Australia's First Ever National Research Findings on Chaplaincy in Australian Government Schools
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 (Aus EST)
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
“Chaplaincy in Australian government schools is making a major contribution to school morale; it is proactive, unique, effective and important. Government project funding should be continued when the three year cycle of project funding ends.” These were some of the sentiments of 98% of principals who took part in Australia’s first ever national research project on “The effectiveness of National School Chaplaincy Association (NSCA) Chaplains in Government Schools in Australia”. The national research findings are being presented at the National Conference of the Australian Council of State Schools Organisation (ACSSO) which takes place in Hobart, Tasmania today. Copies of the Research Report have been supplied to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minster’s offices.
According to the 688 principals who participated in the national study, chaplains in their government schools were also helping to build the sense of community in the school , support the school ethos and were assisting the integration of potentially ‘at risk’ students, including recent immigrants and Aboriginal students.
The quantitative and qualitative study, commissioned by the National School Chaplaincy Association (NSCA)* involved feedback from school principals, chaplains, teaching staff, parents and students. In their research, Edith Cowan University and University of New England academics Dr Phillip Hughes and Prof Margaret Sims found that Chaplaincy in government schools was not only unique, proactive and effective, but also a neutral and non-judgmental service that has long term value to the wellbeing of Australian Communities.
‘A WINNING FORMULA’
According to Stanley Jeyaraj, NSCA Convenor and Rev Peter Robinson CEO of GenR8 Schools Ministries (the largest provider of Chaplaincy Services in NSW public schools), the research findings confirm that the role and impact of school chaplains in government schools should not be watered down or altered. “This is a winning formula. Chaplains are making significant impact within the school and the broader community. They are often able to make an important contribution in linking the schools with the wider community. This is particularly significant in rural and isolated areas where chaplains are more likely to be living in the local community, being able to bring support within the school for community projects.”
But not just in isolated areas.
Recently retired Principal of Homebush West Public School Margaret
Coote said of her experience of chaplaincy in its first year that “the
school in this community would be poorer for the loss of the chaplaincy
program. Not only does the chaplaincy program lighten everyone’s loads
within the school community, but it brings a warmth and cohesion to the
community that is long-lasting. [The chaplain] has made all new members
of the community feel welcome. She has been a wonderful asset in
facilitating communication between home and school.”
To download the full media release, please click here.