Health support planning and student safety procedures

Direction and guidance on establishing and maintaining a whole-school approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of students, including students with specific health support needs.

Audience

NSW public schools, NSW public preschools, parents and carers, and school communities

Version Date Description of changes Approved by
V02.0.0 21/06/2024 Updated under the 2023 Policy and procedure review program. Converted into new policy document consolidating existing instructions previously provided in the Student wellbeing health and physical care website. Executive Director, Inclusion and Wellbeing


About the policy

These procedures relate to the Student health and wellbeing policy.

The department is required to meet its obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and the Common Law to keep students safe while they are at school.

Term Definition
Culturally responsive approaches and practices Consider the social, cultural, historical and lived experiences of students and their school community.
First aid The immediate treatment or care given to a person suffering from an injury or illness until more advanced care is provided or the person recovers.
Health support The prevention and management of a disease, illness, injury or disability of a student, to maintain or restore physical or mental health.
Health promotion The process of enabling people to make empowered choices and improve their health.
Medical emergency A sudden or unexpected threat to health that requires an urgent assessment and alleviation of symptoms.
Medication

Prescribed medication – can only be made available to a patient on written instruction from an authorised health professional.

Non-prescribed medication – may be purchased without a prescription.

Wellbeing

A person’s ability to feel good and function effectively.

It is about building the capacity, skills and resources to cope and flourish rather than feeling good all the time.

Principals:

  • support the health and wellbeing of students by implementing a whole-school approach to student health and wellbeing—from universal health promotion and prevention approaches, to targeted support responses.

Staff members:

  • do what they practically can to ensure students are safe while they are at school or involved in school activities (for example, by providing preventative health strategies, caring for students that become unwell at school, and providing short-term care for minor ailments) and ongoing health support for students who need it
  • promote and support students’ health and wellbeing through all school activities, in line with the school’s whole-school plan and procedures.

What needs to be done

Schools assist students with health support in a range of ways, including providing first aid (including emergency care), providing temporary care when students become unwell at school, administering medications and health support procedures, and commencing individual health support planning if required.

1. Promote and implement a whole-school approach to student health

Principals must promote a whole-school, culturally responsive approach to student health and wellbeing that recognises diversity within school communities.

A whole-school approach to student health is characterised by:

  • promoting health and wellbeing through targeted curriculum activities
  • implementing practices that promote healthy food and drink options for all school activities that are responsive to local needs, including cultural diversity
  • identifying local procedures that support the planning and delivery of high-quality, safe sport and physical activity programs
  • ensuring sun safety practices are consistent with current research and recommended sun protection strategies
  • incorporating health and safety strategies in all activities
  • implementing age-appropriate drug education to help students make responsible, healthy and safe choices.

2. Plan for individual health support

When schools receive advice from a parent or carer about their child’s specific health support needs, they must initiate health support planning procedures.

Principals – in consultation with appropriate school staff, the parent or carer, the treating medical or allied health team and, where appropriate, the student – must:

  • determine how the school will meet the health support needs of the student, by developing an individual health support plan for students with complex health needs and additional resources as required
  • consider students’ health support needs when planning and managing risks in all curriculum and school activities, including excursions
  • develop and implement procedures for administering medication for individual students when identified
  • ensure that for any student who is diagnosed as having a condition that may require an emergency response, the student has an Emergency care/response plan (PDF 89 KB) in place (in the case of anaphylaxis – the ASCIA action plan for anaphylaxis IS the emergency response plan)
  • ensure student health records are accessible to staff who need to refer to them, while observing requirements imposed by privacy legislation.

2.1 Consult and develop an individual health support plan

Principals or their delegates must meet and discuss the management of the student’s health support needs with:

  • the parent or carer
  • appropriate school staff and, where appropriate, the student.

Where the request for health support can be met in a straightforward way, there is no requirement to request a meeting or develop an individual health support plan.

An individual health support plan must be developed for any student:

  • diagnosed with a condition that may require an emergency response.
  • requiring health support, including administering medication
  • with severe asthma, Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy and anaphylaxis.

Individual health support plans should include the Individual health support plan cover sheet (PDF 168 KB) and, where relevant, the following:

  • an emergency response plan
  • a statement of the responsibilities of those involved in the student's support
  • a schedule for the administration of medication, as provided by the treating medical practitioner
  • a schedule for the administration of health support procedures, as provided by the treating medical practitioner
  • an authorisation to contact the medical practitioner
  • other relevant documents.

2.2 Deliver health support

Principals:

  • provide copies of the health support plan to all relevant staff
  • arrange training for staff and/or engage teams around the school as required
  • ensure all staff complete current mandatory training requirements in Anaphylaxis and e-Emergency Care.

Staff ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities in relation to the health support planning.

2.3 Review individual health support plan

Principals:

  • ensure that individual health support plans are reviewed annually or whenever a student’s health support needs change
  • maintain clear communications with parents and carers to keep them informed about the student's health at school.

3. Respond to health incidents

Principals are responsible for negotiating an appropriate arrangement for temporary care of students who become unwell at school.

Each school needs to identify the staff member(s) who will care for students who are unwell, and the procedures that staff will need to follow.

In the special case of residential schools, arrangements for short-term care for minor ailments may be undertaken as part of the school's provision.

School staff will provide first aid at a local level and implement department policy and procedures regarding first aid in schools.

Principals manage illicit drug-related incidents in line with the Student behaviour policy to protect the health and safety of the student/s involved, other students, school staff and the wider community.

Incidents and/or injuries and emergency responses are reported to the Health, Safety and Staff Wellbeing directorate Incident Report and Support Hotline on 1800 811 523 in accordance with the department’s Incident notification and response procedures (PDF 216 KB).

Schools report cases of vaccine preventable diseases, as listed on the NSW Health website’s Infectious diseases Disease notification – Schools and childcare centres to the local public health unit.

Record-keeping requirements

Mandatory tools and templates

Supporting tools, resources and related information

Policy contact

Leader, Student Health and Safety
Student.Health@det.nsw.edu.au

The Executive Director, Inclusion and Wellbeing monitors the implementation of this procedure, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.

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