Government of Western Australia Department of Education's Excursions: Off School Site Activities. The document describes the policies and procedures necessary for off school site activities.
Background of the Policy
It is recognized that off school site excursions have higher degrees of risk than being at the school. However, the Department of Education recognizes that off school site excursions can provide significant learning opportunities, so it does not want to eliminate them because of the risk. Therefore, it has promulgated regulations to minimize the risk during these excursions.
Purpose/Objective of My Report
The objective of this report is to provide a brief overview of the Department of Education's approach to excursions.
The document describes excursions as beginning with a teacher-in-charge, who is responsible for the investigation into the risks inherent with the excursion. Some of the excursions may be overnight, and those excursions require a special analysis of the risk. The teacher-in-charge also has to assess the environment, which goes beyond matters of risk. The teacher also has to examine the transportation for the students. Part of the analysis is an assessment of the capabilities and needs of the students, the supervisory team members that will be part of the excursion, and any external service providers. Once the teacher has assessed all of the risk factors, the next step is to design supervision strategies for the excursion. These strategies include: ways of identifying the excursion students, ways to provide information about the excursion, a means for seeking parental consent, emergency response planning, and communication coordination.
The significance of the document is that it delegates a specific person to be responsible for the planning of excursions and outlines the steps that the teacher-in-charge needs to take when planning those excursions. It also contains references for any overriding legal guidelines, such as who must approve any excursions that are overseas and how overnight excursions should be planned. Failure to comply with the guidelines would probably establish a baseline for any negligence claims.
The key points in the document focus on the interaction between the various components of the excursion. A complete analysis of the risk does not focus on any single element of an excursion, but examines how all of the elements interact to enhance or minimize risk.
Why the Policy is Necessary
The policy is necessary because of the risks that are inherent in excursions away from the school.
Who is Subject to the Requirements?
The requirements are aimed at educators, including principals and the teachers-in-charge of excursions. The requirements are triggered by the involvement of students who are going on any activity defined as an excursion in the document.
The document specifically outlines the steps that educators need to take in order to plan excursions that provide students with expanded learning opportunities while making best efforts to minimize the risk exposure of those students while on excursions.
The overall guidelines for minimizing risk on excursions are sufficiently comprehensive; however, it may be an improvement to hire a risk-assessment specialist to work with teachers to ensure safe excursions.
The overall implication of the guidelines is that educators who fail to comply with them will probably be deemed negligent.
Sample template FOR AN EXCURSION management plan
Excursion Title Off to the Zoo
Teacher in Charge
Date(s) March 10, 2014
PURPOSE OF THE EXCURSION
The excursion relates to the school's education program because it provides children with the opportunity to experience animals in a semi-natural setting.
The anticipated outcomes for the students are to be able to gain a greater understanding of the appearance, lifestyle, and habits of various animals.
1. ASSESSING THE RISKS
Where are you going? The trip will be to a zoo located 25km from the school.
How have you assessed the suitability of the venue(s)? The zoo has been the location for several prior excursions and is a popular children's destination.
What risks have you identified in the environment(s)? The risks include: injuries in unfamiliar environments, being targeted for violent crime (abduction, rape, murder), being targeted for property theft, the risk of a student becoming lost, and exposure to indoor and allergens.
How will you minimise these risks? The groups will be supervised with an adult to student ratio of 1 to 4. Each adult will be responsible for the safety…