Schools, childcare centres and pesticides

Pests can affect schools and childcare facilities just like other types of premises. The NSW Pesticides Act and Regulation provide controls on pesticide use that are directly relevant to managing rodents, insects and other pests in and near schools and childcare centres.

Managing pests in school buildings

All public schools in NSW are covered by a pesticide use notification plan prepared by the NSW Department of Education (DoE) in accordance with Part 5, Division 2 of the Pesticides Regulation 2017.

Private schools manage the use of pesticides individually.

Schools and childcare centres with agricultural plots and kitchen gardens

If you are an employee of an educational facility who personally needs to apply pesticides, for example, you need to apply herbicides or insecticides in an agricultural plot or kitchen garden, you must

There is an exemption for both training and record keeping if the product

  • is available to the general public, and
  • meets the ‘small use’ exemption criteria.

In NSW, you are only allowed to use registered pesticides. All registered pesticides have a label with safety and use instructions which has been approved by the APVMA. You must always read and understand the label instructions before each use of the product, and only use it as directed. Following the directions

  • helps maximise the product’s effectiveness
  • minimises your risk of exposure to the chemical
  • helps protect people, animals, crops and the environment

Note: it is an offence to harm any plant or animal that is not being targeted by the pesticide and any person or property.

It is also very important to store and dispose of chemicals correctly. A registered pesticide must only be stored in a container that has the approved label attached. All chemicals should be stored out of reach of children and animals, ideally in a locked cabinet, and in a way that, should they spill, the spill is immediately contained.

You can dispose of pesticides at a Household Chemical Cleanout. Find one near you.

Receiving notification of pesticide use

Schools, kindergartens and childcare centres come under the definition of a ‘sensitive place’ under the Pesticides Regulation 2017.

If you are a school principal or manage a childcare centre, when a pest management technician is applying pesticides within 20 metres of a shared boundary they must give you a minimum of 5 days’ notice of their intention to spray a pesticide through the air or inject it into the ground.

Notification can be in person or by post, fax, email or telephone. You should ask the pest management technician any questions you have regarding the application and products to be used.

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