As the guardian for students in your care, you are responsible for ensuring appropriate risk management strategies have been put in place prior to a visit and that these strategies are followed during the visit.
Safety starts with good planning
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has developed comprehensive guidelines for planning outdoor activities for use by all Victorian schools. This includes a step-by-step process to risk management including a range of proformas to be used in your school’s excursion approval process.
Guidelines are also provided for the safe conduct of a range of outdoor activities that are often included in school programs such as abseiling, bushwalking, canoeing and overnight camping.
Ensure your students are informed
Prior to any visit, please make sure your students are aware of the type of environment they will be entering and how to respond to any hazards they encounter.
Ensure your students wear appropriate clothing and footwear or have this packed prior to leaving for your excursion. You could be held liable if you take students without appropriate clothing, footwear or equipment on an outdoor activity and an incident occurs.
On arrival at the park, please reinforce appropriate safety message with students such as staying on marked tracks and following all park signage.
Stick to the limits
The larger size of many school groups can have a significant impact on the environment. To reduce the impact of visitation, most parks have limits on the size of groups that can use areas like trails and campgrounds.
Each site will have its own group size limit based on a range of factors like toilet and washing facilities, how close the site is to sensitive environmental areas as well as safety factors such as the ability to respond to emergency situations at that site.
To find out the maximum group size at various sites call the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963.
Always stick to the limits as advised by Parks Victoria. Exceeding the limits breaches the DEECD Safety Guidelines and potentially opens the organising teacher up to liability for negligence in the case of an incident.
Keep informed about park conditions
As the organiser of a school excursion it is your responsibility to keep up-to-date with the current conditions in the park and be aware of any closures or hazards that may be in the park. Please refer to the following immediately prior to your visit. For further information please call the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963. Details of your visit should also be discussed with the local park office. If they are aware of your whereabouts, they will be better able to contact you if conditions in the park change.
- Change in park conditions - any change of conditions will be listed on the individual parks’ page.
- Code red park closures - information about park closures due to Total Fire Ban.
- Traveller Safety - a pre-visit checklist as well as information about what to do in case conditions change during your visit.
- Tree risk - information about the risk of falling trees and limbs.
- Bureau of Meteorology - view the latest forecasts and warnings for Victoria.
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