Safe entry and exit of students to school grounds

Parents and carers are responsible for their child's safety when travelling to and from school.

School's responsibility

Under the department's Code of Conduct, section 8.6. Duty of care refers to a legal obligation to take reasonable care to minimise the risk of foreseeable harm (physical and psychological) to others.

Duty of care encompasses a wide range of matters including but not limited to:

  • providing adequate supervision, training and instruction
  • ensuring grounds, premises and equipment are safe for employees, students and the general public

Department staff can read more about supervision and duty of care by Legal Services (staff only).

To keep students safe as they arrive and depart, schools can:

  • regularly review their site entry and exit risk management plan
  • use various communication strategies to inform parents and carers about safe road user behaviours onsite and in school zone
  • update casual teachers about student arrival and departure procedures
  • liaise with school crossing supervisors and their Assisted School Travel Program providers on effective service delivery.

Schools may also use the following ideas to enhance arrival and departure procedures for students and teachers on entry and exit supervision:

  • increase or decrease the number of available or suitable access points to manage pedestrian numbers, movement and flow
  • label, number or colour code access points for easier reference and recognition by students, families and staff
  • spread the arrival and departure of students and families across different pick up and drop off accesses to reduce congestion in any one spot, either on or off site
  • use signage, social media, school website, note home or assemblies to inform students, families, staff and visitors of any changes to entry and exit or pick up and drop off arrangements such as absent school crossing supervisor; construction onsite or in the school zone; hazards (fallen trees, power lines, floods); delays to public transport and school buses.
  • encourage parents to:
    • walk their children to school, if possible
    • park away from the school to drop off their independent children to walk the rest of the way or else for them to park and walk with their children, to reduce traffic congestion
  • remind staff to maintain their own safety to reduce their risk of trips, slips and falls when supervising students. For example:
    • remain behind the school fence or well away from the edge of the footpath
    • not bend down if assisting students to get in or out of a vehicle
    • not stand on the road between vehicles (to avoid crush injury)
    • wear a high visibility jacket when in or near to the traffic environment
    • ask drivers to wait until the child is properly buckled up, if the child can do it themselves, before driving off.
  • remind teachers and other school staff they are not permitted to operate as a school crossing supervisor and control traffic. They can assist students cross the road when it is safe to cross.

For more information:

Managing a school's duty of care

If a school/staff member has a road safety concern the following process can help to manage a school's duty of care. A school can take action at any point as seen below.
Diagram of Education, Notify, Inform, and Document
Image: Managing duty of Care

Who will document, record and track the actions?


·         class teachers, SASS staff, school executive


·         principal

How and where will the actions be documented, recorded and tracked?


Which students need educating about the road safety concern?


How will road safety education be made relevant?


·       localised, school-specific teaching and learning activities

·       identified outcomes

·       a strengths’ based approach?

Who needs notifying if:

student/s are unsafe as road users

-  the infrastructure is unsupportive to a safe school site or school zone?

-  parents/carers

- internally: school staff, P & C, school WHS Committee, WHS Advisor, WHS Incident Hotline, Assets Management Unit, Director Educational Leadership, local Road Safety Education Officer

 - externally: Council Road Safety Officer or general manager, Transport for NSW, police highway patrol/liaison officer, council parking rangers, bus company, local businesses?

Snap send solve app

Which parents/carers need informing about the road safety concern?

The parents of:

·       individual or small groups of students

·       a year/stage group of students

·       all students?

How will it be communicated?

e.g. social media, newsletters, school website, enrolment pack information, an orientation day, school noticeboard sign, email

What to do if your school crossing supervisor is absent and not covered?

An absent crossing supervisor increases the risk of injury to students. Schools should:

  • notify the department's Health and Safety directorate of the supervisor’s absence either online via the Incident Report and Support Hotline or by calling 1800 811 523
  • implement their contingency plan by contacting the replacement or back up qualified crossing supervisor. If a replacement isn’t available schools can ask a staff member/volunteer to support students crossing the road in accordance with Legal Services intranet advice Can I use volunteers as crossing supervisor?

If you haven’t heard about why your crossing supervisor is not present, inform Transport for NSW (TfNSW) of your concerns.

Schools have a duty of care to inform their school community of any changes to normal routine, including the absence of a crossing supervisor.

Use a variety of communication channels to advise:

  • the crossing supervisor’s absence
  • the location of the unsupervised crossing
  • how students, parents and carers are to cross, e.g.
    • hold the hands of children up to 8 years of age
    • wait patiently and cross in groups to reduce traffic congestion around the school
    • stop, look, listen and think before crossing the road

Additional pedestrian safety messages are on the department's road safety education safe travel web page.

Use the TfNSW feedback form as a way for getting the situation noted, especially if the supervisor is regularly absent and/or a replacement supervisor is not provided.

Find out more about the NSW Centre for Road Safety’s School Crossing Supervisor program, which operates to keep K-6 school students safer.

Can I use volunteers as crossing supervisors?

Only three categories of people are legally permitted to stop road traffic in NSW. These include:

  • NSW police officers
  • TfNSW authorised traffic controllers
  • TfNSW school crossing supervisors.

Volunteers, unless authorised by TfNSW or NSW police to do so, are not permitted to stop road traffic or use any stop aids.

Students requiring assistance in crossing a road can be supported by an adult volunteer as follows:

  1. Having the volunteer wear a high visibility vest.
  2. Choosing a safe place to cross the road.
  3. Identifying a reasonable and manageable number of students to cross together as a group, that has the least impact on traffic flow. Students remaining behind until the volunteer returns to collect them should be told where to safely wait.
  4. Stopping, looking, listening and thinking before crossing the road together as a group. The volunteer should see the students safely on their way, then wait for a safe opportunity to cross the road and return to the waiting students.
  5. Repeating the above steps until all students have safely crossed.

Where possible volunteers should hold the hands of young children (up to eight years of age).

Road Safety Education, Driver Education and Training Policy

Under the department's Road Safety Education policy school staff, parents/carers and students all have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to protect students against risk of injury or harm. This extends to the entry and exit of students to school grounds.

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