Develop a Student Health Support Plan

  • Students need to feel safe and supported at school. Part of your school’s responsibility is supporting and responding to the health care needs of students.

    If a student at your school has a health condition that could impact on their attendance and participation, it’s important to anticipate, plan and manage appropriate health support.

    What your school needs to doBailee writing

    1. Create, follow and review school-based policies and procedures for:
      • supporting student health at school
      • managing medications at school.
    2. Communicate with the school community so they know about these policies and procedures.

    3. Train staff in:
      • first aid
      • other training to meet specific and/or complex student health needs not covered by basic first aid training (for relevant school staff).
    4. Create a Student Health Support Plan (Word) for every student with an identified health care need.
      Student Health Support Planning Templates have been developed by the Department of Education and Training to guide schools in planning for and supporting student health.

    Follow the four planning stages

    Student health support planning in schools has four stages:

    1. Before the student enrols
    2. When a health care need is identified 
    3. Developing the plan
    4. Monitoring and review

    Stage 1 – Before enrolment

    Tell parents and carers about your school’s policy for supporting student health either before or during the enrolment process.

    Stage 2 – When a health care need is identified

    Ask parents and carers to provide accurate information relevant to their child, including:

    • regular health support needs
    • emergency first aid associated with their health condition
    • supervision of medication
    • personal care, including:
      • assistance with hygiene
      • continence
      • eating and drinking
      • transfers and positioning
      • use of health-related equipment.

    Ask parents and carers to get their child’s health practitioner to complete:

    Stage 3 – Developing the plan

    Meet and discuss

    Once you have the required medical advice, organise a meeting with:

    • the student
    • the student’s parents and carers
    • any other relevant school staff.

    Identify the key questions

    Start developing the Student Health Support Plan by asking questions such as:

    • Does the student need health support during the school day?
    • How can we provide support that:
      • respects the student’s dignity and privacy
      • keeps them safe and comfortable
      • enhances learning?
    • Is this support complex and/or invasive?
    • What’s the simplest way to provide this support, with minimal interruption to the education and care program?
    • Who should provide the support?
    • Do we need to train staff?
    • Are there any facilities issues?
    • If the student needs personal care support are there relevant care and learning plans?

    Agree on an interim strategy

    If there’s a delay between a health care need being identified and receiving the necessary medical advice, put an interim Student Health Support Plan in place outlining an agreed strategy.

    Plan ahead for school excursions and camps

    Excursions and camps

    The school must also develop a Student Health Support Plan when a student is to attend school excursions and camps.

    The parent or carer should provide the school with Confidential Medical Information for School Council Approved School Excursion.

    Stage 4 – Monitoring and review

    Student Health Support Plans should be reviewed and updated:

    • annually
    • if the school or the student’s parents or carers have concerns
    • if there’s any change in the support required.

    Medical advice should be reviewed regularly, generally within twelve months.

    Privacy and personal information

    Parents, carers and students must be informed that their personal health information may have to be provided to other school staff, such as school nurses.

    Information about the student’s health condition and medication should be loaded in the Cases21 Database.

    More information

    The School Policy and Advisory Guide has more detailed information about student health support planning in government schools.

    The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 states that schools have a responsibility to ensure all students feel safe and supported at school.

    Supplementary Programs provide extra school-based support to students with a disability for things like medical intervention, staff training and equipment grants for students with vision impairments.

    Home Based Programs give students with severe disabilities access to an educational program when they can’t attend school due to the nature of their disability.

    The Catholic Education Office has information about health support planning for students in Catholic schools.

    Independent Schools Victoria has information about health support planning for students in independent schools.

    Health support planning in education and children’s services DECS 2006 outlines South Australian guidelines in relation to planning for health care needs in a school setting.