Excursion roles and responsibilities

The page includes important information and checklists for those involved in planning and decision-making for outdoor and adventure excursions.

External providers

External providers may be engaged to deliver specific outdoor or adventure activities or a whole program. They may provide expertise in a certain activity and can form a valuable addition to a program.

Clear and open communication that occurs well in advance of the planned program is the key to an effective and well-informed relationship between a school and an external provider.

Before an external provider is selected to assist with the delivery of a program, a thorough check should be completed by the school to ensure that they are appropriate for the program.

Prior to commencement of a program the school should ensure that the external provider has:

  • a current public liability insurance certificate (minimum $10 million) provided by an APRA approved insurer
  • discussed with the school who has responsibilities for first aid, emergency communications and other specialist equipment
  • demonstrated that staff have the correct qualifications and/or experience for their specific role/s
  • a documented system in place to ensure that students are supervised by either a registered teacher or an approved staff member with a current Working with Children Check
  • ensure that supervision of students is overseen at all times by a staff member of other individual that has a completed Working with Children Check
  • discussed with the school who will be responsible for emergency procedures, and that these are well understood prior to the excursion taking place
  • read the relevant sections of the Department's Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors and understood their obligations under these guidelines.

Program responsibilities

Schools cannot sign 'Waivers of liability' on behalf of students. Regardless of the role of the external provider, schools retain overall responsibility for the program and any activities involving students.

Government schools using residential campsites in Victoria as a venue for their camp or excursion are required to use only accredited campsites. For more information see: School Policy and Advisory Guide - Venue Selection

Accreditation schemes include Australian Camps Association Accreditation, Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP)and National Accommodation, Recreation & Tourism Accreditation

Where not directly responsible for the instruction of the activity or assisting the instructor, the teacher present must understand the activity and the environment in which it will be conducted. This teacher must confer with the designated instructor about the supervisory role and establish areas of responsibility. If the teacher is not the designated instructor he/she is to act on the advice of the designated instructor on technical safety issues.

Parents/guardians

Parents or guardians are required to give informed consent before their child may participate in any school excursion.

Informed consent should be based on an understanding of:

  • the educational purpose of the excursion
  • the nature and details of the excursion
  • the supervision strategy
  • other information deemed relevant by the school or by parents/guardians.

Informed consent must be given in writing, including signatures, by parents or guardians.

See also:

Principals

The principal is responsible for the approval of all non-adventure single-day excursions other than those that must approved by the school council.

Before the program commences the principal should have a copy of all the approval documentation. This includes detailed information that may be needed in an emergency such as:

  • the exact location of the excursion participants at all times, including during travel
  • the relevant telephone number/s through which excursion staff may be contacted in an emergency
  • the names and family contacts for all students and staff
  • copies of the parental consent and medical advice forms of students
  • a copy of the program's emergency response plan

Planning the excursion

To support your planning and to ensure you have met your responsibilities, use the Principal checklist (doc - 71.04kb).

To begin planning your excursion, go to Planning.

Principals must understand the common law responsibilities of school personnel, see: Legal liability.

Read the Emergency and Risk Management policy

School councils

The school council is responsible for the approval of:

  • overnight excursions
  • camps
  • interstate and overseas visits
  • excursions requiring sea or air travel
  • excursions involving weekends or vacations
  • adventure activities.

As part of the approval process the school council should:

  • understand the purpose of the program and its connection to student learning
  • ensure that the staff members attending have the competence to provide the necessary supervision of students throughout the program
  • ensure there is an appropriately trained member of staff able to provide first aid
  • ensure that staff members who are not registered teachers comply with the Working with Children Check, see: Department of Justice - Working with Children Check
  • know the location of staff and students throughout the program including during travel
  • maintain a record of telephone contacts for the supervising staff accompanying the excursion
  • record the names and family contacts for all students and staff
  • have copies of the parental approval and medical advice forms for those students on the excursion
  • maintain a copy of the completed approval proforma (including all attachments) submitted to school council
  • ensure that the Notification of School Activity form is submitted three weeks prior to the excursion (EduMail password required).

The members of the school council may not have detailed knowledge of outdoor and adventure activities. Where further information or advice is required it is recommended that advice be sought from peak bodies and teachers with recent experience instructing the activity. Teachers with such experience can offer an understanding of both the technical requirements and the educational context.

Planning support

More information

If a school council does not have detailed knowledge of an outdoor or adventure activity it is recommended that further information and advice is sought from:

  • Activity peak bodies, see: Resources
  • Teachers with recent experience instructing the activity, who can offer an understanding of both the technical requirements and the educational context.
Read the Emergency and Risk Management policy
Available in the School Policy and Advisory Guide
Teachers

Teachers participating in an excursion should:

  • understand the purpose of the program and its connection to student learning
  • be aware of their supervisory responsibilities throughout the program, see: Excursion support - supervision
  • know who is the nominated member of staff who will provide first aid if required, see: Excursion support - first aid
  • know the exact location of students they are responsible for at all times including during travel.

In addition the nominated teacher-in-charge should:

  • know the exact location of students at all times including during travel
  • maintain a record of telephone contacts for the supervising staff accompanying the excursion
  • know who the school contact person is and their phone number
  • have a copy of the names of family contacts for all students and staff on the excursion
  • have copies of the parental approval and medical advice forms for those students on the excursion
  • maintain a copy of the completed approval proforma (including all attachments) submitted to the school council, see: Approval pro forma (docx - 71.31kb)
  • have submitted, three weeks prior to the excursion, a notification of school activity using the Student Activity Locator

Planning support

The following materials are essential to guiding the planning and approval process:

More information

If a teacher does not have detailed knowledge of and outdoor or adventure activities, it is recommended they seek further information and advice from:

  • Activity peak bodies, see: Resources.
  • Other teachers with recent experience instructing the activity who can offer an understanding of both the technical requirements and the educational context.
Read the Emergency and Risk Management policy
Available in the School Policy and Advisory Guide