the non secular school policy

The Abbott government is pushing ahead with a religious-only school chaplaincy scheme following a cabinet debate over whether secular welfare workers should be included in the program.

The government was forced to redesign the $244 million scheme after the High Court ruled it invalid in June for the second time in two years. The court found the Commonwealth had over-reached its funding powers by providing direct payments to chaplain providers.

In a bid to prevent another High Court challenge, the federal government will provide funding to state and territory governments to administer the scheme. This new arrangement strengthens the hand of the states and could see some demand an option for secular welfare workers or tougher qualification standards.


So this is worth talking about ...............I think not

Depends on your perspective Dvey . Why just have low level christians from two main pools who stated on their web sites that conversion was an aim but later removed . What is wrong with a school deciding if they have a secular advisor who is versed and has education in pastoral care of young people ? Why deny that school funds ?

The Federal Government has reiterated that school chaplaincy funding is only for religious workers, not secular social workers. In some parts of Australia, that could see the program stall.

ACT Education Minister Joy Birch says schools should have a choice. 

"We will be happy to negotiate with the Commonwealth but have no interest in administering the scheme unless the schools have the choice for a secular ... counsellor," Ms Birch said.

"If the Commonwealth Government was serious about empowering schools and empowering local decision-making of schools, this should apply to the funding opportunities open to schools.

"That means that if a school chooses a secular appointment, that should be supported by state and territory governments and Commonwealth governments."

South Australian Education Minister Jennifer Rankine also says she will only consider the program if the Federal Government backs down and allows secular social workers to be funded.

Taxpayers should not be funding religion in State Schools .,,

Tony Abbott's renewed chaplaincy plan is flawed and a waste of taxpayer money. Religious schools already have their own people and don't need chaplains, but could use the money. Chaplains shouldn't be part of secular state schools.  I agree with the president of the Australian Education Union, that Abbott's chaplaincy scheme would "undermine the secular traditions of public education". 

States have professional counsellors who have university degrees to perform the role that chaplains are meant to perform.  If chaplains are forbidden to proselytise, what additional counselling are they offering students?   Is it spiritual consolation for bereavement or spiritual hope in adversity? Either way they would be teaching superstition without parental consent.  Parents should have a real choice in the matter, and this should consist of a signed permission in which they agree to have their child counselled by a chaplain. It should not be "permission by parent omission to say no", which is the way SRE currently operates in NSW state schools. 

Geoff Black Caves Beach 

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When I was very young and in a state school at that time, various Christian religions were taught.

However, parents could choose whether they wanted their children attending classes or not.  This was respected and no issue was made of it.

It's the same today in State schools.,,

What happened to trained school counsellors? If I had a child no way would I let them near a happy clappy.

Under the Education Act 1990, public schools provide special religious education. This is provided by authorised representatives of approved religious groups to students who have nominated that religion. Times for these classes are negotiated with the school.

In November 2011 the Minister for Education published a media release that announced a minimum time of 30 minutes of meaningful teaching time per week in primary schools and a minimum of one period per week in secondary schools.

Special education in ethics


Special Education in Ethics Policy

Special  Education in Ethics Implementation Procedures 

Under the Education Act 1990, public schools provide the option of special education in ethics to students who are not attending special religious education. This is provided by authorised representatives of approved providers.

Primary Ethics is an approved provider of special education in ethics and provides classes for Years 1 to 6.

I take it you see relevance to the thread topic ? Besides your link being NSW based it does not address the exclusion of secular chaplains .

Education in Australia is provided by each State . As I live in NSW I quote this States  policy's.

I repeat my own position that the state should not promote religion at taxpayers expense. 

If I understand it provision is not being made for trained school counsellors for the mental health and welfare of all school children regardless of religious or not? School counsellors should have no overtone of any religion and should be available to all children. In fact having religion mixed into counseling could be quite detrimental to a child's wellbeing. A parents choice if they want to send them to a religious school and that school provides a religious chaplain but there also ought to be a non-religious counsellor too.

the government is totally wrong to try to enforce a religious background into counseling IMO.

School Counselling Service
In every school, school counsellors, teachers, year advisers, careers advisers, the principal and senior teachers are available to assist students and their families. In some schools there are also Aboriginal Education Assistants or community liaison officers.

All work to create safe, caring schools, free from violence and discrimination. All can help you or your child in different ways.

School counsellors are experienced teachers who have a degree in psychology and post-graduate qualifications in school counselling. They work with students of all ages, and their families, from pre-school to Year 12.

District guidance officers also provide school counselling services and, in addition, co-ordinate a team of school counsellors. Every government school has access to a school counsellor or district guidance officer.

School Counsellors
School counsellors work with students, parents or carers and teachers in a variety of ways.
Their work includes:
counselling students
assisting parents or carers to make informed decisions about their child's education
assessing students' learning and behaviour
assisting schools to identify and address disabilities that affect students' learning
liaising with other agencies concerned with the well-being of students.

School counsellors are members of schools' student welfare and learning support teams. With the agreement of parents or carers, school counsellors will pass on to teachers, information that will assist them to better meet the needs of their students.

Students may refer themselves to the school counsellor or may seek an interview at the suggestion of a teacher, a parent or carer, or a friend.

WHAT DO SCHOOL CHAPLAINS DO?School chaplains are active in promoting student wellbeing, particularly through the provision of pastoral care.School chaplains encourage reflection about the spiritual dimensions of life.School chaplains have an educative role in the areas of beliefs, values, morals, ethics and religion.School chaplains work as part of the school support team to facilitate connection into the school network and wider community of students who are suffering from bereavement, family breakdown or other crisis and loss situations.

The services provided by a chaplain should be appropriate to the school and student context in which he or she will operate. Within this context, chaplains will be expected to respect the range of religious views and affiliations, and cultural traditions in the school and the community, and be approachable by students of all faiths. It is not the purpose of chaplaincy services to bring about or encourage commitment to any set of beliefs.

It is important to note that school chaplains cannot provide services for which they are not qualified, for example, counselling services or psychological assessment, or medical assessment.

The key tasks of a chaplain may include facilitating access to the helping agencies in the community, both religious-based and secular, with the approval of the School Principal.

The activities undertaken by school chaplains may include, but are not limited to:

Pastoral care:Providing guidance to students on issues concerning human relationships;Assisting school counsellors and staff in the provision of student welfare services;Providing support in cases of bereavement, family breakdown or other crisis and loss situations; andBeing readily available to provide continuity and on-going support for individual students and staff where this is necessary.Spiritual guidance:Supporting students who wish to explore their spirituality;Providing guidance on religious, values and ethical matters; andFacilitating access to the helping agencies in the community, both church-based and secular, with the approval of the School Principal.  


The last 4 lines are worrying. They appear to have carte blanche to influence students with religiosity.

After watching the Four corners last night about a young English school girl who was indoctrinated by Muslim Jihad ...... I must say NO chaplaincy of any sort to be taught in schools.

The woman is now dubbed the White Widow and one of the world's most wanted terror suspects.

It is about time the responsibility of bringing up children went back to the parents ?

The Churches on a Sunday are empty but the night clubs / bars / resturants / strip clubs / footy games are full.

Although I don't think that the state should promote any religion . I suppose their is another side .. That is those who choose can send their children to Catholic schools for instance ..

As the attendance at the state schools chaplains is with parental permission only . And ethics and councelling is available . It would from another perspective be offering choice.

i know with my own daughter who now  attends an independant school where there is no religiouse teaching of any kind. She did attend State school for a year and went along to the Catholic sessions . She was coming home bobbing her head and crossing herself but has recovered ..,

In Victrian state chools its opt out rather than opt in for R I . Now what that has to do with a chaplain to counsel or funding I am not sure . Do the two cross over ? I don,t see how funding can be for religious people only when advice and counsel can and is provided by secular people as well .

There is a parent group , forget the name , who have managed to get schools to reject the IR thing with some success . After all it is a parent concern and its up to them regarding creed etc for their chlldren not the state .

Victoria requires parental approval to attend chaplains sessions .

The policy requires principals to obtain parental advice, which may include use of the prescribed form (GC 566) for their child to participate, or not participate, in SRI. Principals have the responsibility to collect this parental input and may do so either at enrolment time or when arranging for provision of SRI at the school.
(2) The department's policy on SRI requires principals to ensure that students who do not attend SRI are appropriately supervised.

It’s term three in Victorian primary schools and for the first time, 50 schools will not hold religious instruction classes.

Lara Wood is coordinating a parent-led campaign against religious instruction by Access Ministries, an organisation that provides Christian education in Victorian public schools.

No, we do not proselytise; it is not something we promote.
‘At our last count 50 schools have chosen to cease the program due to lack of interest,’ she says. 'It’s very significant. We feel that our campaign has been very successful. We feel that we are making history here.'

In 2011, religious instructors were present in 70 per cent of public primary schools in Victoria. Today, they’re in less than half.

Scott Hedges, a father of two who is also part of the campaign, believes it’s only a matter of time before the classes are axed altogether.

His daughters, who went to a primary school in Melbourne, found the religion classes confusing.

‘I felt, very, like, pressurised by doing it because it’s like, forced, like they force you to believe this sort of stuff,’ says one.

George Aslanis, a former Access Ministries teacher, now believes the classes are inappropriate.

IMO there is no need for religious teaching in a school -- that is up to the parents -- there are plenty of churches -- for people to attend -- lets use school time to teach worthwhile info

My message to Abbott is step out get out and bugga off!


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