Excursions Policy

School excursions are structured learning experiences provided by, or under the auspices of, the school which are conducted external to the school site. They can pose risks. The policy and procedures are directed at managing such risks.

Changes since previous version

16 October 2019 – updated contact details and made minor style changes.

Superseded Documents

This policy replaces Excursions and Other Visits (97/137), 16 June 1997, Excursions policy PD/2004/0010 v001
Excursions policy PD/2004/0010 v002 and
Excursions policy -  PD/2004/0010/V003

Document History

14 March 2016 – updated main contact details.

Inclusion of excursions involving preschool children and the applicability of the Children’s Services Regulation 2004
New advice on film screenings and live performances in the context of revisions to the Controversial Issues in Schools Policy
Advice on child protection issues relating to excursions to courts where the potential for students to be placed at risk of harm by being exposed to violent or sexually explicit evidentiary material.
Further direction on excursion consent forms relating to the need to clarify parental wishes and consent
Incorporation of Commonwealth Government initiatives relating to overseas excursions
Advice on reporting of incidents occurring while on excursions in context of the revised Incident Reporting Policy and Procedures

  1. Policy statement
    1. Determining the educational value of an excursion must take account of the needs and resources of the school, the needs of the students and the total learning program.
    2. Excursions are inclusive, and all students within the specific learning group are to be given the opportunity to participate.
    3. A duty of care is owed to students in the school environment and while on excursions.
    4. The department's duty of care owed to students for the duration of an excursion cannot be delegated from the school to parents, caregivers, volunteers or employees of external organisations.
    5. The obligation to report suspected risk of harm to children and young people applies throughout all stages of an excursion, as it does in schools.
    6. A risk assessment is to be conducted and a risk management plan developed before seeking approval for any excursion.
    7. Signed consent forms granting permission for students to participate in excursions and a medical information form are to be obtained from parents or caregivers.
    8. Safe transport or a safe walking route is to be organised for excursions.
    9. Students must behave appropriately at all times while on excursions, including when animals are encountered.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. This policy applies to all schools.
    2. Residential high schools are subject to specific additional procedures with regard to students in residence.
    3. Education and training units in Juvenile Justice Centres are subject to additional specific protocols.
    4. Excursions involving preschool children are subject to specific protocols under the Children’s Services Regulation 2004 (See implementation procedures for details).
    5. Regular weekly school sport is not regarded as an excursion but is subject to operational and consent procedures.
    6. Visits by sporting teams and performers arranged and conducted by state office units and regional bodies are not regarded as excursions but are subject to specific health, safety and welfare procedures.
  3. Context
    1. The department is committed to providing a safe, secure, disciplined and quality learning environment in which students can develop their individual talents, interests and abilities through a curriculum that fosters the intellectual, physical, social and moral development of the student. Excursions are part of quality teaching and learning programs.
    2. Excursions are a valuable teaching and learning vehicle, often integral to quality curriculum delivery in that they provide access to teaching content and learning experiences not available at the school.
    3. School excursions vary in terms of the curriculum focus, the students involved, the duration of the excursion and the excursion venue(s). The student group participating in the excursion may be a class or classes or students drawn from a number of classes. They may be, for example, a team, a performance group or an audience for a performance. An excursion can range from a brief visit of less than one hour to a local point of interest, to an extended journey occupying a number of days or weeks requiring overnight or long term accommodation.
    4. Some excursions involve overseas travel. Particular additional mandatory procedures relate to such excursions.
    5. Workplace learning is not covered by this policy. See implementation procedures.
    6. The department will not accept responsibility for privately arranged tours.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. A school excursion is initiated, organised and supervised by a school and approved by the principal and, when more than one school is involved, the principals of all participating schools.
    2. Overseas excursions must have the endorsement of the principal and, when more than one school is involved, the principals of all participating schools. In addition, overseas excursions must be approved by the executive director, school performance on the recommendation of the director, educational leadership.
    3. The department's duty of care owed to students for the duration of an excursion cannot be delegated from the school to parents, caregivers, volunteers or employees of external organisations.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. Directors, educational leadership are required to monitor school compliance with this policy.
    2. Schools are to regularly review and update their procedures for the safe conduct of excursions on the basis of implementation experience, systemic and locally produced risk profiles and the evaluation of teaching and learning outcomes.
    3. Principals are to report controversial issues or incidents occurring while staff and students are on excursions, consistent with the Incident Notification and Response Policy.
    4. For accounting and financial reporting requirements see Excursions Policy Implementation Procedures.
  6. Contact
    1. Director, School Policy and Information Management
      02 7814 3870
Return to top of page Back to top