Managing school road safety
Schools should create and maintain a safe supportive environment, and culture around road safety.
Schools have a duty of care to ensure all students are travelling as safely as possible to and from school. Duty of care may extend outside of school hours and off school premises in circumstances where there is a clear and close connection to the school.
Managing road safety in the school grounds is guided by the department’s Health and Safety policies and guidelines.
Under the department's Code of Conduct, section 8.6. Duty of care all personnel have a legal obligation to take reasonable care to minimise the risk of foreseeable harm (physical and psychological) to others.
Department staff can read more on Legal Services (staff only) about:
- Duty of care and behaviour management
- Legal services professional learning - School leaders and the law,
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
- implementing strategies to prevent bullying in the workplace, school or college
- providing first aid commensurate with your level of training and experience, or seeking assistance from emergency service to aid an employee, student or community member who is injured or becomes sick in the workplace.
All employees share in the department’s responsibility and commitment to the safety, health and wellbeing of themselves and others in their workplace and must comply with relevant legislation.
A greater level of care is required for a person who is vulnerable because of their age, maturity, skill level, disability, health or personal circumstances.
Duty of care extends to protecting students from self-harm while in school and reporting on incidents out of school.
As a department employee, you must:
- understand and comply with your responsibilities and obligations under relevant work, health and safety legislation and department policies, procedures and guidelines
- comply with any reasonable safety instruction and guidance of the department or your workplace manager
- consider and take reasonable care of the physical and psychological safety of yourself, students, colleagues and the community in all activities undertaken in the course of your employment
- take reasonable care to ensure your workplace is safe and secure for everyone
- proactively identify, report and cooperate with appropriate action in response to safety risks and hazards in support of the health, safety and wellbeing of all on-site
- act with the authority you hold to address or refer safety risks and hazards to relevant officers within the department
- ensure you have identified and documented risks associated with activities and put in place strategies that align with relevant guidance to manage and mitigate risks before beginning the activity
- review, reflect and update the relevant process and risk assessments
- help, to the best of your ability, an injured or sick person in your workplace including obtaining the assistance of a trained person who can attend to them.
School's duty of care and road safety
Duty of care doesn't stop at the bell or at the school gate.
It can extend outside of school hours and off school premises in circumstances where there is a clear and close connection to the school, for example on excursions, student travel to and from school, students travelling to TAFE/VET courses or work experience during or outside of regular school hours.
(DoE Legal Services 'Out of hours and out of school' Staff only)
A process for managing a school's duty of care and road safety
A school can use the Managing a school's duty of care and road safety process below, to address local road safety concerns, starting at any point.
Download and share a copy of the process with staff Managing a school's duty of care and road safety (PDF 184KB)
For guidance of any risk management of the school grounds contact the department's WHS Advisors.
Which students need educating about the road safety concern?
- individual or small groups of students
- year/stage group of students
- the whole school?
How will road safety education be made relevant?
- localised, school-specific teaching and learning activities
- identified outcomes
- a strengths’ based approach?
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 (Facebook, school apps, Twitter)
- school website
- enrolment pack information,
- orientation day
- school noticeboard sign, email
- take-home activity/note
If you need emergency services assistance call them before calling the WHS Incident Report and Support Hotline.
All WHS related incidents and injuries, including a near miss must be reported in line with Incident Notification & Response Procedures. This includes any non-workplace incident that impacts students, staff and the school community, e.g. travel to/from school
Situations that have the potential to cause injury to an employee, student, member of the community, volunteer, or contractor should also be reported to the Incident Report and Support Hotline. This includes non-workplace situations, e.g. travel to/from school
It is valuable to report all concerns to:
- highlight that a risk exists
- contribute to managing your duty of care
- get the concern noted so appropriate support and corrective actions can be initiated to prevent further incidents
- build a data profile that Health and Safety, and School Infrastructure NSW Directorates can use to bring about change for your school.
Who needs notifying if:
- student/s are unsafe road users
- the infrastructure is unsupportive to a safe school site or school zone
- Internally: school staff, P & C, school WHS Committee, WHS Advisor, WHS Incident Hotline, Assets Management Unit, local 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?
How can the notification be made?
e.g. phone call, face to face informal discussion/formal meeting, email, formal letters, Snap send solve app
Who will document, record and track the actions?
- class teachers, SASS staff, school executive
How and where will the actions be documented, recorded and tracked?
Legal Services' advice
The department's Legal Services provides duty of care information in:
- Duty of care - Out of hours and out of school (staff only)
- Duty of care and behaviour management - About road safety (staff only)
- School leaders and the law (staff only) - an online professional learning module covering 8 key topics.
Topic 2. Duty of care to students addresses a school’s obligations for students and road safety in the out of hours and out of school section, as well as travel to and from a workplace program.
For more information, read further on our site about: