Shepparton school leaders say chaplains are not employed to preach religion and are highly valued.JOHN LEWIS June 24, 2014 3:44am
Shepparton school principals have defended the role of chaplains, saying they provide important non-religious support for students and families.
Five High Court justices last week unanimously upheld a legal challenge against Federal Government funding arrangements for its school chaplaincy program.
Last month, the government set aside $245 million for the program during the next four years, but scrapped funding for non-religious counsellors.
Debate now continues about the funding model, specifically whether restrictions will be imposed and whether it should include secular welfare workers.
Shepparton principals say their non-secular chaplains play vital roles.
Shepparton High School principal Phil Squires said the school had had a chaplaincy program for 53 years.
‘‘They are part of the fabric of the school, they really are a key member,’’ Mr Squires said.
He said a school chaplain was employed five days a week and worked alongside a welfare co-ordinator and a school nurse.
Mr Squires said although a chaplain might have personal religious convictions, they were not employed to discuss or preach religion.
‘‘It’s not their role. They just have a set of caring values,’’ he said.
He said the school’s female chaplain had just been appointed to a teaching role and the school was looking for a new chaplain.
He said funding for the role was split between the Federal Government and the school.
Orrvale Primary School principal Adam Brennan said his school employed John Stewart as chaplain two days a week and parents must give permission for any religious discussion.
‘‘It’s another friendly face in the yard at recess or lunchtime. It’s an important role. Only five per cent would be religious,’’ Mr Brennan said.
Bourchier St Primary School principal Judy Park said chaplain Richard Poole was employed three days a week and was a highly valued staff member.
‘‘Every survey we send out comes back with positive comments about the work Richard does. He builds relationships with families, runs breakfasts and visits kids in hospital,’’ Ms Park said.
She said Mr Poole’s role was not a religious one.
‘‘He’s not teaching religious instruction at the school,’’ she said.
Dookie artist Andrew Sands gets attention with red dirt-covered ute.
The talent was truly amazing at this year’s Mulwala Water Ski Club’s Got Talent competition.
Malcolm Campbell is the new president of the Lions Club of Tatura after he was inducted by Global Leadership 201V5 chair Pat Mills at the club’s changeover dinner at the Top Pub on Saturday, July 12.
Richard McLean notched up his first win when he took part in Echuca-Moama Cycling Club's fourth and final round of the Ivan and Lorraine Collings Memorial Trophy at Lockington.
Our Lady of Sacred Heart Primary School in Elmore has received a grant which will be used to buy musical equipment for the school.
If you thought it was cold yesterday morning, you weren’t wrong!
Brigade transforms station for Christmas in July.
Despite being scheduled to play at home this Saturday, Finley footballers and netballers will instead make the trip to Blighty.
Axedale student Zara Smith has created history, raising the single largest amount raised by a primary school student in the Jump Rope for Heart event’s 31-year history.
Cobram Garden Club hosts floral art, cake and more than 40 well wishers at luncheon to celebrate its double-decade milestone.
Despite being two wins from top spot, the Rams are now in a fight to make finals.
Innovative irrigators are being encouraged to apply for a 2014 Rural Water Award and the chance to win a $2000 cash prize.
The Melbourne Scottish fiddlers return to Swanpool to raise money for local CFA brigades. Group officer Jim Ranken and fiddle player Kristin Marriott
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.