Q. Are children permitted in the school canteen?

Posted on: June 24th, 2020

Children are not permitted in the canteen; including young children of staff and volunteers, as well as school age children.


  • Check your insurance policy as the majority of canteen/P&C insurance does not cover students or children
  • The canteen is a workplace; under the Occupational Safety and Health Act it is not permissible to introduce a hazard into the workplace. Young children especially would be considered a hazard
  • Hot ovens, cook-tops, boiling water and sharp knives can make the canteen a hazardous place for children
  • Under the Food Standards Code, the canteen must ensure that anyone who is handling food has the skills and knowledge to prepare food safety; young children cannot be expected to have necessary skills in food safety and food hygiene matters.

The only exception to this is students accessing the canteen as part of a supervised school activity linked to the curriculum such as cooking session with teacher supervision; or by special arrangement with canteen staff e.g. VET students may arrange work experience in the canteen. If this is the case in your school, we recommend canteen staff meet with the P&C and principal to make this decision together and determine an implementation plan. Please ensure your canteen policy reflects the schools position on children in the canteen. Sample canteen policy here.

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