“We Need More”: Schools Make a Desperate Plea for Chaplains - Salt 106.5

“We Need More”: Schools Make a Desperate Plea for Chaplains

Australian schools call for more chaplains as students continue to suffer from the emotional toll of the pandemic.

By Michael CrooksMonday 10 Jan 2022FaithReading Time: 3 minutes

A drive is underway to recruit more chaplains for where they are most needed in Australia.

Australian Christian organisations Scripture Union (SU) Australia and Generate provide chaplains to more than 1300 schools across Australia.

An increase in demand of chaplains in schools during the pandemic has exposed a dire shortage of the crucial support workers.

“We know schools need all the help they can get and chaplains have proven their worth,” a Scripture Union Australia spokesperson told Hope 103.2.

“Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic as students, staff and families endure the back-and-forth transitions of learning at home and returning to school.

“And this is all on top of the regular struggles young people face in their schooling years.”

“We know schools need all the help they can get and chaplains have proven their worth,” – SU Australia

A chaplain’s role

School chaplains provide social, emotional and spiritual support to students, families and staff.

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They work in areas of early intervention and prevention of issues, and promote positive behaviours.

“Chaplains do this through one-on-one support to help young people find a better way to manage issues ranging from bullying, friendships, family breakdown, mental health, substance abuse and more,” the SU spokesperson said.

“[Chaplains] run principal-approved and evidence-based programs to support young people in areas of resilience, anger management, friendships, self-esteem, grief and loss,” – SU Australia

“They run principal-approved and evidence-based programs to support young people in areas of resilience, anger management, friendships, self-esteem, grief and loss. And also programs for parents, such as the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.”

“Someone to talk to”

Chaplains require a Certificate IV in Youth Work. And most chaplains have diplomas or degrees in related fields such as social work, youth work, psychology, education, ministry and other disciplines.

“It’s based on relationships more than anything,” Tasmanian chaplain James Todd told The Advocate.

“I might be able to assist in helping in the classroom, physically getting alongside the students.

“For a lot of students, sometimes they just need someone to talk with for a while.”

“For a lot of students, sometimes they just need someone to talk with for a while,” – Tasmanian chaplain James Todd

Faith in action

SU explained that a chaplain’s role complements the work of other school staff members.

“They work in a support role, rather than a counselling or case management role,” the spokesperson said.

“They refer complex issues to other professionals and specialists.

A chaplain’s role complements the work of other school staff members.

“Spirituality permeates all aspects of a chaplain’s role. They play a specific role in helping students to explore issues of faith and spirituality through voluntary conversations, groups and activities.”

SU told Hope 103.2 that chaplains are most needed in the regional and remote communities of NSW and Queensland.

“School chaplaincy offers individuals from different backgrounds, ages and life circumstances an opportunity to put their faith into action and make a positive difference in local communities,” the spokesperson said.

For more information, including vacancies in your state, and how to apply, visit here.


Feature image: scriptureunion.org.au


Hosted by chaplain Sarah Petchell, the podcast will show off the work of chaplains across a number of areas in the community, and tell the stories of those impacted by chaplaincy.

Some of the guests featured on season one of the podcast include military chaplain Cameron West, Chappy Beck Holloway, who is impacting primary students through the innovative use of her assistance dog Mr Rees, and cross cultural communication and engagement specialist Tim Fawssett.

Listen to Chappy Chats in the player above.