Press release from the Liberal party:
School chaplains, who provide significant pastoral care for students, will be able to spend more time at Western Australian schools under a re-elected Liberal Government.
Committing to an expansion of the School Chaplaincy Program, Education Minister Peter Collier said the program’s funding would increase by $2.36million over four years.
“This extra funding will allow school chaplains to increase the time they spend in each school and take a more proactive approach, rather than a reactive one. It will also increase the number of schools that have access to a chaplain,” Mr Collier said.
“School chaplains are of enormous value to school communities and contribute to the spiritual and emotional well-being of students. They offer support and guidance on ethics, values, relationships and spiritual issues.
“This commitment to invest more in school chaplains builds on what the Liberal-led Government has already achieved through the School Chaplaincy Program. Our investment of an extra $10million into this program has been very successful and last year almost 600 public schools across WA accessed chaplaincy services.”
Within the program’s expansion, the invitation to all schools to access a chaplain will continue and schools already allocated chaplains will be able to increase their use of the service. This is a voluntary program and schools are not obliged to take up the offer.
Geraldton MLA and Liberal-candidate Ian Blayney said a re-elected Liberal Government would also provide $4million over four years for schools to carry out minor capital works to create confidential, private rooms to be used for appointments with school psychologists, chaplains and nurses.
“Schools will be able to apply for capital works grants to refurbish buildings and create a private space where students can feel comfortable that discussions with a chaplain, psychologist or nurse are confidential,” he said.
Mr Blayney said the Liberal-led Government had prioritised improving student well-being and increasing pastoral care in schools and had overseen the move of school psychologists from regional offices into schools.
“The Liberal-led Government has provided an additional 60 school psychologists and made them more accessible to students and teachers,” he said.
“Providing schools with funds to create confidential counselling rooms further enhances our commitment to pastoral care and will help school psychologists fulfil their vital role.”