School chaplaincy program

School chaplaincy program

Chaplaincy services play a key role in supporting schools to provide pastoral care.

Schools’ pastoral care programs offer a range of services and strategies to support the social and emotional wellbeing of students.

Public schools in Western Australia are not required to have a chaplain. If a school chooses to provide a chaplain, they must use a service provider. Chaplains may be of any faith or no faith. Schools do not employ their own chaplains. Schools can choose any service provider or one of the three with an agreement in place:

There is a state and national program in place to fund chaplaincy services for schools in Western Australia. For schools to be eligible for the funding, they must meet specific requirements.

State funded chaplaincy program

The 'In School State Funded Chaplaincy Program' (ISSFCP) is a Western Australian Government funded initiative to assist in the support of the emotional wellbeing of students by providing funding for In School Chaplaincy services. This program was developed in response to increased demand from Western Australian public schools.

National School Chaplaincy Program

The project agreement for the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) is an agreement between the state and the Commonwealth of Australia. The aim of the program is to deliver chaplaincy services to Australian schools. The agreement sets out specific roles and responsibilities and financial arrangements.

Participating schools are eligible to receive up to $20,280 in metropolitan or regional areas and $24,336 in remote or very remote areas.

Cross-sector panel

A cross-sector panel exists to select and prioritise schools for funding. All schools were invited on 18 June 2019 to apply for NSCP funding for the period 2020–2022. Applications closed on 2 August 2019.

Panel membership
Table 1: Cross-sector panel membership
Representative Nominee Education sector

Executive Director, Statewide Services
Department of Education
Western Australia

Assistant Executive Director,
Service Delivery (Chair)


Executive Director
Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA)

Lead Psychologist AISWA

Executive Director
Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA)

Team Leader


Principal Consultant
Statewide Services

Secretariat Public
Approved 2019–2022 funding distribution
Table 2: Approved 2019–2022 funding distribution
School sectors Student distribution School funding figures Administrative funding figures Total annual
Independent 15.29% $1,146,234 $25,500 $1,171,734
Catholic 16.96% $1,271,427 $25,500 $1,296,927
Public 67.75% $5,078,962 $180,900 $5,259,862
Per annum 100% $7,496,623 $231,900 $7,728,523
Total for 2019‑22 100% $29,986,492 $927,600 $30,914,092
Terms of reference

In accordance with their role, the cross-sector panel will: 

  • ensure delivery of all aspects of the project agreement
  • ensure appropriate processes are in place to meet the conditions of funding
  • distribute funding to schools for the purposes of the agreement 
  • publish guidelines and other relevant documentation
  • ensure information is available on relevant websites
  • report on deliverable outputs. 

Find out more about the National School Chaplaincy Program.

Participation in the school chaplaincy program by public schools and students is voluntary. Parents can withdraw their child from the program by advising the principal. If a parent chooses to opt out of the program their child will not have any formal pastoral care contact with the school chaplain.

Schools must ensure processes are in place to meet the expectations of parents. Schools may provide information about the chaplaincy program to students throughout the year.

In 2023, the following Western Australian public schools are funded through the In School State Funded Chaplaincy Program:

In 2023, the following Western Australian schools are funded through the National Student Wellbeing Program:

Under the school chaplaincy program, schools must meet certain requirements. Chaplains may be of any faith or no faith and must:

  • have one of the following recognised qualifications
    • Certificate IV in Youth Work
    • Certificate IV in Pastoral Care
    • Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care
    • an equivalent qualification that includes competencies in mental health and making appropriate referrals
  • have a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check
  • undertake professional learning which includes
  • not proselytise (as in, convert or attempt to convert someone from one religion, belief, or opinion to another)
  • respect, accept and be sensitive to other people's views, values and beliefs
  • comply with state laws and policies in relation to child protection
  • have regard to the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children
  • have regard to the relevant state responses to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse (Volume 6 – Making institutions child safe, Volume 10 – Children with harmful sexual behaviours and Volume 13 – Schools).

Contact us

Contact us

Any enquiries about the school chaplaincy programs in public schools can be directed to Service Planning and Contracts: Phone 9402 6292 or email

Email us