Excursion Planning and Approval

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

The planning questions and advice below provide an overview of the issues that should be considered when undertaking detailed planning of an outdoor or adventure-based program.

Planning Summary 

A planning summary may be useful in the initial stages of planning for the proposed excursion or program, and before bookings are made and dates are confirmed. The attached document can be used for this purpose, and may also be used as a final check before the program commences, see:  planning summary (doc - 15.39kb).

It is strongly recommended that school staff obtain the support of the principal for the proposed program before undertaking detailed planning. Once intial support is recieved the detailed planning of the program can begin.

Note: Prior to departure, prepared documentation that might assist with emergency management must be lodged with the principal and the designated 24-hour school contact person.

Planning considerations

Educational purpose

Explain the educational benefits that the students will gain, and how they relate to the school's curriculum. How will you determine what students have gained from the experience?

Location and environment

The location and environment in which an activity is conducted are often the most dynamic elements of the excursion. When planning for an excursion, field trip, camp or outdoor education experience it is critical to consider the following:

  • the educational opportunity this particular environment offers
  • the opportunities, and the specific risks and challenges that are reasonably foreseeable in the environment in which you will be operating
  • how to manage and minimise the impact the program will have on the environment
  • the supervision issues the environment presents
  • the emergency response requirements that will need to be put in place for this particular environment, including specific first aid and/or other equipment required to be able to adequately respond in an emergency
  • whether you or your staff have (recent and thorough) local knowledge about this location and if not: do you or other members of staff have experience in a comparable activity environment, and have you contacted a person with recent activity experience of the proposed location to inform your planning
  • whether the location is remote; if so, what skills and experience does this require of the staff and students

Overnight excursions

  • whether the type of accommodation and location/s have been documented
  • if residential campsites being used are accredited

Activities

Specific guidelines will need to be followed for any adventure activity offered to students, and detailed risk management plans developed. Where there are no specific guidelines ?????....

People

Students

Students must have the capacity to manage the range of challenges that the proposed experience may present. You will need to:

  • prepare students adequately, and provide information to students and parents that will allow for informed consent to be provided
  • develop an effective supervision and instruction framework
  • consider whether students require specific skills or abilities to participate safely in the proposed activity
  • be aware of any difficulties, behaviours or impairments that may hinder a student's participation or present a challenge for supervision or safety of the group

Staff

Will a registered teacher either employed by the Department or endorsed by the school council be present and have overall responsibility for the activity?

Do all staff comply/satisfy relevant suitability checks, including a Working with Children Check

Experience and qualifications

Do staff providing the instruction and supervision for each element of the program have the required qualifications, skills or experience?

Will assisting staff be able to assume a supervisory role during the activity?

Do the assisting staff have the ability to participate competently in emergency response procedures?

Are the required qualifications, skills and experience documented?

Supervision

Has a detailed supervision strategy been established for all activities and for non-programmed periods in the excursion?

Are all staff aware of their specific supervision responsibilities?

How will students be supervised during each part of the program, including free-time and any overnight periods?

Communication

What is the communication strategy within the group for day-to-day operations?

What is the communication strategy in the event of an emergency?

What limitations does the chosen communication strategy have in the location/s you will use?

Weather

What are the common weather features of the environment in the season that you will be visiting?

Has a weather forecast been obtained prior to the excursion? One day prior? One week prior?

Will you be able to obtain weather forecasts during the excursion

Transport

Transport arrangements should comply with the School Policy and Advisory Guide - Transporting Students and VicRoads regulations, see: School Policy and Advisory Guide - Transporting Students and VicRoads regulations

How will students be transported to, from and during the excursion?

Are all drivers appropriately licenced and experienced?

Will the group be travelling in an area requiring a Hazardous Areas Authority?

Equipment group and technical


Is any specialist equipment required for the program activities, or emergency management?

What hazards does the equipment present?

How will you ensure that all group equipment you consider essential is present and appropriate?

Clothing and personal equipment

Do members of the group require any specific clothing or equipment for the activities or location?

Have students been given a suggested clothing and equipment list?

How will you ensure that appropriate clothing and equipment is available on the program?

Informed consent


Has informed consent been obtained from parents/guardians?

First aid

What first aid qualifications do staff currently hold?

Are those qualifications appropriate for the location and nature of the activities being undertaken?

Will a first aid kit stocked appropriately for the location and student group be readily available throughout the program?

Given the group's location and communication strategy, can medical care and treatment be obtained within a reasonable period of time in the event of an emergency?

Approval process

For an excursion requiring school council approval the approval proforma must be completed and submitted to the school council before the excursion can proceed.

The teacher-in-charge of an excursion requiring school council approval must complete the approval pro forma (docx - 71.31kb).

The pro forma details the minimum requirements for approval and should be submitted to the principal.

Three weeks prior to the excursion teachers must also submit a notification of school activity using the Student Activity Locator  online form (secure website). 

More information

For more information to guide the approval process, see: