Go to top of page

Becoming a National School Chaplaincy Program service provider

To become an approved service provider to deliver pastoral care services under the NSCP, your organisation must:

The organisation must have and maintain the following insurances:

  • public liability of at least $20 million
  • professional indemnity of at least $1 million
  • workers compensation level specified by state and territory law.

Recruit and maintain suitable pastoral care workers (PCW)

Service providers must work with school leaders to:

  • recruit a pastoral care worker
  • find someone that suits the needs of the school community.

As the service provider, you are the pastoral care worker’s employer. You are responsible for:

  • all mandatory training
  • reporting requirements and processes.

You cannot employ a pastoral carer worker through a subcontractor.

Before your PCW can start

Employee qualification, training and screening requirements must happen before a pastoral care worker can start at a school. This includes:

  • code of conduct
  • minimum qualification check
  • transition to minimum qualification requirements
  • RRHAN-EC training
  • working with children check .

You must keep evidence that your employees’ requirements were met.

Training requirements about bullying

Pastoral care workers must complete professional learning about responding to and preventing bullying and cyberbullying as soon as is practical. This training is provided by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

When doing your end of year financial acquittal you must show that your active pastoral care workers have completed this training. This is to comply with annual Commonwealth milestone reporting.

Faith and professional boundaries

Pastoral care workers are prohibited from proselytising under the project agreement. (Proselytising is defined as trying 'to persuade someone to share your beliefs, especially religious or political beliefs' - Collins Dictionary).

Pastoral care workers can be of any faith.

Notify the department when a new PCW starts

You must complete a NCSP notification template when a PCW starts at a school. You have 5 business days to notify the department. Email education.nscp@sa.gov.au for a copy of the notification template.

Minimum qualifications

To be employed as a pastoral care worker they must have evidence of:

Skills mapping process

To see if a pastoral care worker has the minimum qualifications, you must do a skills mapping process.

Contact the NSCP team on education.nscp@sa.gov.au to ask for a copy of the department’s minimum qualification mapping tool.

Employing someone who doesn’t yet have the minimum qualifications

It can be difficult to recruit suitably qualified pastoral care workers in remote and regional areas.

Service providers can apply for approval to employ a pastoral care worker who doesn’t have the minimum qualifications. Applications go through the NSCP team to the cross-sector panel. This process is by exception only.

Contact the NSCP team via education.nscp@sa.gov.au for advice about recruiting for metropolitan schools.

You must complete the NSCP application for minimum qualification transition arrangements.

You will need to provide:

  • specific difficulties the school has had with recruiting or retaining a PCW
  • different options they have tried to find a suitably qualified person
  • evidence of recognition of prior learning (RPL)
  • evidence of support for the proposed candidate from the school
  • required clearances to work at a school site with children
  • details of studies and expected completion dates.

You must also do a skills mapping process for the proposed candidate. You need to see if they have equivalency of:

  • core competencies, and
  • minimum qualifications.

Contact education.nscp@sa.gov.au for a copy of the skills mapping tool.

The candidate cannot start at a school until the service provider receives an outcome email from the department. This will explain the decision and any conditions.

Your organisation must give the department progress updates about minimum qualification studies. This is done as part of the quarterly PCW information reporting and end of year acquittal reporting.

Fees and charges must be transparent for schools

You can use up to 20% of total NSCP funding per school for administration costs. This includes:

  • general administration costs
  • support or admin staff costs
  • training and personal development costs for the PCW
  • reasonable travel for delivering NSCP services to schools. For example, fuel, fares, vehicle registration and maintenance.

If any of your services can’t be paid for using the NSCP funding, you must let the school know. They have the right to opt out. You need to tell them upfront if any fees are optional.

Schools can change service providers at any time

If you are not meeting the needs of the school community, the school can change to a different service provider at any time.

Schools and service providers must negotiate a service end date. You must return any unspent funds within 30 days. The department manages this.

You must negotiate a handover process with the school. This can include an exit interview with the outgoing pastoral care worker.

If you stop providing NSCP services for a school, you will need to:

  • provide a final financial acquittal report to the department – it should show expenditure and service details up to the service agreement end date
  • provide a summary of pastoral care worker case notes to the school – it should explain student interventions and services received.

Schools can change PCWs at any time

You must remove a PCW immediately from the NSCP funded school if:

  • you get a request from the school leader or the department
  • the PCW no longer meets the needs of the school community.

You must try to provide a suitable replacement.

You have 5 days to notify the department

Service providers have 5 business days to complete the NSCP notification form to inform the department when a PCW starts or stops working at a school.

Gap in service

Changes and trouble recruiting PCWs can impact on service delivery at the school. This can create gaps in service.

If this happens, you must provide the department with quarterly reporting and financial acquittals. These must identify the start and end date of the gap in service.

If the gap in service means you have extra funding, you can only use it:

  • for the school where the funding was allocated
  • to increase pastoral care service hours for a period of time
  • to employ more than 1 PCW for the school
  • to fund an existing PCW at the school who is not funded through the NSCP.

The department might allow the reallocation of funding between NSCP funded schools. Service providers must contact the NSCP team to request a reallocation.

Schools that leave the NSCP

Schools that stop participating in the NSCP must contact their service provider. This is so they can:

  • provide a final financial acquittal report to the department – it should show expenditure and service details up to the date of the school exiting the program.
  • transfer unused NSCP funding back to the department.

Service providers may be withdrawn at the discretion of the department if they are not providing pastoral care services to NSCP funded schools.

NSCP payments and service delivery hours

The NSCP funding allocation is determined by the department. It‘s paid directly to service providers.

At least 80% of the total NSCP funding per school must be used to pay PCW salaries or wages and superannuation.

Payments to service providers are made quarterly subject to service agreement conditions.

You must try to provide the minimum hours of service delivery, capped at the total amount of NSCP funding to your assigned schools.

If you have unspent funds from underservicing, you must submit a proposal to the department for how you will use these funds. The proposal must include:

  • school name
  • how the underspend happened
  • steps taken to minimise the underspend
  • details of the proposed school where the funds could be redirected
  • evidence of why the proposed school needs extra funding
  • details of how you will use the funding.

The department will let you know the outcome of the proposal by email.

If a school wants services above the minimum hours and funding provided by the NSCP, they can use their:

  • Resource Entitlement Statement (RES)
  • Cash reserves (SASIF).

It’s unacceptable to use NSCP funding for the purchase of goods and services that are inconsistent with the purpose of the program. This includes:

  • PCW annual leave
  • service provider supervisor or line manager hours
  • orientation training hours for rejected transition to minimum qualification candidates
  • the purchase of religious education or religious training packages and the purchase of goods related to these activities
  • the purchase of capital items, assets or resources including capital works, vehicles, computers and text books
  • any existing programs or supports that are already funded by alternate funding sources
  • provision of services to other unfunded schools.

If a candidate for transition to minimum qualifications has their application declined, you can not use the funding to pay for their orientation training hours.

Redirecting funding

You must not reallocate funds between funded schools without approval from the department. This means you can’t transfer unspent funds from one school to another.

Report, monitor and evaluate the NSCP

Each service agreement includes reporting requirements that you must comply with. These include:

  • Completing biannual formal reviews by school of the PCWs who currently provide NSCP services. Reviews must be signed off by:
    • a school representative
    • a service provider representative.
  • Completing and maintaining quarterly reporting about pastoral care workers. This includes updates on transition to minimum qualifications.
  • 5 day PCW employment change notifications.
  • Submitting annual financial acquittal.
  • Offering extra information to the department, when requested, to help monitor and evaluate the NSCP.

You must comply with the department’s inspection requirements. This includes:

  • annual visits to the service provider’s business
  • desktop monitoring of NSCP service delivery.

The department can choose to review, monitor, investigate or audit the performance of the PCW or the service provider at any time.

Complaints and feedback

You must have a documented formal complaints management process for all complaints lodged.

You must notify the department and affected schools within 2 business days about complaints or concerns. This applies to any that:

  • impact the delivery of NSCP services in schools
  • are about the PCW.

A funded site leader or the department can:

  • arrange an investigation of a complaint or incident
  • investigate the actions of a PCW and the delivery of NSCP services.

The department welcomes feedback about the program including good news stories.

National School Chaplaincy Program

Phone: 8226 2002
Email: education.NSCP [at] sa.gov.au