Anaphylaxis

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools manage students at risk of anaphylaxis and meet legislative requirements.

Prerequisite policy

See: Health Care Needs.

Background

On 14 July 2008, the Children’s Services and Education Legislation Amendment (Anaphylaxis Management) Act 2008 came into effect amending the Children’s Services Act 1996 and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 requiring that all licensed children’s services and schools have an anaphylaxis management policy in place.

Ministerial Order 706 - Anaphylaxis Management in Victorian Schools outlines points that schools need to ensure are included in their Anaphylaxis Management Policy. A revised Ministerial Order 706 came into effect on 3 December 2015.

Ministerial Order 706 (MO706) - School Requirements

Schools must review and update their existing policy and practices in managing students at risk of anaphylaxis to ensure they meet the legislative and policy requirements outlined below.

Policy

Any school that has enrolled a student or students at risk of anaphylaxis must by law have a School Anaphylaxis Management Policy in place that includes:

  • a statement that the school will comply with MO706 and associated guidelines
  • a statement that in the event of an anaphylactic reaction, the school’s first aid and emergency management response procedures and the student’s Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plan must be followed
  • the development and regular review of Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plans for affected students
  • prevention strategies to be used by the school to minimise the risk of an anaphylactic reaction
  • the purchase of 'backup’ adrenaline auto-injector(s) as part of the school first aid kit(s), for general use
  • the development of a Communication Plan to raise staff, student and school community awareness about severe allergies and the School’s Anaphylaxis Management Policy
  • regular training and updates for school staff in recognising and responding appropriately to an anaphylactic reaction, including competently administering an EpiPen
  • the completion of an Annual Anaphylaxis Risk Management Checklist.

For resources and support materials see: Department resources below.

For all anaphylaxis management enquires, (including the implementation of MO706), schools can call the Royal Children’s Hospital Anaphylaxis Advisory Line on 1300 725 911 or (03) 9345 4235.

For advice on how to respond to an anaphylactic reaction see: Responding to Anaphylaxis

Guidelines

Guidelines have been developed to assist all Victorian schools to meet their duty of care to students at risk of anaphylaxis and to support those students.

The Guidelines support schools in complying with legislation, most critically the:

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006, which specifies that a school must have an anaphylaxis management policy if it has enrolled a student in circumstances where the school knows (or ought reasonably to know) that the student has been diagnosed as being at risk of anaphylaxis
  • Ministerial Order 706 - Anaphylaxis Management in Victorian Schools, which provides the regulatory framework for the management of anaphylaxis in all Victorian schools and prescribes what must be included in an anaphylaxis management policy as well as prescribing the training requirements for school staff working with students who are at risk of anaphylaxis.

The Guidelines include information on anaphylaxis including:

  • legal obligations of schools in relation to anaphylaxis
  • School Anaphylaxis Management Policy
  • staff training
  • Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plans
  • risk minimisation and prevention strategies
  • school management and emergency responses
  •  adrenaline autoinjectors for general use
  • Communication Plan
  • Risk Management Checklist.

See: Department resources below

Training Requirements

From 2016 a new online model for anaphylaxis training is available to support Victorian schools to meet their training requirements and to improve schools’ capacity to provide safe learning environments for young people with severe allergies.

Ministerial Order 706 has been amended to allow for the new online training model. Under this model it is recommended that all Victorian school staff undertake the new Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) e-training course and have their competency in using an autoinjector tested in person within 30 days of completing the course.

The online ASCIA e-training course is fully funded for all Victorian school staff.  The course will take approximately one hour and can be accessed from the ASCIA site at: anaphylaxis e-training: Victorian Schools  

Additionally every school is invited to nominate two staff members from each campus to undertake face-to-face training to skill them in providing competency checks to assess their colleagues’ ability to use an auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen) and become School Anaphylaxis Supervisors.

Registration for the Course in Verifying the Correct Use of Adrenaline Autoinjector Devices 22303VIC can be accessed from the Asthma Foundation by phone 1300 314 806 or by visiting: www.asthma.org.au

Once your School Anaphylaxis Supervisors have completed their training your school can transition to the online model.

A School Anaphylaxis Supervisor Checklist has been developed to guide schools with the requirements of this role. Training agencies that have the Course in Verifying the Correct Use of Adrenaline Autoinjector Devices 22303VIC in their scope of practice are required to use this checklist to guide their training with Victorian schools.

Alternatively schools can opt to undertake fee-based face-to-face training in one of the accredited anaphylaxis training courses that meet the requirements of MO706:

  • Course in First Aid Management of Anaphylaxis 22300VIC
  • Course in Anaphylaxis Awareness 10313NAT.

To find registered training organisations that deliver anaphylaxis training, go to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training site at: www.training.gov.au

In summary, school staff must complete one of the following options to meet the anaphylaxis training requirements of MO706:

Option 1

All school staff - ASCIA Anaphylaxis e-training for Victorian Schools followed by a competency check by the School Anaphylaxis Supervisor. This course is provided by ASCIA, is free for all Victorian schools and valid for 2 years.

AND

2 staff per school or per campus (School Anaphylaxis Supervisor) - Course in Verifying the Correct Use of Adrenaline Autoinjector Devices 22303VIC. This course is provided by the Asthma Foundation, is free to government schools and is valid for 3 years.

Option 2

School staff (as determined by the principal) - Course in First Aid Management of Anaphylaxis 22300 VIC (previously 22099VIC). This course is provided by an RTO that has this course in their scope of practce and is paid for by each school. The training is valid for 3 years.

Option 3

School staff (as determined by the principal) - Course in Anaphylaxis Awareness 10313NAT. This course is provided by any RTO that has this course in their scope of practice and is paid for by each school. The training is valid for 3 years.

Please note: First aid training does NOT meet the requirements of anaphylaxis training requirements under MO706.

Twice-yearly anaphylaxis briefing requirements

All schools with a child or young person at risk of an anaphylactic reaction are required to undertake twice yearly briefings on anaphylaxis management under MO706.

A presentation has been developed to help schools ensure they are complying with the legislation. The briefing presentation incorporates information on how to administer an EpiPen and it is expected all staff will practice with the EpiPen trainer devices provided to your school. As part of the briefing, school staff should familiarise themselves with the children and young people in the school at risk of an anaphylactic reaction and their Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plans.

Any person who has completed Anaphylaxis Management Training in the last 2 years can lead the briefing. If your school has decided to choose the online option, your School Anaphylaxis Supervisor may be the most appropriate staff member for this role. A facilitation guide and speaking notes have also been developed, see: Department resources below

Definition

Anaphylaxis is a severe and sudden allergic reaction when a person is exposed to an allergen. Common allergens include:

  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts such as cashews
  • cow's milk
  • fish and shellfish
  • wheat
  • soy
  • sesame
  • insect stings​ and bites
  • medications.

Signs of mild to moderate allergic reaction include:

  • swelling of the lips, face and eyes
  • hives or welts
  • tingly mouth
  • abdominal pain and / or vomiting (signs of a severe allergic reaction to insects).

Signs of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) include any one of the following:

  • difficult / noisy breathing 
  • swelling of tongue
  • swelling / tightness in throat
  • difficulty talking and / or a hoarse voice
  • wheeze or persistent cough
  • persistent dizziness or collapse
  • pale and floppy (young children)
  • abdominal pain and / or vomiting (signs of a severe allergic reaction to insects).

Impact at school

An anaphylactic reaction can be traumatic for the student and others witnessing the reaction. In the event of an anaphylactic reaction, students and staff may benefit from post-incident counselling, provided, for example, by the school nurse, guidance officer, student welfare coordinator or school psychologist.

It is important to be aware that some students with anaphylaxis may not wish to be singled out or seen to be treated differently.

Strategies

This table describes how schools manage students with anaphylaxis.

StrategyDescription

School Anaphylaxis Policy

This is a school-based policy that is required to be developed under s 4.3.1(6) of the Act because the school has at least one enrolled student who has been diagnosed as being at risk of anaphylaxis.

This policy describes the school's management of the risk of anaphylaxis. MO706 prescribes the matters which the policy must contain.

Prevention Strategies​Under MO706, a School’s Policy must include prevention strategies used by the school to minimise the risk of an anaphylactic reaction.​
Communication Plan​A plan developed by the school which provides information to all school staff, students and parents about anaphylaxis and the School’s Anaphylaxis Management Policy.​
Emergency Response​

Procedures which each school develops for emergency response to anaphylactic reactions for all in-school and out-of-school activities.

The procedures, which are included in the School’s Anaphylaxis Management Policy, differ from the instructions listed on the ASCIA Action Plan of ‘how to administer the Adrenaline Autoinjector’.​

ASCIA Action Plans​

An ASCIA Action Plan should be completed by the student’s parents/guardians in consultation with the student’s medical practitioner and a copy provided to the school.

The plan must outline the student’s known severe allergies and the emergency procedures to be taken in the event of an allergic reaction.​

Individual Management Plans​

An individual plan for each student at risk of anaphylaxis, developed in consultation with the student's parents. These plans include the ASCIA Action Plan which describes the student's allergies, symptoms, and the emergency response to administer the student’s Adrenaline Autoinjector should the student display symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction.​

Annual Risk Management Checklist

Principals need to complete an annual Anaphylaxis Risk Management Checklist to monitor their compliance with their legal obligations and the Guidelines.

Purchase additional adrenaline auto-injection devices

Schools with students at risk of anaphylaxis must purchase a spare or ‘backup’ adrenaline auto-injection device(s) as part of school first aid kit(s), for general use. Schools can purchase an adrenaline auto-injection device at local chemists. (Schools must regularly check the expiry date of the backup device).

Schools must determine the number of backup adrenaline autoinjector devices to be purchased for general use, taking into account the number of diagnosed students attending the school and the likely availability of a backup device in various settings, including school excursions and camps.

Training

All school staff with a duty of care responsibility for the wellbeing of students at risk of anaphylaxis should receive training in how to recognise and respond to an anaphylactic reaction including administering an adrenaline autoinjector (i.e. EpiPen®).

Encouraging camps and special event participation

Schools should ask the parents/guardians to complete the Department’s Confidential Medical Information for School Council Approved School Excursions form.

Note: Consideration should be given to the food provided.

See: Related policies for:

  • Health Care Needs
  • Health Support Planning Forms

Communicating with parents

Regularly communicate with the student’s parents about the student’s successes, development, changes and any health and education concerns.

Related policies

Related legislation

  • Children’s Services and Education Legislation Amendment (Anaphylaxis Management) Act 2008
  • Ministerial Order 90 (repealed on 22 April 2014)
  • Ministerial Order 706 (updated on 3 December 2015)

Department resources

For more information, see: Anaphylaxis Management in Schools 

  • Ministerial Order 706
  • Guidance for developing a School Anaphylaxis Policy (updated)
  • Anaphylaxis Guidelines for Victorian Schools (updated)
  •  Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plan Template (updated) 
  • Annual Anaphylaxis Risk Management Checklist (updated) 
  • Online Anaphylaxis Training Strategy: Frequently Asked Questions (updated)
  • Online Anaphylaxis Training Strategy: A Summary Fact Sheet 
  • Online Anaphylaxis Training Strategy: A Step-by-Step Implementation Guide (updated)
  • School Anaphylaxis Supervisor Checklist (updated)
  • Facilitator Guide for Anaphylaxis Management Briefing (updated) 
  • Anaphylaxis Management Briefing Presentation (updated)  

​​See: Anaphylaxis Management in Schools

Other Department resources:

Other resources