Friday, July 23, 2010

Support school chaplaincy campaign launched

The future of government-funded chaplains in public schools was a hot topic in the Make it Count webcast with Opposition leader Tony Abbott committing to three years funding from 2011 while then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said future funding was dependent on a review of the scheme.

While Mr Rudd was confident the review would support the ongoing support of school chaplaincy, and Ms Gillard is thought to have the same view, it does leave the door open for the scheme to end. Likewise, Mr Abbott's commitment does not cover funding growing with inflation which means positions could be lost.

To shore up these commitments, the National School Chaplaincy Association is calling on voters to email their Federal member during the election campaign to press home the importance of school chaplaincy.

'Now is the time to contact your local federal MP to inform them of your support of the school chaplaincy program and your wish to see it extended beyond 2011,' the campaign website says.

'In your own words please consider the following points in your response:

1.Express your support for the school chaplaincy program and your desire to see it continue.
2.Mention any positive feedback you have heard from schools, parents and/or students. Maybe your child has benefited.
3.Express your opinion that the funding needs to be expanded so that schools currently without chaplains can gain access.
4.Express your opinion that you want the nature of school chaplaincy to remain unchanged ie. holistic pastoral care – physical, emotional and spiritual.
5.Express your desire to hear a commitment for an expanded program during this election campaign.'

The website includes a postcode search for contact details of local members.

Mr Rudd, when speaking about chaplaincy in June's Make it Count, said he had spoken to many government school principals about the program and it always received enthusiastic endorsement.

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