National Student Wellbeing Program 2023

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

It replaces the former National School Chaplaincy Program 2020-2022.

Participation in the National Student Wellbeing 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 or student wellbeing officer. The funding goes directly to schools, with 20% able to be set aside by providers for associated administration costs.

Due to the timing of changes from the former National School Chaplaincy Program 2020-2022, transitional arrangements have been put in place for the National Student Wellbeing Program in 2023. NSW public schools who wished to participate in the 2020-2022 program were invited to apply for funding in late 2019. Successful applicants will continue their participation in 2023, and are required to purchase the chaplaincy or student wellbeing officer 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 or student wellbeing officer if they are unable to remain with the school.

New arrangements for the National Student Wellbeing Program will apply from 2024 onwards. All public schools and eligible service providers will be invited to apply. Student Health & Mental Wellbeing will advertise the application process in the second half of 2023.

More information

For information about which schools have a chaplaincy service or student wellbeing officer under the program, download the list of schools and their providers.

For information about prequalified NSW suppliers under the National Student Wellbeing Program download the list of chaplaincy and student wellbeing officer providers.

For full details about the program, download National Student Wellbeing Program guidelines for 2023.

Contact us

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

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