Preparing for excursions and ensuring compliance
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > Preparing for excursions and ensuring compliance

Preparing for excursions and ensuring compliance

by Freya Lucas

June 27, 2024

The New South Wales Department of Education, in its capacity as the state’s Regulatory Authority, has released some guidance and information about effective planning and record keeping to minimise risk when children are engaging in excursions. 


Excursions are enriching learning experiences for children, and can provide important opportunities for children to explore new environments, connect with their local community, and enhance their learning and understanding of the world. 


However changes in routine or environment can potentially lead to increased risk. As such, it is essential that early childhood education and care (ECEC) services engage in careful planning before taking children on an excursion.




Services must ensure that their excursion policies and procedures are compliant with the National Law and Regulations. Additional requirements apply where services arrange or provide transport children as part of the outing.


In NSW this includes ensuring that excursions provided are in line with the Children (Education and Care Services) Law (NSW) and Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Law and Regulations)


Key requirements are set out in Division 6 Collection of children from premises and excursions of the National Regulations, which outlines essential considerations for risk assessments and excursion authorisations.


Tips for excursion risk assessments and authorisations


The Department offers the following tips for excursion risk assessments and authorisation: 


  • Ensure the information you provide is specific to your service context and the proposed outing, destination and activity.
  • Provide accurate, detailed information and address all requirements outlined in the National Regulations.
  • Carefully check each risk assessment and authorisation once complete to ensure all required information has been provided and no field has been left blank.


Managing risks


Services are required to carry out a risk assessment prior to each excursion. The risk assessment must be conducted before the service seeks authorisation from a parent or carer for their child to participate in the outing (regulation 100).


Regulation 101 requires a comprehensive risk assessment that not only identifies risk but also provides strategies to mitigate all potential risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of children that may arise during the excursion.


The risk assessment should also include information about the location, duration and nature of the proposed activity, as well as the number of children and educators participating in the excursion.


If children will be attending multiple locations as part of one excursion, services must document this in their risk assessment. Services should provide details about each location and possible risks which may be encountered at and en route to each destination.


If the excursion involves transporting children, the risk assessment must also consider:


  • the means of transport
  • requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under NSW law
  • processes for entering and exiting the ECEC service premises
  • the pick-up location or destination (as required)
  • procedures for embarking and disembarking the means of transport, including how each child is to be accounted for
  • the proposed route (an image of the route can be included).


For further information services can download Kids and Traffic’s Transport safety risk assessment and management guide (PDF 1.3 MB) for further guidance on identifying and managing transport-related risks.


Authorisations for excursions


Under regulation 102 services must obtain written authorisation – from either a parent, carer or an authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record – before a child is taken outside a service premises for an excursion. Verbal authorisation is not sufficient.


An authorisation must state the child’s name and provide details of the excursion (regulation 102(4)), including but not limited to:


  • the purpose of the outing
  • the proposed destination and activities
  • the date and period of time children will be away from the service premises
  • the anticipated number of children attending and the educator-to-child ratio
  • transportation details
  • confirmation that a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the service.


Integrating details of a risk assessment in the authorisation form allows the service to communicate the safety measures in place to parents, ensuring informed consent.


Authorisation forms for excursions must be kept in an enrolment record for each child, as set out in regulation 161.


Kids and Traffic have a Transportation authorisation template and sample (PDF 1.3 MB) which may be of use.


Excursion or regular outing?


Some excursions may be considered a regular outing. A regular outing is a walk, drive or trip to and from a destination that a service visits regularly as part of its educational program (regulation 4).


Risk assessments for regular outings must be conducted every 12 months or whenever there is a change in circumstances, such as a change in location or when new risks are identified.


Services must obtain written authorisation from a parent, carer or an authorised nominee for a child to participate in a regular outing every 12 months. The authorisation form must meet the requirements of regulation 102(4) and be kept in the child’s enrolment record.


Further advice and support 


Additional resources which may be supportive in excursion planning include: 


NSW Department of Education






To read the original coverage of this story, as produced by the NSW Department of Education please see here

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