School operations


including camps and adventure activities

Staffing — roles and responsibilities

Staff members are those adults who provide the supervisory, instructional and educational elements of the activity.

A teacher registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and either employed by the Department or school council or approved by the principal must be present and have overall responsibility for the activity, unless other arrangements have been approved by the principal in accordance with the section on Supervision in this guidance.

Excursion staff must be approved by the principal and may include:

  • teachers employed by the Department or school council
  • other adults on a volunteer or paid basis such as:
    • parents or carers
    • education support class officers
    • community members
    • trainee teachers
    • campsite staff
    • specialist instructors for excursion activities.

School students cannot be used as excursion staff.

Schools must ensure that excursion staff comply with Department or the school’s own policy in relation to the Child Safe Standards and having a Working with Children Check.

The names of volunteer workers must be recorded for the purposes of volunteer workers insurance refer to: Volunteers in Schools.

Where approved excursion staff who are not teachers employed by the Department or school council are in attendance they can be included in the staff-student supervision ratio:

  • for the duration of a specific activity for which they have a designated supervisory responsibility or
  • for the overall staff-student supervision ratio for the program, where they are on duty and available on the same basis as other staff (usually a 24 hour basis), for example third party providers such as residential camp staff, World Challenge staff.

The specific roles and responsibilities of each staff member (teachers, instructors, campsite staff, volunteers and so on) must be clarified and understood by all staff prior to the commencement of the excursion.

School staff

School staff 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 excursion
  • know which member of staff will provide first aid if required
  • know the exact location of students they are responsible for at all times including during travel.

In addition the nominated teacher-in-charge must:

  • ensure risk assessments have been completed and treatments are communicated to all staff involved in the excursion and/or activity
  • 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 immediate access to the names of family contacts for all students and staff on the excursion
  • have immediate access to copies of medical advice forms for those students on the excursion
  • maintain a copy of the completed Excursion — Principal Approval Form (Word) (including all attachments) submitted to the principal for approval and school council for noting
  • have submitted, three weeks prior to the excursion, a notification of school activity using the Student Activity Locator (staff login required). 

Specialist staff

Schools must:

  • ensure that where specialist instructors are employed they:
    • have the necessary skills or qualifications for the activity
    • have appropriate experience for the age and skill level of the students
    • hold appropriate public liability insurance
  • while specialist instructors have the technical knowledge and expertise to instruct the students, the teachers have overall responsibility for the safety and welfare of the students, even where the teachers do not directly provide the actual instruction.

Where not directly responsible for the instruction of the activity or assisting the instructor, the teacher responsible for the activity should 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 this teacher is not the designated instructor, they are to act on the advice of the designated instructor on technical safety issues.

Chapter in the Excursion Guidelines outlining staff roles and responsibilities during an excursion

Reviewed 24 November 2021

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