Excursions and Activities

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Definition

An excursion is an activity organised by a school (not including work experience) during which students leave the school grounds to engage in educational activities (including camps and sport). Adventure activities are included in this definition (regardless of whether they occur outside the school grounds or not).

Policy

Principals are responsible for the conduct of all excursions and must ensure:

  • excursions are planned, approved and conducted in accordance with Department policy and requirements.
  • an online notification of school activity form is completed at least three weeks prior to the activity using the Student Activity Locator
  • compliance with the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors, which are mandatory for excursions requiring school council approval.

Important: Principals, teachers, school councillors and others involved in school excursions, must anticipate the possibility of litigation following an incident or injury. They must be prepared for a detailed examination of their planning, actions and the curriculum role of any activity.

Excursion Planning Requirements

While the degree of planning involved will depend on the risks involved, the conduct of any excursion or activity should take into account the following considerations. 

  • the educational purpose of the excursion and its contribution to the curriculum
  • Department approval requirements for excursions and staff travel
  • maintenance of full records, including documentation of the planning process
  • location and venue selection:
    • the suitability of the environment and/or venue for the excursion
  • emergency and risk management:
    • assessment of excursion risks
    • procedures in the event of an emergency
    • arrangements are in place if the excursion needs to be cancelled, recalled, or altered (for example, due to forecast severe weather conditions, changes to DFAT travel advice, or students returning early due to illness/serious misbehaviour)
    • completion of an online notification of school activity form three weeks prior to the activity using the Student Activity Locator - see Department resources below
    • first aid requirements
  • minimising disruptions or costs to parents in the event of cancellations or alterations:
    • principals should inform parents that any costs associated with the student returning from an excursion early due to illness or serious misbehaviour are the responsibility of the parent:
    • ensure parents are advised of the possibility of cancellations or alterations and of any cancellation fees imposed on the parents by third parties
    • with respect to arrangements between the school and third parties, principals should:
      • carefully negotiate terms and conditions with third parties (e.g. travel agents, travel insurance companies, camp providers, specialist instructors, expedition providers) prior to accepting arrangements
      • ensure the terms of any travel insurance offered to the school by the third party are satisfactory
  • staffing and supervision:
    • there are sufficient staff to provide appropriate and effective supervision
    • the experience, qualifications and skills of each staff member (including volunteers, instructors, etc) will allow them to provide effective supervision in general and for planned activities (as applicable)
    • there are appropriate levels of supervision in view of the activities undertaken and students involved.
  • informed consent from parents or carers
  • adequate student and staff medical information
  • student preparation and behaviour
  • requirements for any adventure activities (these involve greater than normal risk  - there are additional considerations associated with these activities
  • transportation requirements, noting that:
    • public transport should be used if practicable, where transport authorities should be consulted as to appropriate travel times and at least a fortnight’s notice of travel provided
    • excursions that run late, failing to meet times agreed to with private bus operators, are likely to incur significant costs
  • communication requirement
  • that staff and students have appropriate clothing and personal equipmen
  • that group or technical equipment is in good condition and suitable for the activities undertaken
  • that continuous instruction is provided for students remaining at the school during the absence of staff accompanying the excursion
  • that the regional director has been informed if an excursion leaves the school unoccupied
  • any information which has been provided by specialists in the activities proposed
  • requirements for interstate or overseas excursions
  • where external providers have been engaged to deliver specific activities or programs for students, or provide other services, the school retains responsibility for its students, as the duty of care of the school staff to students cannot be delegated to a third party
  • that the excursion meets the requirements of any school-level policy or procedures.

For detailed information on the requirements above see Related policies, and Department resources below.

Related policies

Department resources

For completion of the online notification for school activity form (Student Activity Locator) see the link for government schools below. Or visit the: Emergency Management Portal (Note the SAL is also accessible for non-government schools - contact the helpdesk for a password to access the site).