Fact sheets – Children's Health and Safety
May | 2018
This fact sheet provides a summary of the regulatory requirements relating to excursions and several links to useful resources.
Policy and procedures (regulation 168)
Education and care services are required to have policies and procedures in place for excursions, including procedures that comply with regulations 100-102.
Risk assessment (regulations 100- 101)
Undertaking a risk assessment is part of planning a routine outing or excursion and must be carried out for excursions before written authorisation is sought. The risk assessment must identify and assess risks that the excursion may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of any child being taken on the excursion, and detail strategies for minimising and managing those risks.
A visit to the proposed excursion destination will assist in conducting a risk assessment. Information can be gathered about the availability of toilets, handwashing, drinking and shade facilities, and details can be checked such as mobile phone coverage and access for emergency services.
The risk assessment must consider:
- the proposed route and destination for the excursion
- any water hazards and risks associated with water based activities
- the method of transport
- the number of adults and children involved in the excursion, including head counts or allocating a group of children to a particular adult or educator
- the number of educators or other responsible adults needed to provide adequate supervision and whether any specialised skills are required to ensure children’s safety
- the proposed activities
- the likely length of time of the excursion
- the items that should be taken on the excursion.
While an increased educator-to-child ratio for excursions is not specified in the Regulations, there is a requirement to adequately supervise children at all times. A thorough risk assessment should determine whether minimum ratios are sufficient to provide adequate supervision while attending an excursion.
Authorisation (regulation 102)
Written authorisation must be provided by a parent or other person with authority for an excursion before a child leaves an education and care service. The authorisation must state the following:
- the child’s name
- the reason the child is to be taken outside the service premises
- the date the child is to be taken on the excursion (unless the authorisation is for a regular outing) and the period the child will be away from the premises
- a description of the proposed destination and activities to be undertaken by the child for the excursion
- the method of transport to be used for the excursion
- the anticipated number of children likely to be attending the excursion
- the anticipated educator-to-child ratio and the number of staff members and any other adults who will accompany and supervise the children on the excursion
- that a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the service.
Where an education and care service is provided at a school site, it is not considered an excursion if the child or children leave the education and care premises accompanied by an educator but do not leave the school site. For example, if a preschool group visits the library within their school site, it is not considered an excursion or regular outing.
For a regular outing, authorisation is only required to be obtained once every 12 months.
If the excursion occurs regularly and a risk assessment has previously been conducted, a further risk assessment is not required unless the circumstances of the outing have changed.
Make sure that all educators, other carers, any other adults, parents and guardians of the children involved are informed about the excursion plans and are aware of the risk assessment undertaken.
Monitor and review excursion plans
Check that your plans are effective and revise as necessary during the excursion. After the excursion, consider things such as: how safe the environment was for the children, how well supervised the children were, their level of participation and the benefits the activities provided. If necessary, make modifications for any future excursions to the same location.
- Excursion risk management plan template - this may be adapted by services for use, or services may choose to develop their own.
- The link below provides some useful planning resources for excursions including:
- an excursion risk management plan information sheet
- an excursion planning checklist
- site specific examples of excursion risk management plans (e.g. Central Market, park walk) www.decd.sa.gov.au/childrensservices/pages/ policies/excursions.
- An EECSRSB fact sheet about developing and maintaining policies and procedures for early childhood services is available at: www.esb.sa.gov.au/factsheets.
Early Childhood Services
Phone: 08 8226 0077 or 1800 882 413
Email: EducationStandardsBoard [at] sa.gov.au