Directions for planning and managing excursions, including incursions and other variations of routine

Changes since previous version

2023 Oct 16 updated language and links in the policy statement and implementation document to reflect changes to the WHS Risk Management Procedures and supporting resources.

Document history

2022 Oct 10 - updated contact details in policy statement and link to the Behaviour code for students. Updated the implementation document, Excursion Planning and Management, to reflect updates to the Student Behaviour policy and Inclusive Education policy. Also updated links (for risk assessment, Working with Children Check and overseas excursion website), clarified parent requirements in relation to car travel (4.2), anaphylaxis (6.2) and supervisory responsibilities (7.1). Updated information about COVID-19 requirements (1.1.4, 9.1, 11.1.3 and 13.3.3).

2022 Jul 18 - updated contact details in policy statement and implementation document, Excursion Planning and Management.

2022 May 18 - updated links in implementation document, Excursion Planning and Management, to reflect revision of the Working with Children Check forms (sections 2.1.1, 7.1 and appendix 2).

2022 Mar 07 - update to policy statement and implementation document: Excursion Planning and Management - revised overseas excursions application and approval process, including introducing a common application pack for all department schools; clarified instructions to staff in relation to privately arranged tours; more explicit instructions relating to risk management, child protection and safety, and refund of unspent excursion money. Updated related documents.

2019 Oct 16 - updated contact details and made minor style changes.

2016 Mar 14 - 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

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

  1. Policy statement
    1. Excursions are part of quality teaching and learning programs. School excursions are structured learning experiences provided or managed by the school, conducted on or external to the school site, as determined by the principal. Incursions are a type of excursion, conducted on the school site.
    2. Excursions provide educational value by supporting curriculum outcomes, in consideration of the needs and resources of the school, the needs of the students and the total learning program.
    3. Excursions are inclusive. All students within a specific learning group are to be given the opportunity to participate, unless exceptional circumstances exist.
    4. The department has a duty of care to students while on excursions and this duty cannot be delegated to any third party or organisation.
    5. Identifying and assessing risk needs to be integrated into excursion planning to ensure appropriate risk management strategies are developed. An approved risk assessment must be implemented at all stages of an excursion.
    6. The obligation to report suspected risk of harm to children and young people applies throughout all stages of an excursion.
    7. Schools require the following from parents and carers before an excursion takes place. Translated documents are provided where required:
      1. permission for students to participate in excursions, including activities during an excursion
      2. a medical information form.
    8. The Behaviour code for students (PDF 83 KB) applies at all times while on excursions.
    9. Additional mandatory procedures apply to excursions that involve overseas travel.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All NSW Government schools and preschools.
    2. Excursions involving preschool children are subject to specific protocols under the Education and Care Services National Regulations.
    3. Residential high schools and schools in Juvenile Justice Centres are subject to specific additional procedures with regard to students in residence.
    4. The following are not covered under this policy:
      1. workplace learning programs
      2. privately organised (PDF 149 KB) tours, events or other activities the department is not responsible for these.
  3. Context
    1. The department is committed to providing a safe, secure, disciplined, inclusive, and quality learning environment in which students can develop their individual talents, interests and abilities through a curriculum that fosters students' intellectual, physical, social and ethical development. Excursions Planning and Management (PDF 393 KB) provides detailed direction and guidance to schools.
    2. School excursions vary in terms of the curriculum focus, students involved, duration of the excursion and venue. Groups participating in an excursion may be a class or a group of students drawn from a number of classes or schools.
    3. Excursions can range from an incursion to an extended journey occupying a number of days or weeks requiring overnight or long-term accommodation.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals:
      1. approve all domestic excursions within Australia involving their school
      2. approve their own school's participation when more than one school is involved
      3. ensure that a risk assessment for the excursion has been completed
      4. endorse overseas excursions and submit the overseas excursions application to their Director, Educational Leadership for approval by the Executive Director in line with the department's overseas excursions application and approval process
      5. maintain records of excursions and any incidents occurring on an excursion
      6. exercise a duty of care towards all students, staff and other participants
      7. evaluate their school's practices for the safe conduct of excursions on the basis of past experience, systemic and locally produced risk profiles and teaching and learning outcomes
      8. manage any issues or incidents arising from school excursions, consistent with the department's Controversial Issues in Schools policy and Incident Notification and Response policy
      9. ensure the appropriate infection control measures are included in the planning and are followed during the excursion.
    2. Teachers:
      1. may initiate and organise excursions
      2. exercise a duty of care to all students
      3. complete and monitor risk assessments for each planned excursion ensuring there will be adequate supervision
      4. report any incidents that occur on an excursion
      5. who organise an overseas excursion do so in line with the department's overseas excursions application and approval process.
    3. Directors, Educational Leadership:
      1. endorse an overseas excursion proposal
      2. endorse an overseas excursion for the approval to their Executive Director in line with the department's overseas excursions application and approval process
      3. monitor schools' compliance with this policy.
    4. Executive Directors:
      1. approve overseas excursions in line with the department's overseas excursions application and approval process.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Executive Director, Curriculum and Reform monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Curriculum and Reform
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