Posted on November 12, 2008 by Steve Whyatt
Categories: Primary, Secondary,

After spending a year in Australia with Scripture Union Queensland I have been more than enthused by the notion of chaplaincy in state schools. (There are over 500 chaplains in Queensland alone) Chaplaincy in this instance being defined as 'pastoral care' and generally not a role that includes the delivery of the more traditional forms of schools work (i.e. assemblies, lessons etc). To give an idea of how this looks in Queensland approximately 85% of secondary school pupils have access to a chaplain.

Having started to explore the current 'chaplaincy scene' amongst state schools in England, I have been struck by the growing exploration and experimentation in this area, both with secondary and primary schools. Two particular factors seem to have led to this:

1. It is a natural 'next step' of progression from previous ministry.

2. A dissatisfaction with current models of Christian schools ministry. Particularly with questions about the long term effectiveness of some current models.

It has also struck me that although some joined up thinking is happening on a local level i.e. where a local trust has worked out a 'chaplaincy model' to suit their needs, little is happening on a wider level. The outworking of this is that chaplaincy has a wide range of role definitions, functions and even titles (chaplain, school chaplain, pastoral worker, pastoral care worker, pastoral youth worker, youth pastor, etc). By contrast the Queensland model has some definite parameters and modems of operation of what a chaplain is; and possibly more importantly what it isn't! It strikes me that there is some strength in this.

I could say more but invite comment and pose some questions:

- Is chaplaincy a valid form of Christian schools ministry for the UK?

- Can chaplaincy provide a valid contribution to the pastoral care needs of schools in the UK?

- Can chaplaincy enhance the education process of schools in the UK?

- Is the chaplaincy model potentially a more effective model of schools ministry?

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