Excursions and Adventure Activities

Definitions

Excursions are activities organised by the school where the students:

  • are taken out of the school grounds (for example, a camp, day excursion, school sports);
  • undertake adventure activities, regardless of whether or not they occur outside the school grounds;
  • Attend school 'sleep-overs' on school grounds.

Camps are excursions involving at least one night's accommodation (including school sleep-overs).

Local excursions are excursions to locations within walking distance of the school and do not involve 'Adventure Activities'.

For a definition of adventure activities, refer to Adventure Activities in Related policies.

Note: workplace learning and intercampus travel are not considered school excursions.

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 (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, (including risk management planning), actions and the curriculum role of any activity.

Excursion Planning Requirements

While the degree of planning involved will depend on the nature and likelihood of 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 excursion records, including clear 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
  • Adequate student preparation and clear behaviour expectations
  • The importance of providing an inclusive excursion experience for all students, including students with disabilities and additional needs
  • Requirements for any adventure activities (these involve greater than normal risk - there are additional considerations associated with these activities)
  •  Appropriate educational programs and supervision for students not participating in the excursion and remaining at school.

Emergency and risk management

  • Assessment of excursion risks and appropriate risk minimisation strategies
  • 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

  • Principals should consider the appropriate level of experience, qualifications and skills required of staff members (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.

Transportation requirements

  • If using public transport 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.

Other requirements

  • Communication requirements and equipment
  • Obtain up-to-date advice and any necessary approvals/permits from relevant organisations/authorities. For example, when planning a field trip keep informed about the location conditions, and submit a group activity statement to Parks Victoria one month prior to the visit.
  • Staff and students must have appropriate clothing and personal equipment.
  • Group or technical equipment must be in good condition and suitable for the activities undertake.
  • Appropriate educational programs and supervision will be provided for students remaining at the school during the absence of staff accompanying the excursion
  • The regional director must be informed in advance if an excursion will leave 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. 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.

Related policies

Department resources

To use the Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors, see: Excursions and Outdoor Education

To complete the online notification for school activity form - access the Student Activity Locator (SAL) or visit the Emergency Management Portal 

The SAL is also accessible for Catholic schools. Contact the helpdesk for a password to access the site. See: Catholic schools