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School operations

Anaphylaxis

1  Introduction

Anaphylaxis is a severe, rapidly progressive allergic reaction that is life threatening. The most common allergens for school-aged children are peanuts, eggs, tree nuts (for example, cashews), cow's milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame, latex, certain insect stings and medications.

The Department is committed to protecting the wellbeing of children and young people with severe allergies. This commitment is enshrined in the Education Training and Reform Act 2006 (Vic) and more specifically in Ministerial Order 706 — Anaphylaxis Management in Victorian schools, which outlines requirements for schools in the management of anaphylaxis.

Approximately 80% of all Victorian government schools have a child enrolled who is at risk of anaphylaxis. The keys to preventing an anaphylactic reaction are planning, risk identification and minimisation, awareness and education.

Our commitment

The Department is committed to:

  • providing, as far as practicable, a safe and supportive environment in which students at risk of anaphylaxis can participate equally in all aspects of their schooling
  • raising awareness about allergies and anaphylaxis in the school community
  • actively involving the parents of each student at risk of anaphylaxis in assessing risks and developing risk minimisation and management strategies for the student
  • ensuring that every staff member has adequate knowledge of allergies, anaphylaxis and emergency procedures
  • ensuring that all schools have policies and procedures in place to identify and minimise the risks associated with severe allergies, so that all students can feel safe while at school

The Guidelines

These Guidelines have been developed to assist all Victorian schools to meet their duty of care to students at risk of anaphylaxis and to support those students.

The Guidelines support schools in complying with legislation, most critically the:

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic), which specifies that a school must have an anaphylaxis management policy if it has enrolled a student in circumstances where the school knows (or ought reasonably to know) that the student has been diagnosed as being at risk of anaphylaxis
  • Ministerial Order 706 (the Order) — Anaphylaxis Management in Victorian schools, which provides the regulatory framework for the management of anaphylaxis in all Victorian schools and prescribes what must be included in an anaphylaxis management policy as well as prescribing the training requirements for school staff working with students who are at risk of anaphylaxis

The following chapters of the Guidelines include information on:

  • medical information about anaphylaxis
  • legal obligations of schools in relation to anaphylaxis
  • school anaphylaxis management policy
  • staff training
  • individual anaphylaxis management plans
  • risk minimisation and prevention strategies
  • school management and emergency responses
  • adrenaline autoinjectors for general use
  • communication plan
  • Risk Management Checklist

Frequently asked questions are also provided in the Resources tab.

How to use these Anaphylaxis Guidelines

Schools should use the Guidelines as a resource to assess and review their current management practices, and to develop a school anaphylaxis management policy which complies with the Order. To comply with the Order, the policy must contain all those matters specified in the Order.

For this reason, the Guidelines have been carefully prepared to align with, and reinforce, the Order. The mandatory aspects of these Guidelines (indicated by use of the word(s) ‘must’, ‘is required to’, ‘will need to’ and so on) are derived directly from the Order. Chapters 5 to 12 of the Guidelines provide detailed information, suggestions and recommendations relating to the mandatory aspects of the Order. This information is designed to be considered by a school when developing its policy. As a result, not all the information, suggestions or recommendations will be relevant for each school.

Chapter 1 of the Anaphylaxis Guidelines outlining the Department's commitment to protecting and supporting students at risk of anaphylaxis

Reviewed 28 May 2020

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