Applying to be an ATSO

Learn about the eligibility requirements and application process before submitting your expression of interest.

ATSOs must:

  • be 18 years of age
  • physically able
  • have good communication skills
  • be respectful and understanding of students with disability
  • be able to work collaboratively with others.

Training requirements

To ensure that all ATSOs are aware of and comply with policies, procedures and relevant legislation concerning eligible students on assisted school travel, the ASTP provides mandatory training throughout the year.

Students cannot be transported until the appropriate training of the ATSO has taken place.

Certain mandatory courses must be undertaken in order for ATSOs to be offered a run as an Long Term Temporary (LTT) employee.

Full details of ATSO training requirements are outlined in the training framework.

Types of employment

ATSOs are employed by the NSW Department of Education on a temporary basis during the school year.

ATSOs are employed under two categories:

  • Long Term Temporary (LTT) – ATSOs who are engaged on a temporary contract to provide services during school term time (up to four school terms a year).
  • Short Term Temporary (STT) – Relief ATSOs who can be placed on a run when the LTT ATSO is unavailable.

Approved ATSOs are placed onto the STT list that is updated and sent weekly to contractors during the school year.

Contractors must carefully check individual ATSO training against the needs of students on assisted school travel.

Some students require a highly specialised level of care that requires specific health care procedure training. The ASTP works with schools and contractors to identify appropriately trained or qualified ATSOs from the STT list.

Find out more about ATSO payments.

LTT ATSOs are permitted to be reassigned to other runs if the students they support are absent. This needs to be approved by the ASTP.

LTT ATSOs seeking to take leave outside of their contracted award conditions such as holiday's mid-school term must seek authorisation from the ASTP beforehand.

Application process

Prospective applicants must complete an ATSO expression of interest (EOI) form (PDF 306.46KB) and return all completed documentation to the ASTP.

As part of the EOI process, applicants will have to complete the Working With Children Check (WWCC). This is mandatory for anyone working with children. Applications for a WWCC number cost $80.

The EOI application process can take several weeks given the various checks that are undertaken. It is essential that all information is fully completed.

ASTP will advise applicants if they have been successful and provide information on whether they will be on a relief list or commencing work on a transport run. Identification cards will also be issued.

For more information, please refer to ATSO resources.

Supporting students

Schools play an important role in supporting ATSOs. They are responsible for facilitating individual health care training for ATSOs and providing a copy of the health care or behaviour plan.

Before supporting a student for the first time, ATSOs must be appropriately trained, have a copy of the student's health care or behaviour plan and can comfortably follow the recommended actions, as necessary.

Safety vests

Safety vests help improve the safety and identification of ATSOs in assisting students travelling to and from school.

Vests are issued by the ASTP to contractors who have ATSOs travelling on school runs. Contractors are responsible for issuing vests to ATSOs as needed.

Vests must be worn by authorised ATSOs every time a student is transported for the ASTP - not having a vest does not prevent the transportation of a student.

Find out more about caring for safety vests.

Conduct and performance

ATSOs are expected to maintain high standards of conduct and performance in accordance with the Department of Education Code of Conduct and relevant policies and procedures.

Conduct issues involving suspected harm to students must be reported immediately to the ASTP for referral to the department's Professional and Ethical Standards (PES)

Other less serious performance issues can be resolved at a local level and may be referred to the school, or to the ASTP for advice and direction.

Where there are complaints regarding the services of ATSOs, concerns should be immediately reported to both to the school and to the ASTP by emailing atso.astp@det.nsw.edu.au or calling 1300 338 278.

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