Transporting Children: Centre-Based Services

​This page includes information for centre-based services on managing transport for children.

When an education and care service manages transport for children they must make it clear:

  • ​whether the arrangements are part of the provision of education and care
  • or whether the arrangement is separate from​ education and care, and the operation of the service.

Depending on the arrangements different regulatory requirements apply. In either case the service has a common law duty of care.

​ This page is current as of 16 October 2017.

Requirements

These requirements must be met at all times:

must be met at all times that children are being educated and cared for in an education and care service. This includes ensuring that:

  • every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and from any hazard likely to cause injury (section 167)
  • all children are adequately supervised at all times that children are in the care of the service (section 165)
  • the relevant number of educators is no less than the number prescribed for this purpose (section 169).

Following these requirements will make​ sure you're compliant under these laws:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2011 (National Law)​
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations

You must have policies and procedures in place that adequately address the additional risks when services are transporting children. This can be either as part of the service during an excursion or where children are transported to the service, for example by school bus.

Where children are attending an excursion, particular attention to the regular monitoring of the children in attendance is required to ensure all children are accounted for, especially during transition times.

Children’s presence should be checked against an accurate attendance record.  Where children travel independently to a service, including on a school bus, it is important that if a child is expected to attend the service, and they do not arrive as expected, the service follows up appropriately.

Providing transport as part of the education and care service

The requirements of the national regulations relating to staffing arrangements must be met at all times that education and care is being provided to children, including when transport is provided as part of the education and care service. This includes meeting the relevant educator to child ratios and qualifications requirements.

At least one educator who holds the following qualifications must be in attendance at any place where children are being educated and cared for by the service, and must be immediately available in an emergency, at all times that children are being educated and cared for by the service:

  • at least one educator who holds a current approved first aid qualification
  • at least one educator who has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training
  • at least one educator who has undertaken approved emergency asthma management training (regulation 136(1)).

If the delivery or collection of children is considered part of the education and care provided to children, this is considered to be an excursion and all requirements of the National Law and National Regulations must also be met. More information is available in the fact sheet Supervision

Policies and procedures

Services must have policies and procedures in place as prescribed in regulation 168. Every reasonable precaution must be taken to protect children from harm and any hazard likely to cause injury.

Policies and procedures that may need to reflect the arrangements for transporting children include:

  • The delivery and collection of children policy, which must include procedures to ensure compliance with the requirements for children leaving the education and care premises as part of an excursion (regulation 99(4)(c)). 
  • The excursion policy, which must include procedures for conducting a risk assessment before an excursion (regulations 100), the matters to be considered in conducting the risk assessment (regulation 101) and the authorisations required for the excursion (regulation 102).

Services must ensure these policies and procedures include strategies for monitoring and accounting for children on excursions, that include regularly monitoring children in attendance to ensure they are accounted for at all times. Services should ensure children’s presence is always checked against an accurate attendance record.

Providing transport that is not part of the education and care service

Where transport is provided that is not directly part of the education and care service, a parent or authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record needs to provide a written authorisation to allow the children to leave the education and care service premises.

A child who is being educated and cared for by the service must not leave the service unless the child:

  • is given into the care of  
    -  a parent of the child
    -  an authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record
    -  a person authorised by a parent or authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record to collect the child from the premises
  • leaves the premises in accordance with the written authorisation of the child’s parent or authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record.

The person responsible for the collection of children from the service would need to be authorised (regulation 99(4)).

In addition, the child’s record of attendance must record the time that the child arrives or departs the education and care service and must be signed by the nominated supervisor, an educator or the person delivering or collecting the child (regulation 158).

Parents of the children being transported to and from the service should be made aware of the policies for delivery and collection of children and excursions and must be notified of any changes to the policy (regulation 172). 

Whatever the arrangements made for the transportation of children, the relevant criminal history requirements must be met. Further information is available at: Who needs a check?

Where transportation is provided that is not part of the education and care service, for example on a charter bus, school bus, or as part of the School Bus Program , services must ensure the policies and procedures for the delivery and collection of children and excursions include the following information:

  • the roles and responsibilities of parents, the service and educators
  • procedures for ensuring children are safely delivered to and collected from the transportation provided, including accounting for each child and recording children’s arrival and departure at the service (regulation 158).
  • communication protocols between the parents and the service where a child does not arrive at the service or at home at the expected time or where a child expected to be transported but is not travelling on a particular day
  • arrangements for children being transported for the first time.

Rural and regional Victoria

Families in rural and regional Victoria with children who have turned four years of age may use the School Bus Program to transport their children to and from the education and care service. This transport is not directly provided as part of the education and care service. The School Bus Program has specific requirements for education and care services and for families accessing the School Bus Program. 

Other considerations

Educators and staff members may need to consider other safety requirements when transporting children. For example, the number of children that can be safely transported by a vehicle should not be exceeded. VicRoads advises that everyone travelling in a motor vehicle must use a child restraint, booster seat or seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened. Certain exceptions may apply to buses; further information is available at: Seat belts and child restraints 

Persons who transport children should hold a current Australian driver’s licence.

It is recommended that services seek independent legal advice and any other relevant advice to clarify their legal obligations, including insurance requirements.