Chaplaincy to Principals

In 2017, the seventh annual Australian Principals Health and Well-being Survey Report was released, revealing “Australia’s Principals continue to experience high levels of stress and burnout”.

In 2019, at the request of the South Australian Primary Principals Association (SAPPA), SMG was invited to trial Principal Chaplaincy Services to a control group of 12 participants in 2 locations: an area of Yorke Peninsula - with Principals of small schools, and a cohort of leaders of low Supplemental Education Services (SES) schools in the southern metro area. One senior PCW with school leadership experience was provided to 6 Principals.

The goal of the trial was “For Principals to have access to the range of networks and supports that assist them to flourish with optimal health and wellbeing.” The results were clear. In short, there was positive improvement to mental wellbeing as self-reported by Principals in the trial. In fact 75% of the participants indicated increased wellbeing measures post trial.

The success of the trial led to the expansion of the program for Principals in schools affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires in the Adelaide Hills.
Above: Pilot Chaplaincy Services to Principals Pastoral Care Workers, Ann Nadge and David Woodroofe with Peter Skurray, GM Chaplaincy Services (centre) at the 2019 SMG Conference. Both Pastoral Care Workers have the relevant Chaplaincy Qualifications and experience in Senior Leadership and Educator roles at Primary and High Schools.

When serving Principals in the fire scar area in 2020, David Woodroofe was able to bring his school leadership experience during the Ash Wednesday Bushfires of 1983 to benefit Principals dealing with post-disaster challenges.


The Principal Chaplaincy (by SMG) provided both affirmation of the Principal’s effectiveness as a leader and a sounding board for ideas and strategies. The face to face support was important. In addition, Principals appreciated the opportunity to build networks through SMGs PCW.

Angela Falkenberg: President, South Australian Primary Principal’s Association


When you partner with us to provide Chaplaincy to Principals, it can improve the wellbeing of the whole school community!