School: Student Health

The Principal at a school is given wide powers under the Health Act to have students medically examined and make certain decisions about the student’s health, if they are considered to be at risk to themselves or others at the school.

Infectious Disease

If a student attends school with an infectious disease (e.g. chicken pox, measles, etc.), they may be required to submit to a medical or physical examination by a medical officer or nurse. The Principal may require that student to not attend or participate in educational studies. The parent or responsible adult must be notified.


Failure to comply with the requirement to keep the student from school is an offence.

Can I be required by my school to get medical attention?

If you go to school with a medical condition that needs attention during school, the Principal may consult a medical practitioner on whether the staff are to give attention to that medical condition.


Any student who attends school may be required to submit to a medical or physical examination by a medical officer or nurse and the parents or responsible adult of the child are required to permit such examination. This is a power given to the school under the Health Act.


A student may also be required to submit to a dental examination. This is also a power given to the school under the Health Act.


A parent or responsible adult who refuses to assist their child submit for an examination commits an offence.


Any parent or responsible adult must be notified if the child is in an unclean or verminous condition and be required to remedy the condition. This includes a requirement to keep the student’s hair cut short if this is considered necessary by the health professionals. This requirement can be put in place for up to twelve months.

Head Lice

The Principal of a government school can authorise a member of staff to examine the head of any student at the school to see if head lice are present. If a student refuses to be examined they may be required not to attend school until such time as they are examined or not to participate in educational studies of the school until they are examined.


Parents who refuse to keep their child away from school after receiving notice of their child’s infectious disease, contagious condition or condition otherwise harmful to the health of other persons at school commit an offence.

Personal Hygiene

If a student’s state of hygiene is likely to adversely affect the capacity of the students or staff, the Principal can require the student to clean him/herself or return home for a shower or bath

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Please note: Laws are subject to change. Last updated November 2015.

Important: This general information is not the same as legal advice. You should speak with a lawyer about your situation. The information is based on a Western Australian context.