Our School Chaplain is a safe person for young people to connect with at school, providing a listening ear and caring presence. School Chaplains care for students struggling with a wide range of issues, including: family problems, friendship issues, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, bullying, stress and anxiety. They also run positive, fun activities for young people in school and foster a supportive, caring school community. This includes support for at-risk students, support for staff and families from the wider school community.
The partnership between the school and the School Chaplain, supported by businesses, community organisations and local churches, provides a network of local support and assistance. These positive relationships help young people to face issues and provide connection, hope and meaning. School Chaplains work alongside other caring professionals and operating in accordance with the Education Queensland Chaplaincy policy, caring for young people's needs through pastoral care and activity programmes.
The Chaplaincy Program
The Chaplaincy program at Stanthorpe State School is a non-compulsory service that complements the care offered by other helping disciplines. The program assists our school community through the provision of help and care to support the personal and social wellbeing of students and the school community. Services and actions at Stanthorpe State School include:
- Assisting the administration team, guidance officer and staff in the delivery of student welfare services.
- Providing students, their families and staff with support and/or appropriate referrals, in difficult situations such as during times of grief or when students are facing personal or emotional challenges.
- Supporting students to explore their spirituality, values and ethical matters or referring students to, or sourcing appropriate services, to meet these needs; and facilitating access to support agencies in the community, where applicable. Written parental permission is required.
- Supporting students and staff to create an environment which promotes the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development and wellbeing of all students.
- Supporting students and staff to create an environment of cooperation and mutual respect, promoting an understanding of diversity and the range of cultures and their related traditions.
- Being approachable to all students, staff and members of the school community.
- Supporting students, their families and staff of all beliefs and not seeking to impose any beliefs or persuade an individual toward a particular set of beliefs.
Key tasks of a school chaplain may include:
- Working closely with, and/or as part of the school wellbeing committee or team to plan for and deliver student resilience and wellbeing services.
- Working in classrooms supporting the class teacher in delivering the curriculum
- Providing students, their families and staff with support and or appropriate referrals, in difficult situations such as during times of grief or when students are facing personal or emotional challenges.
- Supporting students who express a desire to explore their spirituality. This may include providing guidance about spirituality, values and ethical matters and/or appropriate referral of questions of faith/spirituality.
- Developing relationships with, and referring students/parents/carers to specialist services within the school as appropriate or externally under the direction of the School Principal.
- Organising one-on-one or group sessions with students, parents, staff and other members of the school community as requested and required by the school community. Written parental permission is to be provided for one-on-one sessions.
- Running breakfast club
- Delivering peer leadership and support programmes
- Participating in school activities such as sport, camps, gardens etc.
- Reporting to school community organisations on service provision within the school community.
- Attending Parents & Citizens’ or equivalent parent body meetings to provide details of the Programme and the services that are available.
- Facilitating activities connecting students with other members of the community.
- Providing support and/or appropriate referral in times of grief and other critical events.
- Facilitating community partnership programmes between the school and the wider community.
Consent arrangements- participation in the programme is voluntary
Parents and carers are provided with the opportunity to inform the school, in writing, about their child/children’s participation with any Chaplaincy programme activities upon enrolment.
Consent forms for prearranged one on one appointments/sessions and ongoing assistance from the School Chaplain are provided for the parent / carer to sign. This permission is obtained when required and on an individual needs basis.
Opting out of the programme at any stage is achieved by notifying the school administration team.
Community consultation and support
The community consultation and support process is implemented annually. This is achieved by way of informing parents/carers through the distribution of newsletters and accessing feedback from members of the Stanthorpe State School Parents & Citizen’s Association.
Disclaimer: The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education.
Acknowledgement: This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Education under the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Programme.