Supporting student wellbeing in Queensland
School chaplains have been providing social, emotional and spiritual support in schools for over 25 years. Throughout 2016 we collected information on their activities and impact and we are pleased to share our findings with you.
Scroll to begin
So who are the SU QLD Chaplains?
All school chaplains meet the minimum qualification standards set by the state and federal governments.
85% of SU QLD chaplains exceed these requirements with qualifications at the Diploma level and above across Youth Work, Human Services, Education and Theology/Ministry.
So what does a chaplain do?
School chaplains provide social, emotional and spiritual support, enhancing a school’s overall wellbeing strategy and contributing to their educational goals.
Chaplains promote positive spirituality in all that they do, providing opportunities for students, staff and families to take advantage of spiritual strengths, assets and resources available to them.
Mentoring and Role Modelling
“Spiritual health is one of the variables that influence an individual’s overall health” and school chaplains are asked specifically to provide “support to assist students develop their unique spiritual health in an open and non-judgmental environment.”
Where can I find a Chaplain?
They spend over 80% of their school break times with students.
If you’re looking for a chaplain at school, chances are you’ll find them in the playground, in their chaplaincy space, running chaplaincy activities, or participating in school activities with students.
How many schools have Chaplains in QLD?
What do students talk to Chaplains about?
“Without Steph’s help, I don’t know where I’d be today… Chappy Steph is someone I can talk to and trust. I can open up to her and feel like I’m not being judged. Our bond is unbreakable.”
Olivia, aged 14
What year levels are the students who speak to Chaplains
Over three quarters of pastoral conversations with chaplains take place with primary school students.
They say, “Prevention is better than cure.” Chaplains are supporting students in the early stages of their development so they are better equipped to manage issues in their later years.
The top 5 issues students face
how do chaplains help with these issues?
School chaplains respond to day-to-day issues that students face.
While they are not employed to do counselling or case management, chaplains respond effectively to student issues, including through referral to relevant internal and external agencies.
Do Chaplains Engage with ‘At-Risk’ Students?
While school chaplains are available to everyone, they are particularly interested in supporting individuals and groups who might be considered ‘at-risk’, increasing their chances of experiencing better life outcomes.
Students who identify as Indigenous, are in-care or have disabilities can experience on-going difficulties across a range of areas as they grow older. Through early intervention activities, school chaplains are supporting at-risk students, increasing their chances of experiencing better life outcomes.
Who do chaplains talk to?
School chaplaincy services are available to everyone in schools, and students, staff and families all access them. Chaplains complement other school support services by offering support through pastoral conversations, but not counselling or case management.
How many programs do Chaplains run?
In addition to being a caring presence and engaging in pastoral converations, chaplains also facilitate a broad range of programs and activities designed to promote social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
347 Mentoring and Role Modelling
358 Breakfast Programs
239 Community Development Events and Activities
167 Educational Support Programs
19 Grief and Loss Programs
About the research
School chaplains do great work promoting social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing in schools. We know this because every year, we hear story after story about the amazing contribution they make to the lives of students, families and staff - the people who know chaplains, work alongside them and directly benefit from their work. In this report, we are pleased to tell this recurring story in a different way - through data, graphs and infographics.
Throughout 2016, we collected information on the demographics, activities and impact of our school chaplains. This came from two main sources:
- The ‘Chaplaincy Activities Survey’ conducted in term 2, 2016. In this survey, we asked chaplains to record information from their pastoral conversations across one week and to record their involvement in programs and activities across the entire term. The sampling frame was 100% (598 chaplains) and the response rate was 65% (387 chaplains).
- General demographic information from SU QLD chaplaincy employment data.
Not all the information collected was included in this report. This report is a ‘snapshot’ of the information that, from our experience is the information people are most interested in when it comes to finding out more about school chaplaincy.
Thanks to the chaplains and field workers who gave their time to record data, to McCrindle who helped us put together our ‘Chaplaincy Activity Surveys’ and to SU QLD staff who crunched numbers, interpreted data and designed infographics that have helped us understand the story of school chaplaincy better than we did before.
* Some percentage totals in the Snapshot add up to 101%. This is due to a decision to round percentages from numbers with decimal places either up or down to the closest whole numbers. This ‘rounding error’ was considered to be acceptable.
- Male & Female – this information was obtained from employment data.
- Generations – this information was obtained from employment data.
- Where are our chaplains - this information was obtained from employment data.
- Qualifications – this information was obtained from the ‘Chaplaincy Activities Survey’. Chaplains responded to the question, “What is your highest, most relevant qualification for your chaplaincy role?” In 2016, the minimum qualification for a school chaplain under the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) was a Certificate IV in Youth Work, Pastoral Care or an equivalent qualification. Chaplains could be employed without these minimum qualifications under certain circumstances (eg – appointments to remote chaplaincy positions). These chaplains would still need to meet all other criteria, complete two nationally accredited units in referral and mental health and commit to ongoing study towards the minimum qualifications within three years.
- Chaplains have a heart for young people – Chaplains responded to the question, “Where did you spend your school breaks this week?
- So, what does a chaplain do? - Chaplains responded to the question, “Please estimate the percentage of time you spent on the following parts of your role during the week.”
- Who do chaplains talk to? - Chaplains responded to the questions, “How many [formal and informal] pastoral conversations have you had with [students, parents/carers and staff] this week?”
- How many pastoral conversations does a chaplain have in their average 3 day week - Chaplains responded to the questions, “How many [formal and informal] pastoral conversations have you had with [students, parents/carers and staff] this week?” They also responded to the question, “In a regular working week, how many days do you work in your chaplaincy role?”
- What year levels are the students in? - Chaplains responded to the question, “Please indicate the total number of students in each year level that you had ‘formal’ pastoral conversations with this week?”
- The top 5 issues students face? - Chaplains responded to the question, “What were the main issues for the students that had ‘formal’ pastoral conversations with this week?”
- How do chaplains help with these issues? – Chaplains responded to the question, “What was the outcome from your ‘formal’ conversations with students this week?”
- Do chaplains engage with ‘at-risk’ students? – Chaplains responded to the question, “Of the students that you had ‘formal’ pastoral conversations with this week, how many of them would identify with the following categories?”
- How many programs do chaplains run? - Chaplains responded to questions, “Did you run any of the following [social and emotional, grief and loss, spiritual support, role modelling/mentoring, community development, educational support] programs in term 2?”