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> School Psychologists, School chaplains
post Jan 18 2009, 11:16 AM
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More chaplains, psychologists for schools

The Western Australian Government has launched the first phase of its strategy to improve student behaviour in Western Australia’s public schools. Education Minister Liz Constable said a $19million pastoral care package would provide all schools with access to chaplains and school psychologists. “Pastoral care is the best way of maintaining the academic, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of students,” she said. “It is also a vital part of a healthy school community and encompasses a wide variety of areas including health, social and values education, behaviour management and emotional support. “Good school discipline begins with creating a positive environment where students feel cared for by staff, who have the resources to help students deal with any problems. “In short, students are more likely to behave well if they are in an environment where they feel respected.”

The package, which is in line with pre-election commitments made by the Liberal Party, includes:
  • $10million over four years to ensure that every school has access to services provided by school chaplains.
  • $8.8million over four years to appoint an additional 50 school psychologists - a 25 per cent increase on current numbers.
  • $252,000 to train 25 school psychologists in mental health first aid in 2009 and another 15 in 2010-2012.

Dr Constable, who made the announcement during her address to nearly 300 new and graduate teachers at the Perth Convention Centre, said the Government’s behaviour management strategy would provide vital support to classroom teachers. She said she wanted all schools to provide a safe learning environment so students could achieve their very best, and their learning was not interrupted by a minority. “Chaplains are an important part of a school’s pastoral care team. They provide guidance and offer support in cases of bereavement, family breakdown and other situations students may face. Mental health issues were a major concern for schools and it was important school psychologists have the skills to train teachers to recognise early signs of mental health issues in students and to act appropriately. Work would begin immediately to recruit the additional chaplains and school psychologists. Other components of the State Government’s behaviour management program will be released as soon as they are finalised,” she said. “These components will concentrate on additional support for classroom teachers and early intervention.”

Ben, Skype "Perth-", Western Australia
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