5.1 NAG 5.1 Safe Physical and Emotional Environment

Updated: 30.1.19

P&P No: 5.1

Safe Physical and Emotional Environment

Visitors to the School

All visitors to the school must sign in at the school office, upon signing in visitors must give their reason for being onsite. Where appropriate the office will give visitors to the school a safety briefing about activities happening on site and any potential hazards they may encounter while on school property.

Risk Management


  • To ensure that individuals are aware of and have considered in their arrangements any risks associated with activities both inside and outside the classroom.
  • To assist staff and students to be safe in the knowledge of what to do in an emergency.


  • At the start of each year, Risk Management Forms must be completed for each regular activity that is undertaken by the class which occurs outside the classroom i.e. swimming, RDA, attendance at STAR courses, being transported to venues.
  • Risk Management Forms should also be completed to ensure staff and students are able to effectively respond to medical emergencies and to challenging behaviours.
  • These forms must also be completed before any education outside the classroom commences.

Emergency Contact Details

  • In case of accident or emergencies it is important to be able to contact the parents/caregivers of students quickly.
  • In order to ensure details are current, contact detail forms will be sent to parents/caregivers at the start of each year by the regional office to update contact details.
  • Parents/caregivers will be asked to nominate a second contact person in case we are not able to contact the first person given on the form.
  • These forms will be copied for the class file, and then handed into the office.
  • At the beginning of each term teachers will contact parents/caregivers to confirm the details. Teachers show this by signing and dating the form again with a comment such as “checked by phone”.

Civil Defence (CD) Emergencies Emergency Drills


  • To ensure that all staff and pupils are able to cope with an emergency such as fire or earthquake.
  • To provide a set of basic guidelines to ensure that the safety of the pupils is paramount.


  • Staff must ensure their own safety, so they can help others after an emergency has occurred.
  • The Class Teachers are responsible for regular fire and earthquake evacuations and drills.
  • Satellite Classes will follow the procedures of their Host Schools.
  • Transition Class procedures will be set with the Regional Manager in order to fit the various premises the class uses.
  • At 1 Poynter Place, the CD bucket is to be kept in the Staffroom.
  • The regional office will ensure that supplies in the CD bucket are renewed regularly.
  • Visual supports may assist student understanding of the process. (Note that these supports can not be ‘mass-produced’ for the whole organisation as they need to be tailored for the students concerned.)

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse


  • To protect students from physical, psychological or sexual abuse occurring in the first instance.
  • To prevent physical, psychological or sexual abuse from continuing to occur.


  • A Staff member who suspects abuse, or has concerns that some actions are approaching becoming abusive, MUST firstly report their suspicions to the nearest available senior manager.
  • No one should attempt to interview the student, as this can be difficult and can confuse the issues for other more appropriate agencies.
  • Any complaint that involves suspicions/allegations of abuse, whether physical, emotional, sexual or verbal, must be treated with the utmost seriousness.
  • The senior manager informed above MUST take these concerns to their Regional Manager, who will also inform the Principal.
  • The Regional Manager, in consultation with the Principal, will report these concerns to the Health Nurse, CYPS or the Police.
  • The Regional Manager, in consultation with the Principal, will liaise with these agencies, and be guided by their advice on how to proceed.
  • Where any staff member is the subject of any complaint that alleges actions that could constitute abuse the Principal must be informed and the Principal will contact New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) in the first instance. NZSTA’s advice will be followed in dealing with the issue, it may be also be necessary after seeking advice from NZSTA for the staff member to be removed from duty on full pay while the investigation occurs.
  • Further guidance on dealing with allegations of abuse are contained in NAG 3.
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that until these allegations are investigated, the child will not be in a situation where abuse could occur while the investigations are under way.
  • Interviewing the child will only be done by Oranga Tamariki or the NZ Police not by the school as these organisations have people with specialized training to do this.

Student Disclosure of Abuse

People with an intellectual disability have been known to experience all forms of abuse, including sexual abuse, at higher rates than the rest of the population.

Without adequate sex education and an understanding of protective behaviours, they may also be at increased risk of sexually transmissible infections and unplanned pregnancy.

Some of the reasons for this increased risk include:

  • Lack of knowledge about sexual issues.
  • Misinformation about sex from peers, rather than other reliable sources.
  • Lack of intellectual ability to understand the changes happening to their bodies.
  • Misplaced trust in others due to increased dependence on others for assistance.
  • A tendency to be overly compliant, particularly those children requiring a high level of support.
  • Lack of assertiveness training or skills.
  • An overprotected lifestyle and limited social contact.

Some students may not verbally disclose abuse. However, staff need to be aware that changes in behaviour may also indicate recent acts of abuse. These changes in behaviour cover a wide range, and may include anger and aggression, sexualized talk and behaviour, withdrawal etc. Behavioural changes must be monitored. It is important to keep records of incidents of such behaviour so that staff can look for antecedents, possible triggers etc. If a student’s behaviours change very rapidly, staff need to at least consider whether abuse may be the cause.

Staff also need to be aware that these changes in behaviour may have other causes as well. Some sexualised behaviours are normal at different stages.

If a student discloses abuse, or if staff think that a student’s behaviours indicate abuse has occurred, the guidelines above around “Reporting Child Abuse” need to be followed.

Communicable or Contagious Conditions


  • To ensure that students and staff are not exposed to communicable or contagious diseases unnecessarily.


  • When providing any sort of care to a student/person which may result in physical contact with blood, faeces, urine, or other bodily fluid staff must wear disposal gloves of an appropriate quality. This must be done regardless of whether the staff member is aware of a communicable or contagious condition being present or not.
  • Follow the recommendations of the School Health Nurses, Medical Professionals and Public Health Officer.
  • Satellite Classes also need to follow the procedures of the Host School where events occur outside of the satellite itself.

Healthy Living


  • To ensure that all students are aware of their bodies needs, and how they can maintain a healthy life style.


  • Staff are encouraged to assist students to begin to take responsibility for their own diet, exercise, sleep patterns and medical interventions as and when possible.
  • Students who have impaired mobility and are in wheelchairs require regular changes in position and posture to help with respiration. Students should be involved in these transitions as much as they are able.
  • Students with weight issues should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet and partake in regular physical exercise.

Sun Safety


  • To teach and model for students sun safe behaviours.


  • Wear appropriate hats and clothing for outdoor activities.
  • Ask parents/caregivers to send in named hats and sunscreen in summer, and for school trips.
  • When a hat is part of a host school uniform, Arahunga will provide the appropriate hat for the student.
  • Seek shade for any outdoor activities wherever possible.
  • Provide positive reinforcement for students who wear sunhats and sunscreen.
  • Reduce outside activities between 11 am and 3 pm in summer.


  • If a student requires medication at any Arahunga site, a permission form needs to be completed.
  • A recording form will be filled in each time medicine is administered.
  • Medication will be kept in a locked cupboard or drawer on site.
  • Details of student medication needs will be requested at the beginning of each term to ensure that this information is up-to-date.
  • Parents/caregivers will be asked to complete the form with the word “no meds required” and date it even if the student does not have medication, so we have a record that this has been checked.
  • There must be three days supply of each students regular medication available on site at all times in the appropriate secure location, whether or not this is usually given on site, as in the event of a Civil Defence Emergency this may be needed.
  • The three days supply of medication will have expiry dates checked by the classroom teachers at the commencement of each term to ensure it has not expired.
  • Letters to medical professionals explaining this need for emergency medication can be provided on request.

Transfer of Students

Safety for students and staff is paramount at Arahunga. Appropriate support and guidance to ensure safe transfer practices are utilised and is important for the safety and well-being of all and to ensure risks are minimised.


  • Ensure that students and staff are safe when transferring or mobilising.
  • Risks of transferring students are minimised.

Guidelines and Procedures:

  • No staff are to transfer students until they have completed the orientation training and reviewed the Manual Handling Guidelines (sometimes referred to as the Manual Handling Plan) with the therapists.
  • All staff have basic training in Manual Handling as part of their orientation. The information is available for staff to access on the team drive. Staff are expected to review this information for themselves and sign off when completed.
  • All students that require specific Manual Handling will have individualised Manual Handling Guidelines updated annually and/or following. significant a event and/or change in mobility by the Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist. This is attached to their student profile.
  • Teaching staff are responsible for ensuring their teacher aides have access to this document.
  • All staff working in classes/units for students with Manual Handling Guidelines will have 1:1 support to ensure they understand and are able to complete the transfers safely. This is completed by the Physiotherapist and/or Occupational Therapist. This will include training in hoists and transfers for individual students.
  • Any reports of undue strain or injury from transfers are to be documented on etap.
  • Any difficulties with transfers or moving of students without current Manual Handling Guidelines should be referred to the school Physiotherapist for review.

Accidents & Sickness

Minor Accident/Sickness

  • Parent/Caregiver advised in home/school note book or via text message when appropriate.
  • Treatment/rest at school under supervision of allocated staff.
  • Contact with parents must be made before the evening by the classroom teacher.
  • Staff who are sick or have a minor accident must report this to Arahunga office the same day and where an accident has occurred fill in the workplace accident register as appropriate.

Serious Accident/Sickness

  • Student is made comfortable at school.
  • Contact to be made with parents/caregivers, and/or Doctor / Hospital Emergency Department.
  • Student to be removed by parent/caregiver or staff or ambulance depending on severity and need.
  • The appropriate Regional Manager should always be notified of accidents and/or sickness.
  • A report of any accident, requiring contact with parents, doctor or hospital treatment should be completed by the attending teacher. Completed reports are to be handed to the Office Administrator.
  • Contact with parents must be made as soon as safely possible by the classroom teacher.
  • Serious accidents or events requiring significant first aid response involving staff must be reported as soon as practicably possible, within the day of the incident, at the Arahunga staff office.
  • Serious accidents or events requiring significant first aid response involving staff will be referred immediately to medical professionals where appropriate and recorded next of kin informed.

First Aide Kits 

  • Each class will hold a first aide kit.
  • It is the class teachers’ responsibility to ensure that supplies in the first aide kit are appropriate and up-to-date. Requests for updated supplies can be made directly to the Office Administrator.
  • A first aide kit will also be held at all times in each of Arahunga’s vehicles.
  • The office will ensure that supplies in the first aide kits in Arahunga vehicles are appropriate and up-to-date.
  • First aide kits must accompany classes/students on any trips.

Sexual Harassment

  • Harassment whether sexual, verbal, or physical is unacceptable.
  • The BOT/Principal will consider any complaints of harassment sympathetically and seriously and will ensure the person making the complaint is not subjected to victimization.
  • Complaints of harassment will be dealt with as outlined under “Complaints and Concerns” in NAG 3.


Vehicle safety

  • All vehicles that are used to transport staff and students must have current registration and a current Vehicle Inspection Certificate, whether they are Arahunga or personal vehicles.
  • Staff are expected to notify the Office Administrator directly of any safety concerns that are raised with any school vehicle.
  • See NAG 3 for details on claiming mileage when using a staff vehicle to transport students.

Driver Requirements

  • Anyone transporting students must produce a current and appropriate license.
  • There is to be no cell phone use by the driver when a vehicle is in motion.
  • Only paid staff members and Board members are allowed to drive Arahunga owned or leased vehicles.
  • The driver is responsible for ensuring that all people carried in the vehicle are secure.

Student Safety

  • All students must wear seat belts. Students will be assisted to secure seatbelts if necessary.
  • The number of seatbelts in a vehicle dictates the number of students who can be transported.
  • Special harnesses are supplied for use in vans with very small students, under 32 kg. These must be used when appropriate.
  • If a student larger than 32 kg requires a special harness or restraint, parents/caregivers will be asked to provide this.
  • All wheelchairs must be securely anchored and have their brakes on.
  • If a student removes their seatbelt while the vehicle is moving, the driver must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • The school must be assured by the transport providers that all drivers transporting Arahunga students have not been involved in /prosecuted for any known physical/sexual abuse offences.
  • Students must not be left unattended at their destination under any circumstances. It is the drivers responsibility to ensure that the student is handed over to a suitable adult.
  • If there is no adult in attendance, the driver must contact the point of departure, or contact the School Office. The school office phone number is 06 348 7139.
  • In a medical emergency, drivers should pull over and summon an ambulance for assistance.

Handling and Storage of Food


  • To ensure hygienic practices are followed, and taught.



  • Food should be covered if on table or in the fridge.
  • Hands must be washed before food is served to anyone.
  • All staff are to put dishes in the dishwasher.
  • The dishwasher must be used in order to sterilise dishes.


  • If food preparation and handling is not part of the lesson, all students must learn safe food procedures before starting the lesson.
  • When food is prepared or shared in a classroom, all students and staff members must wash their hands before touching food.


  • Hygiene is of the utmost importance.
  • All staff assisting a student to eat must follow good hygiene practice relating to food handling.
  • Staff and student hands must be washed both before and after eating/feeding.
  • Gloves should be used if the staff member assisting is likely to be exposed to body fluids.
  • The staff member assisting the student is responsible for cleaning up any spilt food.

Animal Welfare

  • All living creatures are entitled to 5 freedoms under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, amended in 2002. Please refer to those documents.
  • Any living creature that is on school premises, or is being used as part of a planned teaching and learning programme, is also entitled to these freedoms.
  • Staff must actively ensure that such creatures in their care are able to exercise these freedoms.
  • Students will be actively taught to care for living creatures in a humane way and to have a knowledge of these freedoms.

Code of Conduct


  • The Code of Conduct is a guide to the expected professional standard of behaviour at Arahunga, including such things as privacy.


  • To be signed by all staff at the beginning of each year.
  • To be signed by new staff and volunteers before they commence at the school.

Complaints and Concerns

  • Complaints and concerns are welcomed, in as much as they assist us to improve our communication and services.
  • Complaints should be dealt with at the lowest possible level.
  • The person making the complaint should always be offered and allowed to have an accompanying support person.
  • Parents should discuss concerns etc. with Class Teachers first.
  • If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, the person with the concern should take the problem to the next person up the chain, until satisfied with the response or outcome of the concern expressed.
  • This process is the same as that outlined in the documentation forNAG 3.
  • The provisions of the Protected Disclosure Act 2000 also apply in this area. Please see Arahunga’s Protected Disclosures Procedures.

Voluntary Personnel

Voluntary personnel must:

  • Sign the Code of Conduct.
  • Undergo a police check before they are able to volunteer at the school.
  • Follow all instructions of the supervising staff member.
  • Not be left alone with students.

Medical Emergencies


  • Staff must be able to act quickly and effectively in the case of a medical emergency.


  • Each class must have at least one staff member who has a First Aide qualification.
  • Each class must have a process by which student’s emergency medications, such as adrenalin injections for anapheleptic shock or Diazepam to stop seizures, are taken with the student when the student is off-site.
  • Staff are expected to call an ambulance when a seizure, even in a person who is known to be epileptic, continues for over 5 minutes.
  • In a medical emergency, drivers should pull over and summon an ambulance for assistance.
  • Accidents should be recorded both in the Host School Accident Register and in the Arahunga Accident Incident Register at the regional office, with a duplicate copy being placed on the students file in the classroom, and a copy given to the office
  • Any student who receives a blow to the head should be taken to A&E for a thorough check-up.
  • A list of student personal and medical (including prescribed medication) requirements must be kept in the classroom in a place that is easily accessible, as this information will be required by the Hospital.
  • A staff member must accompany a student in the ambulance, and remain with the student until parents/caregivers arrive.
  • When a student has a medical emergency, parents/caregivers must be contacted as soon as possible, and asked to meet staff at the Hospital.
  • Staff of Satellite classes should ring their Line Manager directly to ask for extra assistance for the supervision of the rest of the class if required.

Non-custodial Parent Access


Non-custodial parents sometimes visit schools or education centres to ask for access to their child/children. This procedure is designed to help Arahunga’s staff members comply with all legal requirements while ensuring that students continue to feel secure and suffer no ill effects


  • Arahunga staff members will comply with legal requirements.
  • Parents, guardians or caregivers who are legally entitled may have access to students, provided the class teacher or regional office is informed beforehand, and provided the access does not negatively affect the student’s education.
  • Where there has been a court order determining legal custody and rights of access, parents, guardians or caregivers are required to inform the regional office of this order in advance of the student attending.
  • Solicitors representing students may have reasonable access, provided identification and authority are provided. This must be approved by the Regional Manager or Principal.
  • Officers of the Court and Young People’s support Services may have reasonable access to students provided identification is provided and reasonable cause is established with the Regional Manager or Principal.
  • In cases where custody and access have been determined by law, people requiring access to students must show the written authority to the Regional Manager or Principal in advance of that access. A copy of the written authority is to be held with the student’s records in the regional office, and a copy given to the class teacher.
  • Any non-custodial parent who does not have the written authority will not be allowed access to their children.
  • Bona fide parents and guardians, whether or not they are living with the student, are entitled to access appropriate student reports and parent interviews.
  • Where guardians are living separately, copies of the student’s written reports regarding achievements and progress will be supplied if requested.
  • Arahunga’s Regional Managers and Principal have the right to determine whether interested people may be offered separate interviews.
  • The issues of access are confidential to the Regional Manager, Principal and appropriate staff members.

Crisis Management Plan

Each class has Risk Management Forms that outline the thinking of each class teacher around possible crisis within the classroom (such as a student going missing, or how to manage playground supervision) and while on trips.

Each of these Risk management forms outlines the risks, preventative measures and actions to take if things go wrong. Despite every one’s best efforts, however, things can still go wrong. Generally, these actions (The Plan) will include making contact with the appropriate Regional Manager and regional office for assistance or advice. Assistance can take many forms:

  • It might involve contacting Police or parents.
  • It might include sending staff around to help with supervision of uninvolved students while class staff are managing the crisis.
  • The regional office will become the communications hub during the crisis and will offer assistance as above.

Traumatic Incident Plan


International research defines traumatic incidents as events that:

  • Involve destruction of property.
  • Include injury or loss of life.
  • Affect communities.
  • Are shared by many children and families.

They are also viewed as being out of the realm of ‘normal’ human experience, meaning that they can lead to or result in stress. Recent literature also refers to traumatic incidents as events that receive considerable attention in the media, i.e. motor vehicle accidents, residential fires and community violence. In the case of an incident of this kind, normal crisis management procedures or procedures for emergencies will apply. However, it is expected that some additional out of the ordinary responses will also be required, including counselling and assistance with handling the media. In this case, the Ministry of Education’s Traumatic Incident Team may be contacted for advice and guidance by a member of the Executive Team.

Guidance Counselling

All students will receive guidance counselling from teaching staff and this information and insight will also contribute to student IEPs wherever possible.

When necessary the Executive Team will arrange for outside specialists in the field of guidance counselling to be contracted to assist students.

Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol

Arahunga, its locations, buildings and vehicles are all designated smokefree areas.

Arahunga, its locations, buildings and vehicles are all designated illicit-drugfree areas. Prescription medicines may be administered where necessary provided the following procedures are followed:

  • All avenues to avoid administering medicine on site are explored.
  • If a student is taking the medicine a legal guardian’s permision must be received in writing.
  • If an adult is taking the medicine and they are of sound mind they are responsible for administering their own medicine. (Otherwise the clause above for students applies to adults here also.)
  • Correct medical procedures and advice for the administration of medicine must be followed.
  • All medicines administered on an Arahunga site, in an Arahunga vehicle or when a person is in the care of Arahunga, must be recorded in a ledger, which must be made available to the Health and Safety committee’s representative and when required members of the Executive Team.
  • Legal guardians must be fully informed of all medicine administered.

Alcohol may not be consumed on Arahunga property during school hours.

Alcohol may never be consumed by minors on Arahunga property.

Staff are requested to be mindful of Arahunga’s image and their position as role models to our students when consuming alcohol in any environment.

Review Cycle: Within 3 Years.

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