STATEMENT OF INTENT:
College excursions are opportunities for students to experience learning outside of the normal College environment. As with all College activities, both on and off campus, teaching staff owe a duty of care for the safety and welfare of students. This will be whilst staff and students are engaged in College activities or are present for the purposes of College activities.
The duty is to take such measures that are reasonable in all circumstances to protect students from harm that reasonably ought to be foreseen. This requires not only an awareness and protection of known hazards but also protection of harm that could be foreseeable.
SCOPE and APPLICATION:
This policy applies to all staff at Providence Christian College and affiliates engaged by the College to provide services to the students of the College.
Excursion: An excursion is any student-learning activity that is conducted off-site of the College that is organised or managed by a member of the College teaching staff and has gained the appropriate approvals. Excursions/tours may be local, interstate or international in nature.
Incursion: An incursion is any student-learning activity that is conducted on-site that is organised or managed by a member of the College teaching staff and has gained the appropriate approvals.
- Compulsory excursions/incursions are considered integral to the educational programme (e.g. a subject-specific requirement, camp or retreat)
- Optional excursions/incursions are complementary to the educational programme (e.g. an overseas mission trip).
As with all College activities, both on and off-campus, teaching staff owe a duty of care for the safety and welfare of students. This will be whilst staff and students are engaged in College activities or are present for the purposes of College activities.
Excursion planning, including a risk assessment, must be completed and submitted to the relevant Head of School for approval well in advance of the excursion.
When completing the College excursion planning documentation (Forms available on EMS360) the Excursion Coordinator will take into account the procedural guidelines and requirements relevant to the nature of the excursion and this policy.
When preparing activities for the students, the teacher needs to use their professional judgement to balance the risk of harm involved in the activity with what the students will learn from undertaking the activity. Often a teacher’s professional judgement will be guided by College policies, procedures and guidelines; and the College’s risk assessment procedure.
When volunteers and external providers are engaged they will also take such measures as are reasonable in all circumstances to protect students from risk of harm that reasonably ought to have been foreseen.
Prior planning is an important component of a successful and safe activity or excursion. The College Educational Excursion form (available on the Intranet in the Forms folder) must be completed as a prerequisite for any excursion.
The Staff Member (Coordinator) is to complete the excursion planning document and submit it to the relevant Head of School for approval before the excursion can proceed.
The excursion plan must comply with the following guidelines as outlined on the Excursion Approval Form:
- Educational purpose of the excursion and provision for non attendees where necessary.
- Duty of Care Each excursion holds a different level of risk and an appropriate risk analysis must be conducted to ensure the highest level of care is provided. The level of care must reflect the following:
- Itinerary including dates and times.(Including departure, arrival and pick up times).
- Age of the students (Year Group/s) involved in the excursion.
- Appropriate student/teacher ratios as prescribed for different age groups and type of excursion. (See appendix 2). Staff student ratios.
- Venue Including location and contact numbers.
- Environmental Conditions (E.g. Indoor, outdoor, water hazards, general public interaction, other factors which may present potential risk).
- Equipment to be used and specialist instruction
- Whether the equipment to be used on the excursion is adequate for the purpose.
- Whether the equipment is in good repair.
- Whether any of the activities to be undertaken on the excursion require specialised instruction. If so, details of who will provide the instruction.
- Staffing and Supervision
- There are sufficient staff to provide appropriate and effective supervision.(Including an appropriate student to adult ratio).
- The qualifications and experience of each staff member (including volunteers, instructors etc) are appropriate for the excursion and will allow them to provide effective supervision in general for planned activities.
- Appropriate CrimTrac 100 point Police Clearance, Confidential Declaration (Parent volunteers on day excursions) and Working With Children Check for supervisors involved in overnight camps or tours.
- Venue run by third party. The College may engage the services of an external provider to either run, or assist in the running of excursions. These external providers may also provide venues and equipment for the excursion. When engaging an external provider it is important to note that the duty of care owed to students by the College is only delegable in very specific cases and that the engagement of an external provider, no matter what her or his level of expertise, does not release the College from its obligation to ensure the safety of its students who participate in the excursion.
Equally important to note is that external providers often include disclaimer and indemnity clauses in their standard form paperwork. Disclaimers are clauses in which the external provider seeks to escape liability for negligence it may otherwise be liable for. These clauses may cover only the negligence of persons not under the control of the external provider (for example, members of the College staff or volunteers attending the excursion) but may also seek to exclude liability for the negligence of even the staff members of the external provider.
Indemnity clauses are clauses in which the external provider seeks to obtain an undertaking from the College to reimburse the external provider for any amount it may be ordered to pay to a third person arising out of the excursion.
In addition, any liability it incurs under those clauses may not fall under the standard cover of its insurance policies.
The College should therefore carefully consider the terms of any proposed disclaimer or indemnity clause and seek appropriate legal or other advice.
- Use of private vehicles
The College’s duty of care extends to ensuring that all private vehicles used by parents and teachers on College excursions adhere to certain guidelines such as:
- The vehicle is registered and registration is current;
- The driver’s experience and competence, for example, no ‘L’ or ‘P’ plate drivers allowed;
- The vehicle’s roadworthiness, including seat belts, lights, brakes; the number of children permitted in the car;
- Written permission obtained by parents for their child to be driven in a private vehicle;
- Approval from the Head of School for teachers to use their cars to transport students.
The College should also make it clear to the drivers of the vehicles that the College will not accept any liability for any damage to the vehicle.
The vehicle’s third party cover should insure children against injury.
- Use of College Buses
- The designated driver must hold the appropriate HR license.
- The College is responsible for all students using a bus owned by the College. The College is therefore responsible for the supervision of the students through either the driver alone or an accompanying teacher.
- The Road Traffic Act requires school buses to adhere to several regulations. The driver and accompanying supervising teacher must ensure that all these regulations are complied with before any excursion.
- Use of External Providers (Bus Companies)
If utilising an external bus company the same duty of care requirements are applicable.
- Parent/ Guardian Consent
Consent must be received from a parent/guardian before a student is allowed to participate in an activity. Before parents can give permission, they must be made aware of all details of the excursion including:
- An outline of the activities, particularly any hazardous activity or those requiring specialist instruction;
- The identity and number of supervisors and whether any of them will be volunteers/parents.
- The itinerary and transport arrangements.
- The name and phone number of the College contact (during and after College hours);
- Full details of time, location, costs;
- Details of emergency procedure (see ‘Emergency Procedure’ section);
- Contact details for the parents for the duration of the excursion;
- A statement that troublesome students will be sent home at parental expense.
- For all excursions held off the College grounds or outside of normal College hours, a parent consent form should be obtained.
- For excursions held on a regular basis throughout the year, one consent form only should be required. For example, life saving lessons held weekly after College.
- These forms should remain in possession of the teacher in charge throughout the duration of the excursion in case they are required. A further copy of this information should be retained at the College for referral during the excursion and future reference. Parents should be informed of the retention of information at the school (Privacy Act).
Only students with a signed consent form will be allowed to participate in an excursion. The College is required to provide supervision at the College for all students not participating.
- Medical Consent Forms
The organizing teacher must ensure that detailed medical information is provided for extended excursions. The College medical consent form clarifies that, should a doctor and/or ambulance be required, the parents will be required to meet the associated costs.
- Insurance: (College)
Appropriate insurance cover needs to be thoroughly investigated. Particular attention must be given to establish whether the College’s current insurance policies are adequate for the purposes of the excursion. The College Business Manager should discuss the needs with their insurance broker/companies at an early stage to establish what is required. Issues to be considered include:
- Whether the College’s insurance policies cover the risks associated with travelling:
- Whether the teachers/supervisors will be covered by the College’s insurance whilst on the excursion;
- Whether volunteers will be covered by the College’s insurance whilst on the excursion;
- Whether the activities being undertaken on the excursion fall within the scope of the College’s insurance policies;
- If students participating in the excursion are from different schools, whether the host school’s insurance policies cover those students;
- What the position is if students are accompanied by teachers from a different school;
- What the situation is if the excursion is organised by an external agency (see section 1 on Venue run by third party);
- If the excursion is arranged by an external agency but is supervised by teachers from the College, who is responsible for the insurance cover for the students and the teachers;
- If the excursion is arranged by an external agency but the College pays the teachers for the duration of the excursion, whether that creates a liability or obligation for the College.
- Insurance (External Providers)
External service providers associated with the excursion to provide a ‘Certificate of Currency’ on request.
- Emergency Protocol and Incident Reporting
- Emergency Protocol
It is not possible to plan for all likely emergencies that may occur on the excursion, but a basic emergency protocol should be in place and understood by all those supervising on the excursion. The protocol should contain at least this information:
- Contact details for all parents;
- An authority for each student, permitting emergency medical treatment to be administered;
- Details of any special medical requirements or allergies for particular students;
- Contact details for hospitals and doctors in the area in which they are travelling;
- If it is an overseas tour, the contact details for the Australian consular officials in the country in which they are travelling;
- The procedure to follow in the case of unforeseen events, such as travel delays, an injury to a student, a lost student, natural disaster.
- Incident Reporting
If, during the course of an excursion, a participant suffers an injury or ill health, or where an incident related to safety or discipline, or where serious consequences have resulted, a report is to be submitted to the Principal by the teacher in charge.
In the event of a critical incident as defined by the Non-Government Schools registration standards outlined in Providence Christian College’s Crisis Management plan shall be adhered to.
- Excursion Records
Excursion Approval forms as well as any other documents associated with the excursion (insurance documents, incident reports) are to be kept on file in a secure area as designated by the College Principal.
- Excursion Approvals
- Signed approval for the excursion must be obtained before the excursion can proceed.
- All excursions must be approved by the relevant Head of School before they can proceed.
- Interstate and overseas tours require the permission of the Principal and the College Board.