For specific information about COVID-19 refer to the on PAL, which brings together key operational information for schools. Schools can also refer to the on the Department's website for information and updates.
This policy explains the processes, procedures and documentation that are required for schools to adequately support and respond to students with identified health care needs, complex medical needs and who require personal care support.
- Government schools have a responsibility to provide equitable access to education and respond to diverse student needs, including health care needs.
- Schools must develop a local Health Care Needs policy that addresses supports and management for students with identified health care needs. There is a policy template available on the (staff login required) that schools can use and adapt to their local context.
- A must be completed for each student with an identified health care need, other than anaphylaxis or an allergy (refer to and about the requirements for those conditions).
- Schools must designate staff to provide complex medical care and personal care support.
- Schools must ensure that there is continuity of education for students with identified health care needs.
- Schools should refer to the for further advice on health care needs planning, health support planning forms for different conditions and complex medical care supports.
Research and evidence suggests early intervention to address a health care needs is critical to mitigate life-long disadvantages, particularly for students in their early years.
- support and make reasonable adjustments for students with health care needs
- develop, review and implement a to support the student’s health care needs when a health care need is identified
- allocate time for relevant staff to discuss and review health support planning policies, processes and individual student plans
Duty of care
Staff have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to students. This includes supporting and responding to the health care needs of all students. Refer to the Department’s policy on for further information.
Development of a local health care needs policy
Schools must have policies and procedures available to the school community for:
- supporting students with specific health care needs and
- the management of medication
Planning for students with identified health care needs
To develop a student health support plan, schools must:
- work with families to develop the plan, guided by advice from the student’s treating medical/health practitioner
- include actions in the plan as to how the school will support the student’s health care needs
- communicate regularly with parents about the student’s health care needs at the school and update the plan if necessary.
Students with asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy need to provide their (condition specific) health management plan to the school, and have a student health support plan developed, which outlines how the school will support the student’s health care needs.
Provision of complex medical care at school
The Department does not expect or require teachers to provide complex medical care. When it is agreed that specialised medical procedures may be needed to enable a student to attend school then:
- designated school staff must receive specific training to allow them to meet the student’s individual health care need
- the should:
Curriculum planning and support for students with specific health care needs
For students with specific health support needs, schools must:
- ensure continuity and relevance of the education program
- design curriculum that allows delivery and assessment for students who need to:
- transition between hospital, home and school
- attend school part-time or episodically
- support the student’s connection to school, including developing and maintaining social networks.
The school in which the student is enrolled retains responsibility for the student’s curriculum when they are in hospital or recuperating at home. Hospital based education staff may also assist the school in supporting the student.
Other management strategies for students with specific health care needs
Training for school staff
Schools must access training for school staff:
- in basic first aid
- to meet specific student health needs not covered under basic first aid training, such as managing asthma or epilepsy
- to meet complex medical care needs, such as the .
Communication, physical activity and camps
Schools must communicate with families about any health or development concerns. It is also important for schools to make reasonable adjustments to enable students with health care needs to participate in physical education and other physical activities, camps and excursions wherever possible.
Personal Care Support
- fulfil their to students by assisting with personal care needs
- detail personal care support requirements and the person(s) responsible in the .
As with all health and personal care support, assisting a student with the management of personal hygiene routines must be conducted in a manner that maximises the student’s safety, comfort, independence, dignity, privacy and learning. Management practices must also reflect occupational health and safety standards for the school.
Schools should consider whether assistance and advice is required from specialists such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists or speech pathologists, or if the student is eligible for support from the Schoolcare program.
Note that there are specific forms that may be completed by a medical / health care practitioner for the following circumstances:
Complex Medical Care
Complex medical care often requires school staff to undertake specific training to meet the student’s individual health needs. These needs cannot be addressed through basic first aid training and staff may be involved in:
- tracheostomy care
- seizure management
- medication by injection or rectal suppository
- administering suction
- tube feeding
- specialised medical procedures.
Personal Care Support
Personal care support is daily living support, usually provided by parents or carers. Students may require the provision of assistance for:
- toileting and personal hygiene
- eating and drinking
- transferring and positioning of the student.
Students may need personal care support due to:
- developmental delay
- medical conditions
- short term circumstances (such as a student wearing a plaster cast)
- long term circumstances (such as complex medical care needs).
Reviewed 09 December 2021