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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Supervision of Students

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure schools satisfy their duty of care in supervising students.

Summary

  • Principals must ensure:
    • appropriate arrangements are in place for student supervision before, during and after school hours
    • staff members are aware of their specific responsibilities relating to student supervision
    • parents/carers are regularly informed about supervision available before and after school
  • Parents/carers are responsible for the care and supervision of students travelling to and from school.

Details

Principals must:

  • arrange for student supervision according to school needs 
  • ensure staff are aware of their responsibilities to supervise students during school times as well as before and after school.

When making supervision arrangements schools must consider reasonably foreseeable risks of injury including hazards that:

  • are known
  • could have been foreseen and prevented.

School students cannot be used as supervision staff.

A template Yard Duty and Supervision Policy is available on the School Policy Templates Portal (login required). Schools can modify the template to suit their local circumstances.

Supervision responsibilities during school hours

The following lists supervision requirements/considerations for specific circumstances during school hours.

Recess and lunch times

Students must be supervised during recess and lunch. For students who seek to leave school premises during lunch or recess, procedures must be in place that incorporate:

  • written parent/carer requests for students under 18
  • short- and long-term lunch passes.

Cross age tutoring

Principals decide how much supervision to provide for formal cross-age tutoring programs based on:

  • the age and maturity of students
  • size of the group
  • nature of the activities
  • the location within the school.

Excursions

Schools must ensure appropriate levels of supervision are planned for all student excursions, including local excursions. Refer to Excursion Guidelines — Supervision.

Swimming pools

Students must always be supervised while using a swimming pool (including if a swimming pool is owned by a school, privately or by the municipal council). Refer to Excursion Guidelines — Adventure activities.

Visiting speakers/instructors

Teachers must supervise their students during a presentation from a guest speaker. Visiting speakers do not have the authority to supervise students in schools. This includes instructors providing religious instruction in schools. Refer to Visitors in Schools and Special Religious Instruction for more information.

Supervision responsibilities before and after school

Principals must ensure:

  • school supervision is provided for a minimum of 10 minutes before and after school
  • parents/carers are regularly informed about supervision available before and after school
  • sufficient teachers are available to supervise the departure of students at the end of the school day
  • teachers supervising departures are not called away for other duties without alternate supervision being arranged.

More supervision may be required:

  • before or after school, based on local circumstances
  • for primary students, particularly prep students.

Additional supervisory considerations at the beginning and end of the school day

One-teacher schools

Teachers at one-teacher schools have the same responsibility as all other schools, to take reasonable steps to prevent the risk of reasonable foreseeable harm to students. The following broadly outlines supervision roles and responsibilities with respect to one-teacher schools.

Teachers must:

  • supervise students during recess and lunch times or make other appropriate supervision arrangements
  • obtain permission from their regional director, on an annual basis, to leave the school regularly during lunch time.

Absence arrangements

Principals of one-teacher schools, in consultation with the teacher:

  • are responsible for ensuring absence plans are made, communicated to the teacher, and recorded in writing, for teacher absence
  • are encouraged to work with their regional office to make these arrangements
  • should also consult with their school council in regards to these arrangements, as a means of consulting with the school community.

Absence plans must include:

  • plans for arranging a relief teacher to attend at the school, where required
  • nominating at least one responsible adult (typically a member of school council), who lives in close proximity to the school, to act as a contact person for the teacher (or other person) if they are ill or unexpectedly delayed in arriving at the school. This nominee must:

Parent responsibilities and roles in supporting student supervision arrangements

Parents and carers are responsible for the care and supervision of students:

  • travelling to and from school
  • outside the times of school supervision before and after school.

Strategies to encourage parent or carer support for supervision

Schools can consider using a number of strategies to encourage parents/carers to support the supervision of students before and after school.

To assist schools to:

  • support student safety when travelling to and from school — parents/carers can be encouraged to consider:
    • whether their child is old and experienced enough to use public transport
    • how they can help educate their child in traffic safety
    • whether their child will need to cross busy roads to walk or catch transport
  • maintain student rolls - setting out students’ usual travel arrangements — parents/carers can be encouraged to
    • always let the school know when students’ usual travel arrangements are to change, even temporarily
  • maintain preferred or mandatory points of exit for students at the end of the day — parents/carers can be encouraged to:
    • use these exits
    • make sure that students are familiar with these exits and use them
  • apply traffic controls at the beginning and end of the school day, parents/carers can be encouraged to:
    • obey parking regulations, speed limits and other traffic controls to:
      • help to create a safe environment at exits to schools
      • show respect to neighbours who live close to the school
  • provide adequate supervision for students entering or exiting the school at the beginning and end of the school day — parents/carers can be encouraged to:
    •  avoid talking to teachers who are supervising entry or exits or school buses about their child’s progress. Parents/carers should arrange another time for this discussion.

Relevant legislation

Department policy setting out requirements for student supervision at school, including before and after school, one-teacher schools and the role and responsibilities of parents

Reviewed 14 April 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

School Operations and Governance Unit Schools and Regional Services

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