning

The chaplain must undertake required professional learning.  They must complete the mandated Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s Responding to and Preventing Bullying and Cyberbullying webinar training and the Child Protection and Abuse Prevention professional learning course, provided by the Department through the online portal.  This will be completed every three years.


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School Chaplaincy Program

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