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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Excursions

including camps and adventure activities

Venue selection

Excursion venues must be assessed and selected on the basis of their safety and suitability for the activities proposed. This includes outdoor locations.

It is recommended that venues are selected based on the recent and first-hand knowledge (for example, through an inspection of the site) of at least one member of the planning and supervising staff. If a staff member plans to inspect a venue or location, either within or outside of normal school hours, prior approval should be sought from the principal.

Residential campsites

Residential campsites are campsites which usually have permanent facilities (such as cooking and eating facilities, beds and an amenities block) and adventure recreation options. This definition does not include caravan parks, hotels/motels, ski lodges or Victorian government residential schools.

Schools using residential campsites for overnight camping must use accredited campsites, to ensure these venues meet minimum criteria regarding safety and suitability.

The Department recognises three accreditation providers:

  • Australian Camps Association’s Campsite and Outdoor Activity Provider program see: ACA Accredited Camps
  • Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP) see: Trust the Tick (select relevant state or territory). Further information regarding Quality Tourism Accreditation can be found at Quality Tourism Australia
  • National Accommodation, Recreation and Tourism Accreditation program see: NARTA

Other venues

Other venues may include:

  • overnight campsites and venues that only provide accommodation such as caravan parks, hotels/motels or ski lodges
  • Victorian government residential schools (for example: Rubicon Outdoor Centre or Bogong Outdoor Education Centre)
  • interstate camps or excursions
  • overseas venues

Criteria for assessing venues such as campsites or overnight accommodation venues should include:

  • health and hygiene
  • buildings and facilities
  • activity equipment and the conduct of activities
  • certification and qualifications of venue staff
  • participant supervision provided
  • risks posed by other users of the site
  • emergency and risk management plans of venues
  • fire precautions
  • first aid facilities
  • quality assurance and consumer protection
  • relevant accreditations
  • references from other schools

Outdoor locations

Outdoor environments can be unfamiliar settings for students and can present hazards which may not be immediately obvious.  Environmental factors must to be considered when planning activities. Outdoor activities may be affected by, yet not limited to environmental conditions such as surrounding landscape and vegetation, prevailing weather and micro climates.

Outdoor environments are extremely variable by nature. Conditions need to be planned for and monitored regularly in the lead up to, and during the activity.

When preparing for outdoor activities, staff should consider ways to minimise the environmental impact of the activity.  

Schools conducting excursions on land operated by Parks Victoria must complete an Education Group Activity form via ParkConnect at least one month before any visit. This will assist Parks Victoria to alert schools to any park closures, storm damage or management activities that may affect the visit, such as planned burns or pest animal programs.

To ensure safe conduct of the excursion, schools should consider whether there are any environmental factors, or access or permit requirements that they need to be aware of.

This information may be obtained from other relevant authorities such as:

Factors to consider when assessing the suitability of outdoor locations should include:

  • staff experience and qualifications required for the activity and location (including first aid)
  • the level of access to resources, services and facilities that may be needed, such as campsites, water, walking trails, toilets, shelter from extreme weather, or interpretive information
  • the level of access to communication equipment and networks for routine and emergency use
  • evacuation points and routes including alternative routes in the event of an emergency
  • the external assistance available in the event of an emergency or extreme weather conditions. The more remote the location, the more self-contained and self-reliant the group must be. This must be taken into account in the planning of the activity
  • the potential exposure to environmental hazards and difficulties
  • the ability and fitness levels of students
Chapter in the Excursion Guidelines outlining requirements relating to venue selection for excursions, including the selection of outdoor venues

Reviewed 25 November 2020

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