Appendix 1 – Legal and policy obligations
Under the department’s Diabetes policy schools are required to support student’s individual health care needs, ensuring each student with type 1 diabetes has:
Schools are also required to support students by making reasonable adjustments to ensure the student’s participation in school activities and to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable risks of injury.
Schools are also required to ensure that staff undertake appropriate diabetes education. This includes general education for all school staff and specific training for staff closely involved with students with diabetes.
Duty of Care policy
Principals and school staff are held to a high standard of care in relation to students. Under the department’s principals and teachers are required to take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm. This includes ensuring that medical assistance is provided to sick or injured students. For example, by providing emergency first aid treatment to students with type 1 diabetes experiencing severe hypos.
To assist schools to work towards minimising risks to students with type 1 diabetes at school, it is recommended that a risk management checklist (under Resources tab) be completed by the school annually.
Health Care Needs policy
To enable students with specialist medical treatment needs to attend school, schools must designate Responsible Staff to undertake specific training to provide the required support. Principals are responsible for identifying staff willing to undertake the training and provide the required support. This role is voluntary and dependent upon staff expressing willingness to be a Responsible Staff member for a specific student.
The Medication policy outlines the conditions for school staff to safely store and administer medication. If schools are supporting students by administering or storing insulin, parents/carers must provide the school with a signed with written advice from the diabetes treating team.
Personal Liability of School Employees policy
In the unlikely event that a teacher or another school employee is named as a defendant, they are protected against legal proceedings for personal injuries of students and the costs and damages as outlined in the .
Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)
Equal opportunity is a requirement under both Victorian and Commonwealth legislation. In Victoria, the main piece of legislation that makes it unlawful to discriminate is the which operates alongside the .
Equal opportunity means that every person can participate freely and equally in areas of public life such as education or the workplace. All employees, students, parents, school council members and volunteers are required to act in accordance with equal opportunity, anti-discrimination, harassment and vilification legislation. The Equal Opportunity Act imposes express obligations to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for a person with a disability in certain areas. If schools do not make reasonable adjustments, this is unlawful discrimination. More information is available from the Victorian Equal opportunity & Human Rights Commission. See
Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
Diabetes is considered a disability under Commonwealth and State anti-discrimination legislation and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). It stipulates that disability discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than a person without a disability in the same or similar circumstances. The Act also makes it unlawful to treat people unfairly because of a disability.
The clarify the obligations of education and training providers and the rights of people with a disability. All schools have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to support students with diabetes, to participate fully in their education.
The Standards generally require providers to make reasonable adjustments where necessary but there is no requirement to make adjustments beyond what is considered as reasonable. A list of what is considered a reasonable adjustment is listed in the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth). Reasonable adjustments for a particular student may change as their support needs vary at different stages of their schooling. Before an adjustment is made, the student or the parent/carer must be consulted, and agreement reached that the adjustment is reasonable for the school and beneficial for the student. Adjustments must also be provided within in a reasonable timeframe.
Reviewed 13 November 2023