Health Care Needs

Purpose of this policy

To support and respond to the health care needs of students.

Important: Government schools have a responsibility to provide equitable access to education and respond to diverse student needs, including health care needs

Research and evidence suggests intervention to address a health care need at early stages is critical to mitigate life-long disadvantages, particularly for students in their early years.


The Department must:

  • ensure appropriate regional staff are briefed in health support planning processes
  • provide schools with forms, advice and information.

Schools must:

  • ensure students feel safe and supported at school
  • on enrolment or when a health care need is identified develop and maintain clear plans and processes to support the student’s health care needs
  • allocate time to discuss, practice and review health support planning policies and processes.

Policy template for schools

A downloadable policy template for Victorian government schools is available on the intranet at: Health Care Needs Schools can modify the template to suit their local circumstances. 


The goals of the health care needs policy are to:

  • promote student engagement in learning and wellbeing
  • provide equitable access to education
  • respond to diverse student needs, including health care.

To achieve these goals schools:

  • provide:
    • short or long term first aid planning
    • supervision for safety
    • routine health and personal care support
    • occasional complex medical care support
  • make local decisions
  • create innovative solutions to meet all students’ needs
  • anticipate, plan and manage health support.

Duty of care

According to the Department’s duty of care obligations to students, schools are required to ensure all students feel safe and supported at school.  This includes supporting and responding to the health care needs of all students.

See: Duty of Care within Related policies

Management strategies

This table outlines the strategies for schools to manage students with identified health care needs.

Strategy Schools must
Student health support planning have a Student Health Support Plan or other specific health management plans (such as an Anaphylaxis Management Plan) for a student with an identified health need, based on:
  • medical advice from the student’s medical/health practitioner
  • consultation with the student and parents/guardians.
Policies and procedures have policies and procedures available to the school community for:
  • planning for and supporting student health at school
  • the management of medication.
Training have training for school staff:
  • in basic first aid
  • to meet specific student health needs not covered under basic first aid training, such as managing asthma or for excursions or camps
  • to meet complex medical care needs, such as the Schoolcare Program.
Communication communicate openly with students and families about:
  • successes achieved
  • development and changes
  • health and educational concerns.
Encouraging physical activity and camps plan for most students to:
  • attend school camps and special events
  • take part in physical activities at school.

Health care needs planning

Schools must follow the 4 stages to develop a Student Health Support Plan or any other specific health management plan (i.e. Anaphylaxis Management Plan).

  1. Before enrolment
  2. When a need is identified
  3. Planning process
  4. Monitoring and reviewing

Stage 1: Before enrolment

Principals should inform parents/guardians about the school’s policy for supporting student health prior to and on enrolment.

Stage 2: When a need is identified

Principals should ensure that parents/carers provide accurate information about a student’s:

  • routine health care support needs, such as supervision for medication
  • personal care support needs, such as assistance with personal hygiene, continence care, eating and drinking, transfers and positioning, and use of health-related equipment.
  • emergency care needs, such as predictable emergency first aid associated with an allergic reaction, seizure management, anaphylaxis, or diabetes.

Schools should store information on CASES21 about:

  • the student’s health condition
  • medication to be stored and supervised at school.

Note: When information is being collected principals must ensure that parents/guardians and students are informed about how their personal information will be used and who it might be disclosed to, such as school nurses.

See: circular S322-2007 Secondary School Nurses and Privacy​.

Stage 3: Planning process

This table describes how schools plan for a student with health care needs to attend school, camps and excursions.

Stage    Description
1 The student’s medical/health practitioner provides a medical advice form that:
  • guides the planning
  • details:
    • the student’s medical condition
    • medication required at school/li>
    • recommended emergency and routine health and personal care support for the student.
2 In relation to camps and excursions, parents/guardians complete a Confidential Medical Information School Council Approved School Excursions form. See: Decision Making Responsibilities for Students within Related policies
3 The principal or nominee organises a meeting to discuss the plan with:
  • the student
  • parents/guardians
  • other school staff, if required.
  1. The plan should be developed shortly after the school has received the medical advice from the student’s medical/health practitioner. If there is a time delay between receiving this advice and developing the plan, the school may put in place an interim support plan containing an agreed strategy, such as calling an ambulance.
  2. Questions to consider:
  • Is it necessary to provide the support during the school day?
  • How can the recommended support be provided in the simplest manner, with minimal interruption to the education and care program?
  • Who should provide the support?
  • Is this support complex and/or invasive?
  • Is there staff training required?
  • Are there any facilities issues that need to be addressed?
  • How can the support be provided in a way that respects dignity, privacy, comfort and safety and enhances learning?
  • Are there any care and learning plans that should be completed for students with personal care support?

Stage 4: Monitoring and review

Plans should be reviewed:

  • when updated information is received from the student’s medical or health practitioner
  • when the school, student or parents/guardians have concerns in the support
  • if there is a change in support
  • at least annually.

The advice received from the medical or health practitioner is reviewed annually unless it is agreed that the annual review of the plan is not required.  In this case, it is up to the principal’s discretion whether to request updated medical information.

Related policies

Related legislation

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004

Department resources