Health and wellbeing of students

Introduction

This page has information about student health, student safety and wellbeing, preventing bullying and cybersafety, and social and emotional support for students.


Student health

This page has information on the management of infectious diseases, medical conditions, medical emergencies, drugs and alcohol, healthy eating and sun safety in schools.

Medical conditions and emergencies

Schools have staff qualified to administer first aid to deal with health issues and medical emergencies.

Infectious diseases

Schools have a duty of care to protect students and staff, and reduce the likelihood of the spread of infection. 

If your child, or a member of staff, has an infectious disease they will be excluded from school.

Your child will not be excluded from school due to head lice or nits. If the school suspects your child has head lice or nits, they will send you a letter requesting you take action.

Go to the Department of Education website for more on infectious diseases and periods of exclusion.

Severe medical conditions

If your child is diagnosed with a chronic or severe medical condition which requires medication whilst in the care of the school, please inform the school immediately. 

This includes severe allergies where a student is at risk of anaphylaxis.

Student health care plan 

You will be asked to complete a student health care plan form to assist the school in managing the condition.

If your child is enrolling in the school, the school will conduct a risk assessment and evaluation and put strategies into place until a health care plan has been developed.

Go to policies on the Department of Education website for more information about treatment of medical conditions in schools.

Medical emergencies

If your child is involved in a medical emergency an ambulance will be called and you will be contacted.

School staff do not wait for parent approval before taking emergency action. This emergency response is part of the first aid training.

Drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol are not permitted in Northern Territory schools. 

All schools have a drug and alcohol policy and provide drug and alcohol awareness education.

Healthy eating

Schools encourage healthy eating and limit unhealthy foods in canteens, from vending machines or during school activities and excursions.

Food and drink available at school is classified according to the amount of nutrients. This is based on the Australian guide to healthy eating.

Go to policies on the Department of Education website for more about the food provided at school.

Go to the Eat for Health website for more about healthy eating.

Sun safety

Your child's school promotes sun safety during school activities and excursions.

This includes all of the following:

  • using available shade for outdoor activities
  • planning activities so that the time spent in the midday sun is reduced
  • requesting students wear protective clothing including appropriate hats
  • providing students with an SPF 30+ broad spectrum water based sunscreen when needed.

Your child's school can provide more information on its sun safety policy.


Bullying, cyberbullying and cybersafety

This page has information on bullying, cyberbullying and cybersafety. 

Bullying 

Bullying is a misuse of power resulting in a repeated pattern of harmful verbal, physical or social behaviour.

Bullying can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more people.

It can occur face to face, at a distance or using technology. Cyberbullying is bullying through the internet or mobile devices.

Cyberbullying and cybersafety

Cyberbullying uses online technology to bully an individual or group of people with the intent to cause social, psychological or physical harm.

Material can spread quickly and can include any of the following:

  • abusive texts and emails
  • harmful messages, images or video footage
  • harmful gossip and chat
  • imitation and excluding others.

It is important that children learn how to be cybersafe and to behave appropriately when using digital technology.

Go to the Parenting SA website to read more about internet safety and your child. 

Contacts

If you think your child is a victim of bullying or cyberbullying talk to your child's teacher in the first instance.

Go to the Bullying. No Way! website for information and resources on how to prevent and manage bullying.

Go to the Australian Government's eSafety website for more information about cybersafety and preventing cyberbullying.


Social and emotional support for students

This page has information on the support available to students and families in schools, including counselling and chaplaincy services.

All schools have a wellbeing and behaviour plan in place to support students and create a positive learning environment. Contact your school for further information.

Counselling services

School counsellors support schools in dealing with student's social and emotional difficulties.

Role of school counsellors is to:

  • identify and understand issues facing students
  • initiate and manage preventative mental health programs and interventions
  • assist teachers and students to resolve issues and problems.

Read more about school counsellors.

Chaplaincy in schools

Some Northern Territory schools may have a chaplain to support the provision of pastoral care and emotional wellbeing to students.

This service is optional and you must provide written consent for your child to participate in the program.

Go to policies on the Department of Education website for more information about chaplaincy in schools.


Student safety and wellbeing

This page has information on safeguarding the wellbeing of children in schools, child protection, reporting requirements for child abuse or neglect and sharing information with other agencies.

Schools have a responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in their care, providing a secure and supportive learning environment for students, staff and the wider school community.

This includes:

  • the welfare of students and staff
  • protecting property, resources and information.

Your child's school can provide you with more information on their student safety and wellbeing program.

Child abuse or neglect

In the Northern Territory any person who believes a child is being, or has been, abused or neglected is required by law to report their concerns.

The Department of Education takes its moral and legal obligations to care and protect children in its care very seriously. While children are at school, teachers and principals are an integral to child protection and are well placed to establish and provide support.

Read more about child abuse.

Find out how to report child abuse

Sharing information

To protect children, teachers and other service providers are able to share information relating to the safety and wellbeing of a child.

Read more about sharing information to protect children.

Go to policies on the Department of Education website for more information about mandatory reporting of harm and exploitation of children.


Behaviour management for students and parents

All Northern Territory (NT) government schools follow a code of behaviour which sets standards and expectations of behaviour in schools, what is unacceptable behaviour and the consequences that may follow.

Managing behaviour in school

Every school has a behaviour plan based on the code of behaviour and the National Safe Schools Framework.

This is developed in consultation with parents and the school community. It is targeted at:

  • providing the opportunity for all students to learn and teachers to teach
  • ensuring the safety of staff and students
  • assisting students who show unacceptable behaviour to accept responsibility for themselves and their actions.

Go to the Department of Education website for a copy of the code of behaviour.

Unacceptable behaviour

Any extreme behaviour that impacts the safety of students and teachers or disrupts learning is not acceptable. 

Unacceptable behaviour includes all of the following:

  • assault
  • verbal abuse
  • property offences - including theft or damage
  • substance use or possession
  • weapons offences
  • obscene or offensive acts
  • consistent unproductive behaviour that interferes with the wellbeing, safety or educational opportunites of any other student.

Consequences of unacceptable behaviour

Schools have a responsibility to students and staff to provide safe and supportive learning environments, which enable all students to engage in meaningful experiences both in and out of the classroom.

Schools have a range of options available to manage unacceptable behaviour.

Alternative strategies of managing behaviour must be employed before more serious sanctions are issued.

For more information about managing student behaviour go to the Department of Education website.

Unacceptable behaviour of parents

At times parents and carers engage in unacceptable behaviour such as threats or actual violence.

Such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Schools make every effort to listen to the concerns of parents.  However, if the safety of staff is compromised police involvement may occur.

Police in schools

Schools cooperate fully with police to enable them to undertake their duties.

Should police establish that a student is involved in a criminal offence, they will be responsible for conducting any investigation in line with normal police procedure.

Youth Engagement Police Officers

Some schools have Youth Engagement Police Officers (YEPO) working with the school to promote a supportive learning environment and a safer school community.

When police need to make enquiries in relation to criminal activity, where possible the school YEPO will conduct initial enquiries.

Go to policies on the Department of Education website for more about police in schools.