Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools satisfy their duty of care in supervising students.

Prerequisite policy


Principals must:

  • arrange for student supervision according to school needs 
  • ensure staff are aware of their responsibilities to supervise students during school times as well as before and after school.

Note: School authorities in breach of their duty of care may be liable for injuries to students.

In schools there must be clearly allocated specific responsibilities to staff members to undertake student supervision, as determined by the needs of the school, to protect students from reasonably foreseeable risks of injury including hazard that:

  • are known
  • could have been foreseen and prevented.

Note: This duty extends to intervention in single sex areas by a teacher of the other gender, if required.

Supervision responsibilities before and after school

This table identifies supervision responsibilities.

WhoAre responsible for
Parents/ guardians the care and supervision of students:
  • travelling to and from school
  • outside the times of school supervision before and after school.
See: Student Collection within Related policies
Principals ensuring:
  • school supervision is provided for a minimum of 10 minutes before and after school
  • parents/guardians are regularly informed about supervision available before and after school
  • sufficient teachers are available to supervise the departure of students at the end of the school day
  • teachers supervising departures are not called away for other duties without alternate supervision being arranged
Note: More supervision may be required:
  • before or after school, based on local circumstances
  • for primary students, particularly prep students.

Supervision in specific circumstances

This table lists supervision requirements/considerations for specific circumstances.


Recess and lunch times

Students must be supervised during recess and lunch.  For students who seek to leave school premises during lunch or recess, procedures must be in place that incorporate:

  • written parent/guardian requests for students under 18
  • short and long term lunch passes.
Cross age tutoring Principals decide how much supervision to provide for formal cross-age tutoring programs based on:
  • the age and maturity of students
  • size of the group
  • nature of the activities
  • the location within the school.
Outside school grounds

Primary students must be supervised at all times. The degree of supervision to be provided for secondary students leaving the school during school hours to engage in educational, sport or other activities is a matter for local decision. Deciding on the level of supervision needs to balance safety with school programs where students are encouraged to undertake activities outside the school either individually or in small groups.

Swimming Pools

Students must be supervised at all times while using a swimming pool (including if a swimming pool is owned by a school, privately or by the municipal council).

Visiting Speakers/InstructorsVisiting speakers do not have the authority to supervise students in schools.

Teachers must supervise their students during a presentation from a guest speaker.

Note: This includes instructors providing religious instruction in schools.

Supervision before and after school - Principal Considerations

This table describes additional supervisory considerations at the beginning and end of the school day, for principals.

To deal withPrincipals
school entry and exit points may organise supervision of entry and exit points that considers:
  • the entry or exit points that are, or should be, used
  • road traffic conditions
  • designated pick up and drop off areas
  • whether any entry or exit points should be:
    - locked
    - designated as out of bounds
    - supervised.
contract buses
  • should arrange supervision of the arrival and departure of school contract buses that takes into account the:
    - number of students
    - age of students
    - times of the arrival and departure
    - proximity of the pick-up and drop-off points in relation to the school grounds
    - behaviour of students on the bus and when boarding or alighting.
  • may consider:
    - working with bus contractors to develop an efficient timetable including possible staggered arrival and departure times to accommodate supervision
    - a code of behaviour or conduct for students who use school contract buses
    - using a buddy system for younger students
    - using bus captains or monitors.
public transport
  • are not obliged to supervise students using public transport, but may decide to provide supervision based on:
    - the proximity of the school to the public transport stop
    - known risks to students using that transport
    - unruly or antisocial student behaviour.
See: Student Engagement within Related policies
prep students using transport should consider:
  • additional supervision
  • providing parents/guardians with bus information at parent orientation meetings
  • maintaining a roll of prep students who use public transport
  • establishing a ‘marshalling point’ for prep students from which they can be guided to buses
  • guiding prep students to buses which stop at the school at the end of the day.

Parent/guardian support

This table describes strategies schools can use to encourage parents/guardians to support supervision before and after school.

To assist schools toParents/guardians can be encouraged to
ensure student safety when travelling to and from school consider:
  • whether their child is old and experienced enough to use public transport
  • how they can help educate their child in traffic safety
  • whether their child will need to cross busy roads to walk or catch transport.
maintain student rolls setting out students’ usual travel arrangements always let the school know when students’ usual travel arrangements are to change, even temporarily.
maintain preferred or mandatory points of exit for students at the end of the day
  • use these exits
  • make sure that students are familiar with these exits and use them.
apply traffic controls at the beginning and end of the school day obey parking regulations, speed limits and other traffic controls to:
  • help to create a safe environment at exits to schools
  • show respect to neighbours who live close to the school.
to provide adequate supervision for students entering or exiting the school at the beginning and end of the school day avoid talking to teachers who are supervising entry or exits or school buses about their child’s progress and should arrange another time for this discussion.

One-teacher schools

This table identifies responsibilities in one teacher schools.

  • Owe the same duty of care to students as teachers in larger schools.
  • Must supervise students during recess and lunch times or make other arrangements.
  • Must obtain permission to leave the school regularly during lunch time by:
    - obtaining a statement of approval from the school council
    - applying to the regional director, providing details of alternative arrangements proposed and the council’s approval statement.
    Note: Permission must be renewed annually.
  • May visit their residence during lunch time without obtaining regional director permission if it is attached to the school.
School councils
  • Records in their minutes the arrangements made for the supervision of students during a teacher absence.
  • Review the procedure for teacher absences on a regular basis, preferably annually.
  • Nominates at least one of its members who lives in close proximity to the school to act as a contact person if the teacher is ill or unexpectedly delayed in arriving at the school.
Council nominees Once informed of the teacher’s absence:
  • immediately go to the school to act as supervisor:
    - until a relief teacher arrives, or
    - contact the regional office if a relief teacher cannot be engaged. Telephone all families to inform them that the teacher is not in attendance, so that the parents/guardians may collect their children from the school.

Related policies

Related legislation and Ministerial order

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • Ministerial Order 184

Policy template for schools

A downloadable policy template for Victorian government schools is available on the intranet, see: Yard Duty and Supervision Schools can modify the template to suit their local circumstances.