Appendix A: Managing Students with Special Health Needs

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Any information provided to the school on the enrolment form or separately, will be taken into account when planning the care of a student. Where students have a health care need identified after enrolment, the same steps will be followed.

1. When a need is identified
Parents/carers are required to provide accurate information about a student’s routine health and personal care support needs, and emergency care needs, for example:

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

Parents/carers and students will be informed when their information is being collected, about how their personal information will be used, and to whom it might be disclosed. For example, to school nurses, who will require access to relevant student information in order to provide appropriate services.

Medical advice is required from the student’s medical/health practitioner if there is an indication that a student has a health care need. The medical advice received must provide relevant information about the student’s medical condition and document recommended emergency and routine health and personal care support for the student. Ideally medical advice should be sought via the completion of a relevant Medical Advice Form.

For any student requiring medication while at school, the school must receive written directions ideally from the student’s medical/health practitioner. This can be done via the completion of a Medication Authority Form or ASCIA Action Plan for anaphylaxis or School Asthma Action Plan for asthma (see Victorian Government Schools Reference Guide 4.5.3.1).

Information about the student’s health condition as well as medication to be stored and supervised at school should be loaded in Cases21 Database.

The development of a Student Health Support Plan (see Victorian Government Schools Reference Guide 4.5.3.1) (or in the case of Anaphylaxis an Anaphylaxis Management Plan (see 4.5.10.2)) will occur after the school has received the appropriate medical advice from the student’s medical/health practitioner. If there is a time delay between receiving this advice and in the development of a Student Health Support Plan, the school may decide to put in place an interim support plan outlining an agreed interim strategy, e.g. call an ambulance immediately.

Plans should be developed when a student is to attend school excursions and camps. The parent/carer should complete a Confidential Medical Information for School Council Approved School Excursion (4.4.2.5).

2. The planning process
The principal (or nominee) will organise a meeting to negotiate the development of a Student Health Support Plan (see 4.5.3.1) (or in the case of Anaphylaxis an Anaphylaxis Management Plan (see 4.5.10.2)) with the student, student’s parents/carers and other relevant school staff. This Support Plan should be guided by the medical advice received by the student’s medical/health practitioner.

A range of questions may be asked in planning support. For example:

  • 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?

This information is provided to parents/guardians on a regular basis via the school newsletter. Outside of these times the supervision and/or the collection of students is the responsibility of parents/guardians.

Sufficient teachers will be allocated by the school principal or their nominee to supervise students during these periods

Should a teacher be called away to other duties alternate supervision arrangements will be put in place in consultation with the principal or their nominee.

3. Monitoring and review
A date for when medical advice received by the student’s medical/health practitioner is to be reviewed (generally within twelve months) will be set.

Student Health Support Plans (see 4.5.3.1) (or in the case of Anaphylaxis an Anaphylaxis Management Plan (see 4.5.10.2)) will be annually reviewed in light of the updated information received by the student’s medical/health practitioner. Student Health Support Plans will be reviewed earlier if the school or the student’s parents/carers have concerns or if there is any change in the support.

It may be agreed that an annual review of the Student Health Support Plan may not require updated medical advice. It is up to the principal’s discretion to request updated medical advice for a student.

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