Minister for Education
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copy: Daniel Andrews
1 September 2014
Re: National School Chaplaincy Program Funding
We refer to the recent announcement by the Federal Government that funding for continuation of the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) will be channelled via the States and Territories.
The Rationalist Society of Australia urges you to publicly state that the Victorian Government will accept NSCP funds only where such funds are not tied to the religious belief of either the provider or the person fulfilling the ‘chaplain’ role.
As currently constituted, the NSCP deliberately excludes non-religious people from applying to support schools as a ‘chaplain’ – people who may be otherwise suitable and qualified. It denies schools the choice of employing a non-religious person in this role, if this is what they want.
In matters of the welfare of children, it is important you act in their best interests. It would be in the best interests of children if you empowered school principals to provide children with the services of recognised student welfare professionals, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
We look forward to your response.
Dr Meredith Doig