This policy sets out requirements for schools to plan for and safely engage in walking to school activities organised by the school and/or third parties.
Active travel, which includes walking to school, has many health, social and environmental benefits. The Department encourages Victorian government schools to take part in walking to school activities such as VicHealth . However, it is the role of parents or carers and not the role of school staff to manage these initiatives and supervise students during these activities. Schools can refer parents interested in obtaining further information about walking to school activities to the parties managing and facilitating the activity such as VicHealth and/or the local municipal council.
Schools should ensure that their communications with parents and carers are clear that:
- these activities are initiatives of the organisations conducting them and not the school (in the case of VicHealth activities these are an initiative of VicHealth and local government)
- school staff have no role in managing or organising the activity
- teachers will not be supervising students when they are participating in the activity
- parents and carers who are supervising students travelling to and from school are responsible for considering and planning for any risks arising from the children’s walk (or, ride, scoot or skate) and the particular needs of the children under their supervision
If the school is aware of any other risks to the activity, the school must take reasonable steps to address those risks. For example, if the school becomes aware of a potential danger or threat to students actively travelling to or from school, reasonable steps to reduce this risk include notifying parents of the potential threat, and if relevant reporting to police or the local municipal council.
School-led or involved activity
A school would be considered to be involved in organising a walking to school activity if, for example, it makes arrangements for the supervision of students walking to school by school staff or sends staff to meeting points outside the school. In these circumstances, the principal must ensure they are providing a safe working environment for staff or parent volunteers who are supervising students walking, riding, scooting or skating to or from school.
The Principal must ensure an assessment of risks posed to students, supervising staff and parent volunteers is conducted. Communications to parents must contain all the information required in the Department’s policy.
Reviewed 02 November 2023