Excursion roles and responsibilities

The page includes important information and checklists for those involved in planning and decision-making for outdoor and adventure excursions.

External providers

External providers may be engaged to deliver specific outdoor or adventure activities or a whole program. They may provide expertise in a certain activity and can form a valuable addition to a program.

Clear and open communication that occurs well in advance of the planned program is the key to an effective and well-informed relationship between a school and an external provider.

Before an external provider is selected to assist with the delivery of a program, a thorough check should be completed by the school to ensure that they are appropriate for the program.

Prior to commencement of a program the school should ensure that the external provider has:

  • a current public liability insurance certificate (minimum $10 million) provided by an APRA approved insurer
  • discussed with the school who has responsibilities for first aid, emergency communications and other specialist equipment
  • demonstrated that staff have the correct qualifications and/or experience for their specific role/s
  • a documented system in place to ensure that students are supervised by either a registered teacher or an approved staff member with a current Working with Children Check
  • ensure that supervision of students is overseen at all times by a staff member of other individual that has a completed Working with Children Check
  • discussed with the school who will be responsible for emergency procedures, and that these are well understood prior to the excursion taking place
  • required permits to operate in program areas
  • suitable risk management documentation
  • informed school of the risks involved in the activity
  • read the relevant sections of the Department's Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors and understood their obligations under these guidelines.

Program responsibilities

Schools cannot sign 'Waivers of liability' on behalf of students. Regardless of the role of the external provider, schools retain overall responsibility for the program and any activities involving students.

Government schools using residential campsites in Victoria as a venue for their camp or excursion are required to use only accredited campsites. For more information see: School Policy and Advisory Guide - Venue Selection

Accreditation schemes include Australian Camps Association Accreditation, Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP)and National Accommodation, Recreation & Tourism Accreditation

Where not directly responsible for the instruction of the activity or assisting the instructor, the teacher present must understand the activity and the environment in which it will be conducted. This teacher must confer with the designated instructor about the supervisory role and establish areas of responsibility. If the teacher is not the designated instructor he/she is to act on the advice of the designated instructor on technical safety issues.


Parents or guardians are required to give informed consent before their child may participate in any school excursion.

Informed consent should be based on an understanding of:

  • the educational purpose of the excursion
  • the nature and details of the excursion
  • the supervision strategy
  • other information deemed relevant by the school or by parents/guardians.

Informed consent must be given in writing, including signatures, by parents or guardians.

See also:


The principal is responsible for the approval of the operational requirements, including the risk register,  for all excursions.

Before the program commences the principal should have a copy of all the approval documentation. This includes detailed information that may be needed in an emergency such as:

  • the exact location of the excursion participants at all times, including during travel
  • the relevant telephone number/s through which excursion staff may be contacted in an emergency
  • the names and family contacts for all students and staff
  • copies of the parental consent and medical advice forms of students
  • a copy of the program's emergency response plan

Planning the excursion

To begin planning your excursion, go to Excursion planning and approvals

Principals must understand the common law responsibilities of school personnel, see: Personal liability of school employees.

Read the Emergency and Risk Management policy
Available in the School Policy and Advisory Guide
School councils

The school council is responsible for the approval of an excursion insofar as it relates to:

  • the school's budget
  • parent payments
  • any contracts entered into with third parties
  • any contingency funds required for the excursion (for example: overseas travel).

Teachers participating in an excursion should:

  • understand the purpose of the program and its connection to student learning
  • be aware of their supervisory responsibilities throughout the program, see: Excursion support - supervision
  • know who is the nominated member of staff who will provide first aid if required, see: Excursion support - first aid
  • know the exact location of students they are responsible for at all times including during travel.

In addition the nominated teacher-in-charge should:

  • know the exact location of students at all times including during travel
  • maintain a record of telephone contacts for the supervising staff accompanying the excursion
  • know who the school contact person is and their phone number
  • have a copy of the names of family contacts for all students and staff on the excursion
  • have copies of the parental approval and medical advice forms for those students on the excursion
  • maintain a copy of the completed approval proforma (including all attachments) submitted to the principal, see: Principal approval form (docx - 71.31kb)
  • have submitted, three weeks prior to the excursion, a notification of school activity using the Student Activity Locator