Our Chappy

Our Chaplain is Karen Westbrook, known in the school community affectionately as Chappy Karen. She has a Diploma in Social Welfare and has completed a year of counselling. Chappy Karen works as part of a school student support team to plan and deliver student welfare programs eg. lunchtime activities, group leadership programs, school community celebrations. All programs are approved by the School Principal.

Our rostered days for Chappy Karen are every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the year. The Chaplain is bound by the Student Protection Policy and must report any concerns about child safety to the Principal immediately.

Chappy Karen:

  • runs the Tuesday and Wednesday morning Breakfast Club
  • participates in school excursions
  • attends assemblies and other significant school events
  • supports school staff to supervise and interact with students during lunchtime play options and activities
  • provides support and appropriate referrals in times of grief and other critical incidents
  • contributes to our newsletter

SU QLD Chaplains, or 'chappies', provide emotional and spiritual support to school communities. They are in the prevention and support business: helping students find a better way to deal with issues that may be affecting them.

They provide a listening ear and a caring presence for children and young people in crisis, and those who just need a friend. They also provide support for staff and parents in school communities.

SU Qld School Chaplaincy is committed to promoting the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of students through role modelling, mentoring, pastoral care and structured programs. These dimensions of care enhance a school's overall wellbeing strategy and contribute to the achievement of educational goals. As research shows, well supported students are more engaged in their studies and do better at school.

School Chaplaincy Promotes Positive Wellbeing

SU QLD School Chaplaincy complements the work done by other school-based support staff through operating in the ‘promotion, prevention and early intervention’ (PPEI) space  with students, rather than the ‘treatment and continuing care’ space inhabited by many other helping professionals.


Pastoral Conversations

The one-on-one interactions school chaplains have with students are best characterised as role modelling, mentoring and pastoral care. School chaplains do not provide counselling or case management services to students. Students talk to school chaplains about peer issues, bullying, school behaviour, family issues and wellbeing concerns. Issues that are more complex and serious are referred on to other professionals and specialists.

Structured Programs

School chaplains engage students in a range of structured activities that promote social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Many school chaplains are trained and equipped to facilitate well regarded, evidence-based programs like Rock and Water, Friends, and Seasons for Growth.


All SU QLD school chaplains meet or exceed the government qualification standards, and are committed to continuous improvement through regular professional coaching, supervision and development.

SU QLD Chaplaincy Model of Care

SU QLD School Chaplaincy realises its commitment to promoting social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing through our model of care.

School chaplains focus their work around six role elements to provide developmentally appropriate care and support to students, families and school staff. All chaplains are appropriately qualified to carry out these roles, using their expertise and experience to tailor the role to school needs.

School chaplains complement the work of existing school-based support staff through:

Social & Emotional Support

Chaplains provide proactive pastoral care for students, staff and parents, helping to create a positive and safe school environment and looking out for those in need. They support students and the school community through bereavement, family breakdown, peer relationships and other difficulties such as bullying, depression and suicide.

Spiritual Support

Chaplains provide an additional dimension to a school’s care by supporting the spiritual needs of students, regardless of their faith or beliefs. For students who seek it, chaplains can help them explore their worldview in relation to spirituality, values and ethics in a safe and respectful environment.

Educational Support

Chaplains support the learning environment through classroom activities (under the direction of the teacher) and other structured programs in order to provide further social, emotional or spiritual support, particularly with students at risk of disengagement.

Extra-curricular Activities

Chaplains participate in general school activities including camps, excursions, sports days or coaching team sports, adding value to everyday school life.


Chaplains act as role models for students, assisting them to develop positive and supportive relationships. Chaplains may also implement mentoring programs, utilising resources and volunteers from the local community.

Community Development

Chaplains help to build strong links between the school and the wider community. They network with school-based support staff, community based organisations, churches and other networks to mobilise the resources of the community to support student needs.


Last reviewed 19 August 2020
Last updated 19 August 2020