The National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) was initiated by the Federal Government in 2006 to support schools and their communities to establish school Chaplaincy services or to enhance existing Chaplaincy services.
Chaplaincy assists schools and their communities to support the wellbeing of their students and can include care and guidance around ethics, values, relationships, social skills; practical classroom support; the implementation of preventative and proactive programs; referral to and connection with government and community support services; and the provision of pastoral care. The key tasks of a chaplain will vary depending on the needs of the school. Chaplaincy also provides a constant presence and ongoing care for all those within the school community.
At Cape Clear Primary School, the chaplaincy program began in 2015. The main roles of the chaplain over this time have included
General and practical classroom support where necessary.
Planning, preparation and delivery of social skills sessions in line with the identified needs of students ie. DRUMBEAT, Bounce Back, Respectful Relationships, Community Cafe.
One-on-one sessions with individual students to support their distinct and specific needs; and provide an opportunity for students to talk through any issues.
Attending fundraising events, camps and excursions.
Assisting with the breakfast and food program within the school.
Professional development, including supervision, administrative work, and miscellaneous activities.
Chaplains work as part of the school, under the direction of the Principal, and are required to follow all school policies and procedures. Chaplains are reviewed annually in consultation with the Principal and are required to report suspected cases of child physical and sexual abuse to the Child Protection Victoria agency.
In accordance with Department of Education and Training guidelines, schools must obtain written consent from parents/guardians prior to the provision of chaplaincy services.
Cape Clear Primary School has had Julie McDowell working as its Chaplain since January 2015. With qualifications in education and counselling, Julie works 1.5 days a week to support the pastoral care and well-being of the whole school community.