Policy last updated
15 June 2020
This policy outlines the requirements for schools in managing students with mild to moderate allergies who have an Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) Action Plan for Allergic Reactions.
- An ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions (Green Plan) is a document completed by the student’s medical practitioner and is for students who have mild to moderate allergies.
- It is the responsibility of parents or carers to provide a copy of their child’s Green Plan to the school.
- Schools must develop an Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plan for students who have a Green Plan and this plan should be reviewed annually.
- Schools are not required to complete an Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plan for every student who has allergies – this is only required for students whose medical practitioner has completed a Green Plan which has been supplied to the school by parents or carers.
- There is an Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plan available for schools to use.
The school has a duty of care to all students which includes taking reasonable steps to prevent any reasonably foreseeable harm to a student. This includes supporting and responding appropriately to students with mild to moderate allergies
This policy applies to students with a Green Plan. A student with a known food or insect sting allergy who has had a previous severe reaction is usually diagnosed as being at risk of having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). For further information on anaphylaxis, refer to the Department’s policy on Anaphylaxis.
ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions (Green Plan) — Overview
Students with a mild or moderate allergy to a food or insect and those with medication allergy should have a Green Plan that has been completed by the student’s medical practitioner.
Students who have an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis and a prescribed adrenaline auto-injector should NOT also have an ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions if they have some milder allergies as well as severe allergy — these will be included in the Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.
Strategies for schools in managing students with a Green Plan
Schools need to develop an Individual Allergic Reaction Management Plan for students with a Green Plan and must:
- Develop and annually review an Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plan for each student with allergies in conjunction with their parents/guardian (this replaces the need to have a Student Health Support Plan).
- Develop prevention strategies to be used by the school to minimise the risk of an allergic reaction.
- Communicate with relevant staff, students and members of the school community about students with allergies and how they will be managed
- Meet with parents or guardians about medication and responding appropriately to an allergic reaction.
- Establish and annually review first aid response procedures for all in-school and out-of-school environments such as excursions and camps.
- Review each student’s Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plan immediately prior to any excursion or camp in which the student is participating with the teacher in charge and any other relevant persons.
Note: Although children with a Green Plan are assessed as being at less risk for anaphylaxis it is important to note that anaphylaxis can occur in any child with food/insect allergy at any time. General use adrenaline auto injectors held by the school should be administered in the event of anaphylaxis occurring in these children.
Responding to severe allergic reactions
Children with a food allergy and significant asthma at the same time are at increased risk for more severe allergic reactions. Where a child with food allergy has active asthma (wheeze or cough with exertion or at night requiring regular treatment with a bronchodilator) it is imperative that this is identified and managed accordingly.
Children with allergies may still progress to having a severe reaction or anaphylaxis. As this cannot be predicted, children with mild to moderate allergic reactions should be monitored carefully after any reaction.
If a student appears to be having a severe allergic reaction, but has not been previously diagnosed with an allergy or being at risk of anaphylaxis, the school staff must follow the school's anaphylaxis first aid procedures and administer an adrenaline auto injector for general use.
Students diagnosed with food, insect or medication allergies should be given a Green Plan by their medical practitioner. Schools need to develop an Individual Allergic Reaction Management Plan for these students.
This below information describes how schools manage students with an allergy.
Strategy – ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions
A Green Plan must be completed by the student’s medical practitioner and a colour copy provided to the school by the student’s parents or guardians.
The Green Plan outlines the student’s known mild to moderate food, insect or medication allergies and the emergency procedures to be taken in the event of an allergic reaction.
Strategy – Prevention
The Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plan that the school completes in consultation with the parent/guardian must include prevention strategies used by the school to minimise the risk of exposure to known food, insect and medication allergens.
Strategy – Communication plan
A communication plan developed by the school which provides information to all school staff, students and parents about the school’s response to students with a confirmed food, insect or medication allergy.
Strategy – Emergency response
Procedures which each school develops for emergency responses to allergic reactions for all in-school and out-of-school activities, including for school camps.
Strategy – Staff response
All school staff with a duty of care for the wellbeing of students with a confirmed allergy need to be able to recognise and respond to an allergic reaction. They should be aware of their student’s Individual Allergic Reactions Management Plans and consult with parents or guardians regarding in-school and out-of-school activities that may pose a risk to the student.
Strategy – Encouraging camps and special event participation
Schools should ask the parents or guardians to complete the department’s Medical information form – day excursions and Medical information form – camps and overseas excursions and consult with them on relevant strategies to facilitate participation.
Note: Consideration should be given to the food provided.
Strategy – Communicating with parents or carers
Regularly communicate with the student’s parents or carers about the student’s health or any changes that may cause concerns.
An allergic reaction can be traumatic for the student and others witnessing the reaction. It is important to be aware that some students with an allergy may not wish to be singled out or be seen to be treated differently.
ASCIA is the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy
An Allergy occurs when a person's immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless for most people. These substances are known as allergens and are found in foods, insects, some medicines, house dust mites, pets, and pollen.
Common allergens include:
- tree nuts such as cashews
- cow's milk
- fish and shellfish
- insect stings and bites
Signs of a mild to moderate allergic reaction include:
- hives or welts
- swelling of the lips, face and eyes
- tingling mouth.
Signs of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) include any one of the following:
- difficult/noisy breathing
- swelling of tongue
- swelling/tightness in throat
- difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
- wheeze or persistent cough
- persistent dizziness or collapse
- pale and floppy (young children)
- abdominal pain and/or vomiting (these are signs of a severe allergic reaction to insects).
Mild to moderate allergic reactions (such as hives or swelling) may not always occur before anaphylaxis.
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to the Resources tab.
Templates, forms and further information
- Individual allergic reactions management plan – a template for schools to complete for students whose medical practitioner has completed an ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions which has been supplied to the school by parents/carers
- Medical information form – day excursions – schools should ask parents or carers to complete this before camps and excursions to ensure that they are aware of any allergies that a student may have
- Ideas on risk minimisation strategies in the school and/or childcare environment (staff login required) – a list of strategies that can be used a as guide or tool to prompt thought on achievable risk minimisation procedures in an environment where there is an individual who is at risk of a potentially life threatening allergic reaction
- Allergies & Anaphylaxis – about living with Anaphylaxis
- Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy – contains a range of resources for schools, including Anaphylaxis e-training, guidelines and strategies for risk minimisation in schools
- Royal Children’s Hospital: Department of Allergy and – for further information on allergic and immune disorders. This site also contains a range of fact sheets on specific kinds of allergies that might be helpful for school staff and parents to access
- Royal Children’s Hospital Anaphylaxis Support Advisory – for all school allergy and Anaphylaxis management enquiries, including the implementation of Ministerial Order 706. The advisory line is available between the hours of 8.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Phone 1300 725 911 or 03 9345 4235
School Update articles relevant to this topic (staff login required)
Prepare your school for thunderstorm asthma season – published 13 October
Reviewed 11 March 2020