Wednesday, June 27, 2007

1,400 schools win chaplaincy funding

The Federal Government has awarded funding to 1,400 schools as part of its $90 million national school chaplaincy program.

A total of 1,500 schools applied for funding to employ full-time chaplains.

Three-quarters of the approved schools are public and Queensland has the largest number.

Education Minister Julie Bishop says the chaplains will provide pastoral care and spiritual support.

"Sometimes it can be for grief counselling because of family breakdown or other crisis situations," she said.

"Sometimes it's just a discussion about values and human relationships and wellbeing issues.

"But the schools believe that having a chaplain in their midst will be able to support the students, the staff and, might I say, the school communities in that regard."

Ms Bishop says she is confident the program will not prove divisive.

"The chaplaincy program has a strict code of conduct and the demand is coming from the actual school communities," she said.

"This is a Government response to a call for greater support from our school communities.

"We're in a position to do that and that's why I'm delighted by the enthusiastic response to the first round of funding under the program."


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