Responsibilities of the school and other authorities
All school staff have a duty of care to help students avoid harm. Some staff will have greater responsibilities, depending on their role. If you’re a teacher, you may have a child with particular health care needs in your class. Other responsibilities are managed at the government department level.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD)
The DEECD is responsible for:
- briefing departmental regional staff on the health support planning process
- assisting schools with planning and supporting student health (for example through advice, forms and information)
- providing first aid facilities and sufficient staff trained in first aid.
Principals have the overall responsibility for making sure that a student’s health care needs are planned for and supported by all school staff. They have the following responsibilities.
- the school community about school-based health support policy and procedures
- relevant staff about any changes to a student’s details
- casual relief teachers about students with health care needs
- relevant staff about health care services which visit the school.
- the health support planning steps in the School Policy and Advisory Guide are followed
- delegated staff responsibilities reflect position descriptions
- allocation of staff duties anticipates the short and long-term health support needs of students.
Managing responsibilities for:
- employee health standards, regulations and legislation including occupational health and safety
- first aid training requirements
- emergency and security management
- confidentiality of health information.
Reviewing school-based policy and procedures for student health support planning.
Encouraging communication between parents and families and the school about the current health care needs of a student.
All school staff must take reasonable care to avoid harm to students. They have a duty of care. This includes teachers, administrators, canteen staff, casual relief staff and volunteers.
In general, school staff are responsible for:
- knowing the school’s first aid and emergency procedures
- providing basic first aid (within the limits of their skill, expertise and training)
- encouraging students to have good hygiene practices (particularly washing and drying hands).
Depending on their duties and training and a negotiated Student Health Support Plan, some staff have further responsibilities. For example:
- undertaking management of health care related records
- administering medication
- undertaking personal care duties
- supporting students who have complex/invasive health care needs.
All staff should take care of their own health and safety by:
- knowing about policies and procedures that guide work performance
- following instructions related to health and safety
- contributing to risk assessment processes
- safeguarding the privacy of health information
- using equipment provided for health and safety purposes
- assisting with the maintenance of clean and safe equipment and premises
- applying standard precautions against transmission of infections.
A teacher has a high duty of care. Teachers are obliged to assist an injured student, while an ordinary citizen may choose to do nothing. Teachers also have some specific responsibilities.
- a Student Health Support Plan
- learning and care programs which accommodate the Student Health Support Plan
- a range of curriculum access options.
- alternative programs where participation in the planned program could place students with health issues at risk
- learning programs that support safe and effective health care management
- sensitive and confidential management of any curriculum issue that may be related to a student’s particular health issue.
Teachers also need to plan ahead for special events such as excursions, sports days, camps and parties.
Finally, teachers are responsible for reporting to parents and families anything which could indicate health-related concerns for a student.
First aid coordinators or school nurses
First aid coordinators or school nurses take a lead role in the health support planning process. They support principals and teachers and have the following responsibilities.
Knowing which students have Student Health Support Plans.
- student’s emergency contact details are up to date
- all medications supplied by the student are within their use-by date.
Working with school staff to:
- conduct regular reviews of management strategies and regular risk assessment
- develop strategies to raise awareness in the school community about health and safety issues.
Undertaking their responsibilities outlined in the Department of Education and Early Childhood’s First Aid Policy.
School council members and other volunteers
School council members and other volunteer workers should:
- know about, and comply with, health support planning policies and procedures
- maintain confidentiality
- ratify relevant school policies in relation to health support.