Chaplaincy Services in Queensland State Schools

Version Number

5.3

Implementation Date

16/04/2014

Scope

All state schools

Purpose

​This procedure identifies accountabilities and processes for principals of state schools, who, in consultation with local communities and with the support of the Parents and Citizens' Association, implement chaplaincy services as a community initiative. This includes processes for developing and implementing a school's chaplaincy program and accompanying documentation including the process for appointing a paid or volunteer chaplain to deliver a program of chaplaincy services.

Overview

​A chaplaincy program is an optional service introduced into a state school to provide students, staff and parents with support which may have a religious and/or spiritual component. Chaplaincy services provide an additional adult role model in schools.

Whilst personally modelling and owning their own faith positions or belief, chaplains avoid any implications that any one religion, denomination or other set of beliefs is advantageous or superior to any other denomination, religion or belief.

A school’s chaplaincy program complements other support services in the school such as those offered by the Guidance Officer or Youth Support Coordinator. A chaplaincy service is not a counselling service.

Chaplains do not refer to external agencies. Chaplains report issues of concern to the principal and the principal is responsible for external referral processes.

This policy position applies to all chaplaincy services in state schools, regardless of whether they are paid or voluntary and, if paid, regardless of source of funding. Local community support is required for the introduction of a chaplaincy program to a school.

Chaplains can be paid or voluntary. If a paid chaplain is providing the chaplaincy program, they must be engaged by an Accredited Employing Authority (AEA) that has been accredited by the Department of Education, Training and Employment.

Note: School funds provided by the Queensland Government for educational purposes cannot be used for chaplaincy services.

Chaplaincy programs are compatible with policies and practices that apply to delivery of any service in a multi-faith and multicultural state school community. A chaplaincy program is inclusive of and shows respect for all religious and non-religious beliefs and other stances represented in the school community.  All activities and events provided within a chaplaincy program are non-discriminatory and equitably available to students of all beliefs who choose to participate.

Religious instruction is not part of a school’s chaplaincy program. However, if a paid chaplain works part-time, they may make separate arrangements to teach religious instruction outside of their normal work hours. This also applies to voluntary chaplains.

Responsibilities

Principals responsibility:

  • Work collaboratively with the local community, LCC, chaplain and AEA to deliver chaplaincy services in the school.
  • Planning and preparation
  • Implementing the program
  • Student referral and consent and notification
  • Monitoring and reporting.

Chaplains responsibility:

  • Training
  • Workplan and appropriate support
  • Record keeping and monitoring.

Local Chaplaincy Committee responsibility:

Principals’ Supervisors  responsibility:

  • Monitoring and support.

Process

Introducing a chaplaincy program into a school

Prior to introducing a chaplaincy service:

  • consult with stakeholder groups in school community and Parents and Citizens’ Association (P&C) where one exists to ascertain interest in and support for introduction of chaplaincy program
  • if supported, establish a Local Chaplaincy Committee (LCC) that is representative of all religious and non-religious beliefs and other stances represented in school community
  • endorse LCCs obtaining the services of a paid chaplain from an accredited employing authority or endorse LCC’s commencement of a recruitment and selection process for engagement by the department of a volunteer chaplain
  • endorse placement of selected chaplain in school
  • sight chaplain’s current Blue Card as required by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld) (all chaplains – paid and volunteer – must have a current Blue Card.)
    • Note: The AEA is responsible for the acquisition of a paid chaplain’s Blue Card.
  • advise LCC and chaplain that:
    • religious instruction occurs only in accordance with legislation and departmental policy and is not part of chaplaincy program
    • any specific school events which have religious or spiritual content are to be inclusive in accordance with departmental policies
    • student participation in any activity that is part of chaplaincy program is voluntary
  • work collaboratively with LCC to develop the aims and overview of  school’s chaplaincy program, which is to be available on school website, and chaplaincy workplan.
    • taking into consideration the needs of school community and availability of resources in the school, and
    • ensuring that the aims and overview of school’s chaplaincy program and activities of chaplain are inclusive of all students
    • gain support from P&C for chaplaincy workplan prior to implementation
      approve chaplaincy workplan after it is signed by chaplain and LCC representative and retain a copy for school and LCC records
    • complete CP1: Notice of a chaplaincy program and forward a copy and subsequent updates to principal’s supervisor and president of school’s P&C.

Implementing the chaplaincy service:

  • Supervision, monitoring and training chaplain:
    • provide chaplain and relevant AEA (if paid chaplain) with the approved aims and overview of school’s chaplaincy program and approved chaplaincy workplan
    • arrange for chaplain to be inducted into Education Queensland’s Student Protection procedure and the school’s Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students
    • ensure chaplain is aware of his/her responsibilities under relevant legislation (e.g. Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld)
    • ensure chaplain has completed Learning Place on-line Student Protection course and discussion module when newly employed to work in schools
    • induct chaplain through established school orientation/induction process, where practicable
    • support integration of chaplain into school support team and school community to facilitate opportunities for collaboration across school
    • establish and maintain local communication and management mechanisms with chaplain and inform LCC of these arrangements
    • nominate key school contact person to assist with orientation of chaplain and ongoing support as required
    • provide copy of Schedule 2 of the Agreement for Chaplaincy Services to chaplain (if paid)
    • instruct volunteer and/or paid chaplain that s/he is not to evangelise or proselytise at any time in the delivery of chaplaincy program
    • provide timely information to chaplain about school operations and variations to school routines
    • allocate accommodation and facilities necessary to implement and maintain chaplaincy program, including a secure location for storage of records
    • arrange for access to information technology (IT) systems as an ‘Other User’ within the managed internet service thus enabling them to have email account, internet and network access (with ‘staff level’ filtering)
    • provide materials for the preparation and delivery of learning activities for approved chaplaincy  workplan through relevant school processes.

Student referral, consent and notification:

  • negotiate student referral and appointment process that meets needs of students and aligns with legislative and policy requirements and inform school personnel of this process
  • inform staff of their confidentiality and privacy obligations in relation to student appointments with the chaplain and monitor this process
  • publish in school prospectus or equivalent document/s, on school website and through a range of school materials:
    • information about chaplaincy programs in state schools
    • overview of school chaplaincy program including specific activities where these are planned and information about parents’ rights regarding their children’s participation in activities within chaplaincy program.
    • ensure currency of this information is maintained (at least annually)
    • inform parents through school newsletter and website when new chaplaincy activities or specific events are to occur
  • if chaplaincy service provides a religious and/or spiritual component, provide to all parents at enrolment, and on request, a consent form which outlines school’s chaplaincy program so that they can:
    • make an informed decision regarding their child’s participation or non-participation in religious and/or spiritual component of chaplaincy program
    • withdraw their consent for their child’s participation in religious and/or spiritual component of chaplaincy program by advising school in writing.
  • advise chaplain that students require parental consent prior to their participation in any school programs or activities involving the chaplain that  have religious and/or spiritual content e.g.:
    • voluntary participation in any activity that includes prayer or religious readings
    • voluntary attendance at ceremonies or rituals with religious foundation or content.
    • Note:  The Principal assesses the age, level of maturity and understanding of each individual student and determines whether they are capable of giving informed consent.  Generally, students of primary school age will not be capable of giving informed consent and their parent gives consent on their behalf
    • seek written parental consent for ongoing one-on-one meetings and provide chaplain with a copy prior to commencement of ongoing one-on-one sessions
    • Note: Students living independently from their parents may provide their own written consent.
  • grant prior permission, in particular circumstances, to undertake an off-site visit to e.g. a hospital or home (these visits are not a general practice of chaplains)
  • grant permission, in exceptional circumstances, e.g. a medical emergency, for chaplain to transport student in private vehicle (where possible and if time permits, prior approval must be sought from principal and AEA (where relevant), and preferably be accompanied by another adult).

Recordkeeping and monitoring:

  • retain chaplain/s records in relation to school chaplaincy program on site, secured as necessary, as property of the Department of Education, Training and Employment
  • establish appropriate accountability and reporting procedures for chaplaincy program
  • provide updates of CP1: Notice of a chaplaincy program to principal’s supervisor and president of school’s P&C
  • create an environment of continuous service improvement by conducting annual reviews of the chaplaincy program, involving LCC and a representative of AEA (if paid chaplain).

Chaplains responsibility:

  • read and comply with this procedure and Agreement for Chaplaincy Services - Schedule 2 (if paid), any relevant legislation, and Department of Education, Training and Employment policies and practices
  • comply with the ’confidentiality provision’ i.e. Section 426 of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) 
  • complete  Learning Place on-line Student Protection course and discussion module when newly employed to work in schools
  • implement program of chaplaincy services as outlined in approved school overview
  • undertake activities outlined in approved chaplaincy workplan
  • provide support, that may have a religious and/or spiritual component, to students, staff and parents, and to act as an adult role model in school
  • provide regular reports to principal or his/her delegate, on proposed events and on progress, issues and successes of chaplaincy services in such format as determined by principal
  • follow school procedures and gain principal’s approval prior to any external people coming onto school premises as part of chaplaincy service
  • disseminate information relevant to chaplaincy service to all school personnel and wider school community as relevant
  • negotiate with and provide timely information to principal about any appointments, training or leave absences that impact on delivery of chaplaincy service
  • establish formal and informal communication processes with key school personnel (e.g. Guidance Officer, Year Level Coordinator, School Based Youth Health Nurse etc.) to ensure a coordinated approach to provision of student support services
  • contact principal to notify immediately of any student protection concerns as required by Student Protection
  • report to principal and/or Guidance Officer any student concerns that may require referral to an external agency
  • Note: It is not the role of the chaplain to make a referral to another service or agency.
  • ensure written parental or principal consent has been received and copy attached to case notes, before commencing ongoing one-on-one sessions
  • cease provision of any chaplaincy services with religious and/or spiritual content to a student immediately upon notification from parents or principal that parents have requested the withdrawal of chaplaincy services for their child
  • take reasonable steps to confirm that parental consent has been provided for all students who participate voluntarily in interrelated activities with religious and/or spiritual content
  • compile and retain in secure storage record of chaplain’s activities such as case notes (Note: case notes are not to be removed from school premises)
  • do not evangelise or proselytise in the delivery of chaplaincy services.

Local chaplaincy committees (LCCs) responsibility:

  • represent the diversity of religious, faith and non-religious beliefs in the school community
  • understand the cultural and religious customs and needs of individuals and groups within the school and range of services and support currently available and/or required
  • participate in communication, collaborative planning, monitoring, and identification and resolution of issues regarding chaplaincy service
  • perform an advisory role to principal for development and implementation of school chaplaincy program
  • undertake activities such as fundraising for chaplaincy program and supporting and mentoring the chaplain/s
  • nominate an AEA when a paid chaplain is to be engaged or nominate a person who has been accredited by an appropriate local leader when a volunteer chaplain is to be engaged
  • participate in annual reviews of the chaplaincy program and inform AEA (if paid chaplain) or appropriate local leader (if volunteer chaplain) of any relevant professional development or support requirements of the chaplain.

Accredited employing authorities (AEAs) responsibility:

  • deliver chaplaincy services in state schools in accordance with their Deed of Agreement for Chaplaincy Services
  • advertise for persons to be employed as a chaplain and instigate selection procedures
  • conduct the selection process involving a representative from LCC and make recommendation of most meritorious applicant for endorsement by principal
  • make application and pay associated costs for Working with Children Check for chaplain and ensure chaplain has a current Blue Card prior to their appointment to a school
  • instruct  chaplain that s/he is not to evangelise or proselytise when delivering program of chaplaincy services
  • respond to relevant findings of the annual review conducted by school principal and LCC by providing professional development and support to meet the needs of chaplain and school.

Principals’ Supervisors responsibility:

Online Resources

Review Date

29/01/2013
Attribution CC BY

Accredited Employing Authority (AEA) is an organisation that has been accredited by Department of Education, Training and Employment to employ chaplains for placement in Queensland state schools.

The Deed of Agreement is an agreement between the Department of Education, Training and Employment and the Accredited Employing Authorities who provide chaplaincy services at Queensland state school/s.  The agreement outlines the principles and arrangements for the engagement of a chaplain and the delivery of chaplaincy services in the school/s by chaplains who are employed by the Accredited Employing Authorities.

Blue Card (Working with Children Check) is issued by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian once it has carried out the Working with Children Check to see if a person is eligible to work in the areas of child-related work covered by the Commission’s Act. If a person is eligible, they are issued a positive notice letter and a blue card.

Evangelise
Engagement and dialogue with student/s with intent to attract to a particular faith group.

Proselytise
To solicit a student for a decision to change belief system.