Camps and Excursion Policy

Vision

Fitzroy High School values children as individual learners who are full of potential and capable of excellence. Our students will be lifelong learners, reflective and creative thinkers, responsible and active citizens, and resilient and adaptable problem solvers able to navigate through an uncertain and constantly changing future. Fitzroy is a learning community where students and teams of teachers work together to:

  • Achieve high standards so that all students fulfil their capabilities in academic, intellectual, social, emotional and physical development
  • Celebrate diversity and embrace individual differences, including class, culture, race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity
  • Build a cohesive, compassionate and proud school community with a productive legacy for the future
  • Develop beyond our current capacity through continuous change and review
  • Participate in and contribute to our wider community. 

Philosophy

Fitzroy High embraces a bold and ambitious dream: striving for excellence and equity. We aim to be a humane learning community in which teachers use relationships to deepen their knowledge of students. This is in order to engage all of them in an intellectually challenging education based on powerful ideas, help them toward social maturity, and prepare them for a life of meaningful possibilities and active participation as Australian and global citizens.

Purpose

To explain to our school community the processes and procedures Fitzroy High School will use when planning and conducting camps, excursions and adventure activities for students.

Scope

This policy applies to all camps and excursions organised by Fitzroy High School. This policy also applies to adventure activities organised by Fitzroy High School, regardless of whether or not they take place on or off school grounds.

This policy is intended to complement the Department’s policy and guidelines on excursions, camps and adventure activities which all Victorian government schools are required to follow. Fitzroy High School will follow both this policy, as well as the Department’s policy and guidelines when planning for and conducting camps and excursions. 

This policy does not apply to student workplace learning or intercampus travel.

Definitions

Excursions:

For the purpose of this policy, excursions are activities organised by the school where the students:

  • are taken out of the school grounds (for example, a camp, day excursion, school sports);
  • undertake adventure activities, regardless of whether or not they occur outside the school grounds;

Camps are excursions involving at least one night’s accommodation (including school sleep-overs).

Local excursions are excursions to locations within walking distance of the school and do not involve ‘Adventure Activities’.

Adventure activities are activities that involve a greater than normal risk. Further information and examples of adventure activities are available on the Department’s website under Adventure Activities, at the following link: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/safety/pages/adventure.aspx

Note: workplace learning activities (such as work experience) and intercampus travel are not considered school excursions.  

Policy

Camps and excursions can provide a valuable educational experience for our students which are complementary to their learning, as they provide access to resources, environments and expertise that may not be available in the classroom.

For all camps and excursions, including adventure activities, our school will follow the Department’s School Policy and Advisory Guide: Excursions and Activities.  For camps and excursions requiring school council approval, our school will also follow the Department’s School Policy and Advisory Guide: Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors.

Planning process for camps and excursions

All camps and excursions will comply with Department planning requirements.

Part of this planning process includes conducting risk assessments, to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to minimise the risks associated with each proposed camp or excursion. Fitzroy High School’s risk assessment will include consideration of arrangements for supervision of students and consideration of the risk of bushfire activity in the excursion location. In the event of a Code Red Day being announced, excursions or camp activities in effected locations will be cancelled or rescheduled. Planning will also cover arrangements for cancelling, recalling or altering the camp or excursion for any other reason.

Fitzroy High School is committed to ensuring students with additional needs are provided with an inclusive camps and excursions program and will work with families during the planning stage, as needed, to support all students’ attendance and participation in camp and excursion activities.

In cases where a camp or excursion involves a particular class or year level group, the Organising Teacher will ensure that there is an alternative educational program available and appropriate supervision for those students not attending the camp or excursion.

Supervision

Fitzroy High School follows the Department’s guidelines in relation to supervision of students during excursions and camps.

All excursion staff (including parent volunteers) will be familiar with supervision requirements and the specific procedures for dealing with emergencies on each camp and excursion.

All school staff will be aware that they retain overall responsibility for the supervision and care of students throughout all camps and excursions (including adventure activities), regardless of whether or not external providers are managing the activity.

Parent volunteers

Parents may be invited to assist with camps and excursions. School staff will notify parents/carers of any costs associated with attending. School staff are in charge of camps and excursions and parent/carer volunteers are expected to follow teachers’ instructions. When deciding which parents/carers will attend, the Organising Teacher will take into account: any valuable skills the parents/carers have to offer (e.g. bus licence, first aid etc.) and the special needs of particular students.

Volunteer and external provider checks

Fitzroy High School values the many volunteers that assist with camps and excursions. To ensure that we are meeting our legal obligations under the Working With Children Act 2005 (Vic) and the Child Safe Standards, Fitzroy High School requires all parent or carer, camp or excursion volunteers and all external providers working directly with our students to have a current Working with Children Check card.

Parent/carer consent

For all camps and excursions, other than local excursions, Fitzroy High School will provide parents/carers with a specific consent form outlining the details of the proposed activity. Fitzroy High School uses Compass to inform parents about camps and excursions and to seek their consent Parents/carers are encouraged to contact the school to discuss any questions or concerns that they or their child may have with a proposed camp or excursion.  

For local excursions, Fitzroy High School will provide parents and carers with an annual Local Excursions consent form at the start of each school year or upon enrolment if students enrol during the school year. Example School will also provide advance notice to parents/carers of an upcoming local excursion through. For local excursions that occur on a recurring basis (for example weekly outings to the local oval for sports lessons), Example School will notify parents once only prior to the commencement of the recurring event.

Cost of camps and excursions, refunds and support

The cost of all camps and excursions are to be paid by parents/carers unless alternative arrangements have been agreed to by the Principal prior to the excursion. All families will be given sufficient time to make payments for all activities. Consent forms will have clearly stated payment amounts and payment finalisation dates.

School Council expects families to have made full payment or be committed to a payment plan by the required date before a camp or excursion. Students who have not finalised payment by the required date will not be allowed to attend unless the Principal determines exceptional circumstances.  

Fitzroy High School will make all efforts to ensure that students are not excluded for financial reasons. The Department’s Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) provides payments for eligible students to attend school activities, including camps and excursions.  Applications for the CSEF are open to families holding a valid means-tested concession card or temporary foster parents and are facilitated by the school. Further information about the CSEF and the application form are available at Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund.  For families experiencing financial difficulty, Fitzroy High School has a scholarship fund that can be sued to provide financial support for camps and excursions.

If a camp or excursion is cancelled or altered by Fitzroy High school, or a student is no longer able to attend part or all of the camp or excursion, our school will consider requests for partial or full refunds of payments made by parents/carers on a case-by-case basis taking into account the individual circumstances. Generally we will not be able to refund payments made for costs that have already been paid where those funds have already been transferred or committed to a third party and no refund is available to the school. Where possible, we will provide information about refunds to parents/carers at the time of payment.

Student health

Parents and carers need to ensure the school has up-to-date student health information prior to camps and excursions. A member of staff will be appointed with responsibility for the health needs of the students for each camp/excursion. Teachers will administer any medication provided according to our Medication policy and the student’s signed Medication Authority Form. To meet the school’s obligations relating to safety, a first aid kit and mobile phone will be taken by teachers on all camps and excursions.

It is the responsibility of parents and carers to ensure their child/children are in good health when attending excursions and camps. If a student becomes ill during a camp and is not able to continue at camp it is the parent/carer’s responsibility to collect them and cover any associated costs. If the Principal approves a student joining a camp late, transport to the camp is the parent/carer’s responsibility.

Behaviour expectations

Students participating in camps and excursions are required to cooperate and display appropriate behaviour to ensure the camp or excursion is a safe, positive and educational experience for all students involved.  Students are expected to uphold our school values of Trust, Engage and Respect.

Parents/carers will be notified if their child is in danger of losing the privilege to participate in an excursion or camp due to behaviour that does not meet the standards of behaviour set out in the school’s Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy and Mobile Phone Policy. The decision to exclude a student will be made by the Principal or Assistant Principal, in consultation with the Organising Teacher. Both the parent/carer and the student will be informed of this decision prior to the camp or excursion.

If on a camp or excursion the Teacher in Charge considers an individual student’s behaviour does not meet required standards, then the Principal or their nominee may determine that a student should return home during the camp or excursion. In these circumstances the parent/carer is responsible for the collection of the student and any costs associated with this.

Disciplinary measures apply to students on camps and excursions consistent with our school’s Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy.

Electronic Devices

Students are encouraged not to bring their mobile phone on camps and some camps phones are not permitted at all. If a student chooses to bring their phone on camp, phones will be handed into secure storage at the beginning of the camp and may only be used during times that are set by the Teacher in Charge. Eg: to call families at a set time during the day. Students are responsible for the care of any personal electronic device brought to a camp or excursions and the school will not be responsible for lost or damaged devices.

Food

Students are not permitted to bring their own supply of food items to camps and excursions unless the item is medically indicated and discussed with the Organising Teacher, or included as an item on the clothing and equipment list for that camp or excursion.

Accident and Ambulance Cover

Any costs associated with student injury rest with parents/carers unless the Department is liable in negligence (liability is not automatic).

Unless otherwise indicated, Fitzroy High School and the Department do not provide student accident or ambulance cover. Parents/carers may wish to obtain student accident insurance cover and/or ambulance cover, depending on their health insurance arrangements and any other personal considerations.  Fitzroy High School may consider obtaining travel insurance for excursions where we consider involve a greater than normal risk, for example interstate or overseas trips. Information about travel insurance is available here.]

Further information and resources

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following Department polices and guidelines:

The following school policies are also relevant to this Camps and Excursions Policy:

  • Statement of Values and School Philosophy
  • Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Duty of Care Policy
  • Parent Payment Policy
  • Mobile phone Policy