With spring now upon us, school excursions often feature heavily on the calendar.
Excursions are one of those activities that require auditable management. For non-government schools excursions fall under a handful of activities specifically listed in the WA Registration Standard (Criterion 4 Level of Care) whereby evidence of appropriate procedures and risk management is a requirement.
Unfortunately it’s here that fears about health and safety requirements sometimes discourage schools and teachers from organising such trips. This shouldn’t be the case, health and safety law has a clear focus on the management of foreseeable risk, and an expectation that reasonable attention is directed to managing those risks. “Reasonable”………..taking the steps below should help to get the balance right.
5 Must Do’s for Excursions
- Have a group of key staff who will be involved in the trip assess the risks and decide upon appropriate things to do to manage them. For risks that recur with excursions (eg. first aid, communication issues etc) refer back to what’s been done before
- if risks are significant document the plans to deal with them (auditability);
- clearly communicate the risks and how they’ll be managed to staff and students (and parents, where appropriate);
- ensure that those taking part in the excursion understand their roles, are supported, and are competent to lead or take part in them; and
- put the plans into practice, ie. what was planned (point 2) is done.
Useful Links for Excursions
Non-Government Schools in Western Australia Registration Standard and Requirements 2014 – (refer Criteria 4 Level of Care)
WA Catholic Education Office – School Excursion Policy
WA Department of Education – Excursions Policy and Procedures
Queensland Department of Education – Excursion Planner Template