This policy provides guidance to principals for managing potential claims for compensation for damage to a student’s personal item/property or for student medical expenses, and potential claims for costs incurred by a student damaging school property.
- Principals must inform parents/carers and students at the time of enrolment, and annually, that students and parents/carers are responsible for a student’s personal item/property, including if it is lost, stolen or damaged at school.
- Claims for the reimbursement of the cost of a personal item/property brought to school will not be paid by the school and are not covered by school insurance.
- Parents/carers will only be liable for costs incurred by a student damaging school property in certain circumstances (for example, when the student was acting as an agent of the parent).
- Principals must inform parents/carers and students at the time of enrolment, and annually, that parents/carers are responsible for all medical expenses, including ambulance costs if they are incurred by a student at school. Principals must inform parents/carers that the principal may not contact them if, in the principal’s opinion, an ambulance is required without delay. Principals should encourage parents/carers to have up-to-date ambulance cover for their child.
- Parents/carers are liable for student medical expenses, including ambulance costs, unless the injury or medical incident resulted from a negligent act or omission on behalf of the Department.
Damage to students’ personal items/property
Principals must inform parents/carers and students at the time of enrolment, and remind them annually, that any personal item/property that is brought to school by a student is the responsibility of the student and is not the responsibility of the school, and is not covered by school insurance. Refer to Personal Property page at (login needed) for sample newsletter content.
Students are responsible for personal items/property they bring to school. Neither the Department nor the school is responsible if any student’s personal item/property is lost, stolen or damaged.
School property damage
A parent/carer is not legally responsible for damage caused by a student at school unless it can be shown that the student was:
- acting as the agent or employee of the parent/carer
- acting with the authority of the parent/carer, or
- the damage was caused by a dangerous article that was given to the student by a parent/carer (e.g a knife brought to school with a parent’s knowledge)
In cases of willful damage caused by a student which destroys or significantly damages school property, principals may choose to report the matter to the police.
Student medical expenses
Parents/carers are liable for all medical expenses incurred as a result of a student’s injury or medical need, including transport costs such as ambulance costs (this may include an air ambulance should that be considered necessary).
This applies unless the injury occurs as a result of a negligent act or omission on the part of the Department, its employees, servants or agents, in which case the Department will consider whether it is liable to reimburse the parents for expenses reasonably incurred.
Principals must inform parents on enrolment, and annually (for example in school policy or newsletters), that parents/carers are responsible for any medical expenses (including ambulance costs) incurred if their child is injured or requires medical treatment or an ambulance while at school, or participating in a school activity.
Principals must inform parents/carers that they may not be called if an ambulance is required, until after an ambulance is called, depending on the situation. Principals must use their judgment as to what action to take in cases of a student’s accident or sudden illness.
Principals may encourage parents/carers to have up-to-date ambulance cover and medical insurance.
Disputes regarding medical and ambulance expenses costs
Principals must forward any request for reimbursement of expenses, including ambulance expenses, to Legal Division by email to . The principal will then be contacted by a representative of the Department seeking further information.
Principals and school staff should not indicate that the Department is responsible for, or offer, promise or pay for any medical or ambulance expenses.
If a principal or other staff member, acting in good faith, calls for medical assistance or an ambulance without first consulting a parent/carer and a dispute arises as to liability for the cost of the medical care, the principal or staff member will not be required by the Department to pay for the costs of the ambulance or medical expenses.
Reviewed 11 March 2021