School Excursions and International School Study Tours

Version Number

6.3

Implementation Date

8/09/2016

Scope

All state schools

Purpose

​School excursions and International School Study Tours (SSTs) enhance students’ learning by providing the opportunities for students to participate in curriculum-related activities outside the normal school routine. School excursions are well-planned curriculum-related activities that aim to maximise students’ learning experiences. SSTs involve international travel for activities including, but not limited to: curriculum related activity, language immersion programs, sporting exchange/activity or a sister school agreement. ​​​​​

Overview

This procedure applies to school excursions and SSTs where some or all students are required to be absent from school on any school day, this may include overnight, weekend and vacation trips.

An excursion plan must be completed for all school excursions, either using the OneSchool Excursion Planner or Excursion Planner template. For international school study tours the OneSchool Excursion Planner must be used. Excursion plans are approved by the school principal and when more than one school is involved, principals of all participating schools approve the excursion.

To ensure the health and safety of students and staff, schools are required to proactively manage all aspects of excursions. The school’s duty of care to students extends to school excursions, SSTs and camps, which are integral to students’ educational programs. Activities conducted away from schools may increase risks and therefore the standard of care required must reflect the increase in identified risks.

Schools must be able to demonstrate that activities have been thoroughly planned to ensure that students, staff and others will be safe whilst undertaking the activity. Any potential risks must have been identified and managed and there must be a planned response in case of an emergency. However, documentation need not be excessive and the relevant Regional Senior Health and Safety Consultant should be contacted for advice for domestic activities and the DET International Travel Unit (international.travel@det.qld.gov.au) for overseas activities.

Responsibilities

Principals:
  • approve all school excursions and SSTs ensuring appropriate organisation and curriculum relevance taking into consideration:
    • the resources of the school
    • the needs of the students
    • the costs involved
    • the impact on the total learning program.
  • ensure an excursion plan is completed for all planned school excursions, either in OneSchool or using the Excursion Planner template
  • ensure the OneSchool Excursion Planner is used for all international SSTs
  • approve international travel reports for SSTs.

Staff members organising school excursions:

  • complete an excursion plan, either in OneSchool or using the Excursion Planner template for planned school excursions 
  • for international travel use the OneSchool Excursion Planner
  • refer to the Excursion Planner User Guide in OneSchool for assistance, if required
  • register SST with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • complete an international travel report within four weeks of returning to duty from a SST.

Process

Principals:
  • ensure Blue Card requirements are adhered to
  • ensure risk assessments are conducted and risk management plans developed and documented for high and extreme risk activities that will take place as part of the excursion (see Managing Risks in School Curriculum Activities and the associated guidelines for particular curriculum activities. If a curriculum activity risk assessment does not exist for the activity to be undertaken, a generic Curriculum Activity Risk Assessment template is available to support schools in identifying high and extreme risk activities and completing risk assessments as appropriate
  • for SSTs complete the OneSchool Excursion Planner
  • ensure international SST are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
  • for SSTs, ensure other specific procedures are followed (see DET International School Study Tour Guidelines (DET employees only))
  • maintain a register of approved school excursions. If all excursions are planned using the OneSchool Excursion Planner, then OneSchool will be the register. Otherwise the register should contain:
    • times, date/s, venue and itinerary
    • number and year levels of participating students
    • names of supervising teachers and other assistants
    • transport, accommodation, meal and first aid/emergency arrangements
    • arrangements for students not participating
    • cost per student see also information on cost for excursion and tax (DET employees only)
    • copies of approvals.
  • in line with State Education Fees clearly detail to the school community on an annual basis the activities, goods or services for which fees are to apply 
  • consult with the Parents and Citizens' Association on the conducting of any activity or providing any good or service, which attracts a fee 
  • arrange a program for students remaining at school for the duration of the school excursion, and ensure that adequate teacher supervision is provided
  • ensure that charter buses used for excursions travelling on Environment 3 roads (steep roads) have the same safety features as contracted school buses using Environment 3 roads. That is, they must be roll-over compliant, have lap-sash seat belts, and an auxiliary braking system. Standees are also not permitted on these roads.
  • ensure that when students are being transported in private vehicles these safeguards are implemented:
    • written consent of parent for their child to travel in a privately owned vehicle is received and stored. See example transport permission form
    • details of insurance, registration and roadworthy condition of any vehicle to be used by a parent/caregiver agreeing to transport students in a privately owned vehicle are recorded. See example permission to use a private vehicle to transport students form
    • all children up to seven years of age must be secured in a child restraint. A child may stop using a child restraint once they turn seven years of age or their eye level is above the back of the booster seat 
    • children who have reached four years of age must be secured in an approved booster seat with a H-harness or a booster seat with a secured adult seatbelt that is properly fastened and adjusted. An approved booster seat complies with Australian Standards (AS1754 or AS/NZS1754). An approved child restraint will display an Australian Standards tick logo. The child must be secured in this manner up until they turn seven years of age
    • a child aged between four and seven years of age cannot sit in the front row of a vehicle that has more than one row of seats unless all the other seats are occupied by children under seven years of age
    • contact details for all drivers are recorded for contact purposes.

Staff members organising school excursions:

  • ensure: 
    • appropriate charter permits or survey certificates are held by operators where bus or water transport is used
    • drivers hold a current licence
    • local fire fighting authority is contacted during drought periods to check restrictions on lighting open fires at campsites
    • prior permission is obtained from property owners where private property is traversed
    • all planned excursion activities have obtained appropriate approvals. 
  • give timely advice to parents and students of details of location, timetable, supervision provided, activities undertaken, potential hazards, precautions taken, costs and anticipated learning outcomes during the school excursion
  • obtain written consent and where relevant any updates to medical details (see example permission form), from parents for all participating students under 18 years of age. Written consent is to be filed as proof of parental permission. Where a student is under 18 years of age and independent, consent is signed by student and countersigned by principal.  Written consent to be filed as proof of parental permission.  Please note these forms contain the minimum required information
  • access student’s OneSchool Student Medical Information Form to identify any relevant medical details and ensure all records are updated based on advice received from parents on permission forms 
  • assess the suitability of destinations and venues for the school excursion and apply risk management processes. If assessment is not possible, advice may be available from regional offices, other schools or similar sources that have used the venues
  • when excursions involve overseas travel, follow additional procedures listed under DET International School Study Tour Guidelines (DET employees only)
  • choose parents to accompany students according to the expertise they have relevant to the activities undertaken and instruct them prior to departure regarding their roles, hazards that might be encountered and precautions to be taken
  • determine appropriate supervision arrangements including adult/student ratios. Be aware that the actual risk level will vary according to the specific circumstances of the activity and these must be considered when assessing the inherent risk level and planning the activity. In determining appropriate supervision of students, factors to consider include:
    • Which students will be involved? (age, maturity, experience, special needs, number etc.) 
    • What will students be doing? (running, jumping, swimming, cutting, cooking, throwing etc.) 
    • What will students be using? (hazardous materials, sporting equipment, tools, stove etc.) 
    • Where will students be? (outdoors, restricted space, pool, creek, the beach, elevated, etc.) 
    • Who will lead the activity? (experience, qualifications etc.​)
  • take into consideration the:
    • age, capabilities and number of students
    • individual student’s educational and behavioural needs
    • individual student’s medical and physical requirements. Use a current individual medical plan as appropriate for the context. Access students’ OneSchool Student Medical Information Forms prior to excursion and ensure they are readily available during the activity 
  • refer to procedures for managing students with medical conditions using Administration of Medications in Schools to ensure adequate precautions are taken and emergency responses are planned
  • develop a contingency plan under the direction of the principal before embarking on the school excursion, to ensure that contact can be made expeditiously with planned venue, parents, medical authorities or other personnel
  • supervise all groups during the school excursion 
  • complete all relevant accident report forms in relation to any accidents occurring during a school excursion in accordance with Health and Safety incident recording, notification and management or contact the relevant Regional Senior Health and Safety Consultant

Online Resources

These templates include the minimum information required:

Curriculum activity risk assessment templates:
These templates are available for use when activities with a high or extreme inherent risk are included as part of the excursion.

Guidelines:

Other relevant information/documents:

Review Date

31/03/2017
Attribution CC BY
Parent
A ‘parent’ is defined in the legislation governing schooling in Queensland (Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld))
Section 10 “Meaning of parent”
(1) A parent, of a child, is any of the following persons –
(a) the child’s mother;
(b) the child’s father;
(c) a person who exercises parental responsibility for the child.
(2) However, a person standing in the place of a parent of a child on a temporary basis is not a parent of the child.
(3) A parent of an Aboriginal child includes a person who, under Aboriginal tradition, is regarded as a parent of the child.
(4) A parent of a Torres Strait Islander child includes a person who, under Island custom, is regarded as a parent of the child.
(5) Despite subsections (1), (3) and (4), if –
(a) a person is granted guardianship of a child under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld), or
(b) a person otherwise exercises parental responsibility for a child under a decision or order of a federal court or a court of a State;
then a reference in this Act to a parent of a child is a reference only to a person mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b).

Common Law Duty of Care
1. Those responsible for curriculum activities must take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risks of injury, for example by:
  • making sure that activities are safe and appropriate for the students’ age
  • ensuring students are properly instructed and prepared for the activities
  • ensuring all equipment is in a safe condition to use
  • providing adequate supervision.

Domestic travel 
Means official travel within Australia, including Australian territories.

International (overseas) travel 
Means official travel from Australia to an overseas country/countries.