First Aid Needs

Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools meet their specific first aid needs to student at school or on approved school activities.


Schools must provide:

  • first aid facilities
  • ensure sufficient staff trained in first aid under the provisions of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 and the Department’s First Aid and Infection Control advice, see: Department resources

Schools must ensure there is always a first aid officer who:

  • can assist an injured or ill person
  • has current qualifications covering all the school’s first aid requirements.

Note:  School nurses employed by school councils should be guided by the school's first aid policy.

Principals must ensure relevant staff receive additional training to meet student health needs.


First aid involves emergency treatment and support to:

  • preserve life through:
    • clearing and maintaining open airways
    • restoring breathing or circulation
    • monitoring wellbeing until the person recovers or is transferred into the care of ambulance paramedic, doctor or nurse
  • protect a person, particularly if they are unconscious
  • prevent a condition worsening
  • promote recovery.

Note: The goal of first aid is not to diagnose or treat the condition.

Meeting first aid needs

This table describes how schools meet student first aid needs.

Circumstance Description

Identified health need

First aid requirements for students with identified health care needs should be explained in the Student Health Support Plan or Anaphylaxis Management Plan.

See: Health Care Needs

To display a photo of a student and a description of their health care needs in a staff area, consent is required from:

  • parents/guardians
  • the student, if they are at secondary school.

Student feeling unwell

If a student feels unwell schools should:

  • assess a range of signs and symptoms including:
    - whether the student has a fever
    - whether the students skin feels warm/hot to touch
    - if the student looks pale but has flushed cheeks
    - whether the student indicates that they feel hot
    Note: The specific temperature is not the main indicator
  • take action based on the summary of signs and symptoms
  • immediately seek emergency assistance, if there is:
    - any doubt about the student’s condition, or
    - a sense that the student’s condition is deteriorating.

See: Medical Emergencies

Student has a minor injury

When using an icepack to treat a minor injury such as a bump or bruise:

  • do not apply directly to skin
  • remove if pain or discomfort occurs and use a cold compress (towel or cloth rinsed in cold water) as an alternative.

Other injuries

When an injury causes a nose bleed then an ice pack should not be used instead a cold compress may be used.

In the following circumstances an icepack/cold compress should not be used and medical help should be sought (usually by calling an ambulance:

  • loss of consciousness, even if only briefly
  • a less than alert conscious state
  • suspicion of a fracture
  • suspicion of a spinal injury
  • damage to eyes or ears
  • penetration of the skin
  • deep open wounds.

Identifying training requirements

The need for first aid varies at each school. This table describes how principals determine the first aid training requirements for the school, camps and excursions.

Stage Description


Identify potential causes of injury and illness :

  • check the environment for any potential hazards
  • review any incident, injury and ‘near miss’ data available
  • consider the nature of activities undertaken
  • consult with staff
  • obtain specialist or external advice, if required.


Identify the training required to meet the assessed need. Consider:

  • how many staff need to be trained?
  • what first aid competencies and training is required?
  • what are the responsibilities and duties of individual teachers?
  • whether first aid duties may be shared across several members of staff.


Identify the requirements for first aid kits including:

  • how many kits are required?
  • are the kits easily identifiable?
  • who is responsible for maintaining the kits?

See: Major First Aid Kit


Plan for first aid rooms including:

  • who is responsible for the first aid room and its contents?
  • have all factors been considered?.

See: First Aid Rooms


Staff who practice first aid should have their position descriptions updated to reflect this extra responsibility.  They must receive:

  • basic first aid training
  • and where required, additional first aid modules to cover:
    • the health needs of students attending the school, such as asthma management, administration of the EpiPen; or
    • excursions, specific educational programs or activities.

Note: For a guide in determining how many staff require first aid training see: First Aid and Infection Control (HRWeb)

Related policies

External resource