An excursion is an activity organised by a school during which students leave the school grounds to engage in educational activities. Adventure activities are included in this definition regardless of whether they occur outside the school grounds or not.
This includes camps and sport, but does not include work experience.
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 (SAL) NOTE: The SAL should be used by all Victorian schools. Non-government schools should log on using 'NG' for the user ID.
- 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:
- 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
- Suitability of the environment and/or venue for the excursion
- 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
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: 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
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.
- Parents should be advised of possible cancellations or alterations, and 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 must be sufficient staff to provide appropriate and effective supervision
the experience, qualifications and skills of each staff member (including volunteers, instructors, etc) to allow them to provide effective supervision in general and for planned activities (as applicable)
- There must be appropriate levels of supervision in view of the activities undertaken and students involved.
- Public transport should be used if practicable
- Transport authorities should be consulted on 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.
- Staff and students must have appropriate clothing and personal equipment.
- Group or technical equipment must be in good condition and suitable for the activities undertaken.
- Continuous instruction will be provided for students remaining at the school during the absence of staff accompanying the excursion.
- The regional director will be 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 must be communicated.
- 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. The duty of care of the school staff to students cannot be delegated to a third party.
- 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.
To use the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors, see: Excursions and Outdoor Education
To complete the online notification for school activity form - the Student Activity Locator (SAL) - see: Government (and non-government) schools
Or visit the
Emergency Management Portal
The School Activity Locater is also accessible for non-government schools. Contact the helpdesk for a password to access the site. See: Catholic schools