National School Chaplaincy Program 2020 - 2022

The National School Chaplaincy Program is a Commonwealth-funded initiative to support the emotional wellbeing of students and the broader school community through the provision of pastoral care services.

Participation in the National School Chaplaincy Program is voluntary for both schools and students.

Profile of a school chaplain

Tara Reading, chaplain at Cooma North Public School, explains how the chaplain role works in a school

Tara Reading 

I'm Tara and I'm the school chaplain here at Cooma North. 

My role is pretty much about connecting with people and building relationships so I'm just that extra person here that yeah, children can come to and can trust. And if they're happy they can come to me and tell me their problems. Or if they're lonely, we can have a chat. 

I'm here at permanent part time and so I do three days a fortnight here at the school. 

I am not a counsellor. I don't counsel the kids, I refer kids on. 

It's not a Christian role, it's a holistic wellbeing support role. I come to school, I go to the classrooms, I ask the teachers if there's anywhere I can help. You know, some kids might be struggling in the classroom, just need that break and that outing. So I'll go play basketball with them or go kick a football, go do some art. 

I'm also here for not just the children, but also the staff and parents as well. So it encompasses all those areas. 

When you know that a child's been in a really difficult space and you're being there just building relationship with them, and then you just see them grow and flourish and come to this place where they're just excelling and they're happy and they want to come and share those experiences and what's going on, I just find that really rewarding.

Applications by schools for the service

Under the program, schools can apply for up to $20,280 per annum (or $24,336 for remote schools) to engage a prequalified provider for a chaplaincy service. The funding goes directly to schools, with 20% able to be set aside by providers for associated administration costs.

NSW public schools who wished to participate in the 2020-2022 program were invited to apply for funding in late 2019. Successful applicants were required to purchase the chaplaincy service annually using an order form made available through Student Health & Mental Wellbeing. A requirement of the program is that providers must be able to replace a chaplain if they are unable to remain with the school.

More information

For information about which schools have a chaplaincy service, download the list of schools and their providers (DOC 34.4 KB) .

For information about prequalified NSW suppliers under the National School Chaplaincy Program download the list of chaplaincy providers (DOC 273 KB).

For full details about the program, download National School Chaplaincy Program: NSW Arrangements for 2020 to 2022 (DOC 59.6 KB).

Contact us

For any other questions or complaints about the National School Chaplaincy Program in NSW public schools, please contact the team in Student Health and Mental Wellbeing by sending an email to

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