Schools pick up Govt chaplaincy offer

More than 1,500 Australian schools have applied for funding under the Federal Government's $90 million chaplaincy program with three quarters of applications coming from state schools, Education Minister Julie Bishop says.

ABC reports that Education Minister Julie Bishop says that there was interest from Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and other private schools but the bulk of the applications are from Government schools.

According to The Age of the 293 Victorian schools who applied for first-round funding, more than 200 were government schools.

Victoria and Queensland (484 applications) accounted for the lion's share of the applications.

"Overall the greatest response has been 77 per cent from the Government sector, which on a per capita basis is quite strong," she said.

She says the applications for the program were spread evenly across the country.

"About 55 per cent were from metropolitan areas, so a considerable number were also in rural and regional areas," she said.

Schools will not know if their applications are successful until next month, according to the ABC.

Schools that miss out will have the opportunity to reapply later in the year in a second round of funding.

The three-year, $90 million program announced in October, gives schools up to $20,000 a year for a chaplain of any religious affiliation.

Concern that the program would be used to push religion was eased after the Government released a code of conduct that said chaplains should not preach religion. Chaplains who did not sign up to the code were barred.

Following a revision and clarification of the chaplaincy guidelines under the program, the Catholic Education Office Sydney, has also written to all Catholic Schools in the Sydney Archdiocese to announce its support for the Program.

Govt schools put hand up for chaplaincy funding (ABC News, 29/5/07)
Big response to school chaplain push (The Age, 30/5/07)
School chaplains in high demand (Adelaide Now, 30/5/07)
Letter to schools, Sydney Catholic Education Office, 1/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Chaplain program, Australian Government

Catholic schools to reject Govt chaplaincy program (CathNews, 23/2/07)
Greens say chaplaincy group stacked (CathNews, 30/11/06)

30 May 2007