Policy last updated
12 July 2021
The purpose of this policy is to ensure schools store and administer medication correctly. This topic relates to all medications including prescription and over-the-counter medication.
- have a medication management policy that outlines the school’s processes and protocols
- protect student privacy and confidentiality
- meet their duty of care by assisting students to take their medication where appropriate
- ensure all medication is:
- in its original container and bears the original label with the name of the student and information on the dosage and time to be administered
- accompanied by written directions including advice for storage and administration
- within its expiry date
- stored according to the instructions, particularly in relation to temperature
When administering medication the principal, or their nominee, must ensure that the correct student receives the proper dose of the correct medication, that a record of the administration is kept in a log and that the student’s teacher is notified if they are taken out of class.
If an error is made and a student incorrectly takes medication, schools must follow the procedures set out in this policy.
- have a local medication management policy that outlines the school’s processes and protocols, and is communicated to the school community
- protects student privacy and confidentiality to avoid stigmatisation
- ensures teachers fulfil their duty of care by assisting students to take their medication where appropriate
Schools must ensure all medication to be administered is:
- accompanied by written advice providing directions for appropriate storage and administration
- in the original container with the original label including the name of the student, information on the dosage and time to be administered
- within its expiry date
- stored according to the product instructions, particularly in relation to temperature.
Schools should encourage parents or carers to consider whether they can administer medication outside the school day, such as before and after school and before bed.
Policy template for schools
Authority to administer
Schools must obtain written advice on a for all medication to be administered by the school. It is recommended that the form be completed by the student’s medical or health practitioner ensuring that the medication is warranted. However if this advice cannot be provided the principal may agree that the form can be completed by parents or carers or adult or independent students.
Note: Medication to treat asthma or anaphylaxis does not need to be accompanied by the medication authority form as it is covered in a student’s health plan.
When administering medication the principal, or their nominee must ensure that:
- the correct student receives their correct medication in the proper dose via the correct method (such as inhaled or orally) at the correct time of day
- a is kept of medicine administered
- teachers in charge of students (at the time their medication is required) are informed that the student needs to be medicated and release the student from class to obtain their medication.
Note: It is not the school’s role to:
- monitor the effects of medication
- interpret behaviour in relation to a medical condition.
School staff should seek emergency medical assistance if they are concerned about a student’s behaviour following medication.
- supervising the administration of medication
- checking the information noted on the medication log.
Schools must not:
- store or administer painkillers such as aspirin and paracetamol as a standard first aid strategy as they can mask signs and symptoms of serious illness or injury
- allow a student to take their first dose of a new medication at school in case of an allergic reaction. This should be done under the supervision of the parent or carer, or health practitioner.
- allow the use of medication by anyone other than the prescribed student.
Note: Only in an emergency situation could this requirement be varied. For example, if a student is having an asthma attack and their own blue reliever puffer is not readily available, one should be obtained and given without delay.
Schools should consult with parents or carers, or adult or independent students (and follow up with the student’s medical or health practitioner as required) to determine the age and circumstances in which the student could self-administer their medication.
This is not required for students with asthma or anaphylaxis as this is covered under Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) action plan for anaphylaxis and the Asthma Foundation’s asthma care plan for schools.
Also, at the principal’s discretion, students can carry their own medication with them, preferably in the original container or packaging, when:
- the medication does not have special storage requirements, such as refrigeration
- doing so does not create potentially unsafe access to the medication by other students.
Schools must take steps to ensure:
- stored medication is within its expiry date
- the quantity of medication available does not exceed a week’s supply, except in long-term continuous care arrangements
- medication is stored:
- according to the product instructions, particularly in relation to temperature
- securely, to minimise risk to others
- in a place only accessible by staff who are responsible for administering the medication
- away from the classroom
- away from the first aid kit.
If a student takes medicine incorrectly schools must respond in the following way:
- if required, follow first aid procedures outlined in the:
- student health support plan, or
- anaphylaxis management plan
- ring the Poisons Information Line and give details of the incident and student
- act immediately upon their advice, such as calling an ambulance (on ) immediately if you are advised to do so
- contact the parents or carers or the emergency contact person to notify them of the medication error and action taken
- review medication management procedures at the school in light of the incident.
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.
Reviewed 20 May 2020