Over recent years there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated the value School Chaplains give to their school communities.
A 2012 study done by University of Western Australia surveyed the opinions of school principals, teachers, parents, students and other groups including psychologists and professional school associations. In that study, 96% of respondents supported the work of School Chaplains and agreed that the Chaplains’ work as members of a student support services team was valued. Further to that, 82% indicated that the social and emotional support provided by School Chaplains to students had a considerable positive impact; 83% indicated that School Chaplains helped to build up students’ confidence to a considerable extent.
The 2009 national study done by Edith Cowan University into the effectiveness of chaplaincy in Australian government schools also produced some remarkable results. Staff and students agreed that Chaplains have a unique and significant role to play in the life of a school. The study revealed that over 98% of surveyed Principals believe Chaplains make a major contribution to school morale, and 73% of students felt their Chaplain was highly important to the school.
According to the 2009 national study, Chaplains contribute to school welfare in a number of unique and beneficial ways, including:
The study revealed that in any given week, Chaplains are likely to deal with issues of bullying and harassment; peer relationships and loneliness; family relationships; students’ sense of purpose and self- esteem. School Chaplains are therefore well placed to engage young people in activities that are preventative and which support early intervention and referral of mental health issues.
Evaluation of YouthCARE Chaplaincy Service in Western Australia, a 30–month longitudinal study of school chaplaincy by the Research Centre for Vulnerable Children and Families at the University of Western Australia, led by Associate Professor Maria Harries OA: Harries, Cant, Lavery, Philips and Di Risio, University of Western Australia, 2012
The Effectiveness of Chaplaincy by the Social Justice Research Centre at Edith Cowan University, led by Dr Philip Hughes, Edith Cowan University and Professor Margaret Sims, University of New England – September 2009