A school’s excursion program enables students to further their learning and social skills development in a non-school setting. Excursions complement, and are an important aspect of the educational programs offered at our school. This report is a document analysis of the excursions policy (http://www.education.vic.gov.au/management/governance/referenceguide/enviro/4_4.htm) constructed as a clause of the student safety and risk management guide, section 4 under the schools reference guide by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development [DEECD], 2009).
Scenario one, students of secondary aged schooling may complete excursions without direct teacher supervision off school grounds though still within school hours. Scenario two, describes the use of a teachers’ private vehicle to transport students to and from school for an art gallery excursion. Scenario three is a primary year level overnight excursion including adventure based activities.
The policies aims to protect and uphold a teachers’ legal duty of care “in fulfilling their duty of care towards a student, had to control not only their own conduct, but also the conduct of the student and others as well” (Crouch, 1996). As a teacher's duty of care towards students exists wherever there is a teacher-pupil relationship. This is true not only during normal school routine, but also during camps and on excursions. If a foreseeable injury occurs as a result of a breach of this duty of care, a teacher may be sued for negligence. The possibility of litigation following an incident or injury and the response the principle and all those involved in the school excursion should take “they must be prepared for a detailed examination of all their actions” (DEECD, 2004, 188.8.131.52). Constructed to assist schools boards and principles with managing the risks that excursions pose and protecting those involved in the excursion including the (DEECD, 2009) from litigation payouts, “in the case of state schools, the department of education, who will be required to pay up” (Crouch, 1996). A “school must be vigilant in its appreciation and elimination of any dangers to students” (Crouch, 1996), whilst on excursion. Therefore the importance of the policy is fundamental to a state’s education department guiding their schools in demonstrating genuine commitment to risk management strategies. The policy requirements are relevant to school councils, principles, teachers, volunteers, students, parents/guardians and contracted excursion staff. Each clause is relevant to either one or more subjects.
Approval for excursions
In the approval of excursions the policy requests that consideration to certain factors be given. • Whether the excursion reinforces, complements and extends the learning opportunities beyond the classroom prior to approval begin given. • Adequate planning, preparation and organisation are given to support the policies guidelines. • Principal approval is only required for “all single-day excursions” (DEECD, 2009, 184.108.40.206.2). • School council’s are responsible for approving excursions that have a greater level of risk, “overnight excursions” “adventure activities” (DEECD, 2009, 220.127.116.11.1). • Joint excursions require individual school approvals and each school council needs to “complete an on-line notification to the Emergency and Security Management Unit” (DEECD, 2009, 18.104.22.168.3). • The policy requests when selecting a venue consideration to the following factors health, hygiene, safety and to facilities. • In particular for overnight excursions involving such activities as camping, the (DEECD, 2009, 22.214.171.124.3) permits only accredited campsites and venues be used. • In reference to overseas excursions the policy has the same assessment criteria as for domestic travel. In addition to that, constant review on the...
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