October | 2020

Excursions are an opportunity for children to experience new places and activities. They are rich learning opportunities. However, excursions may involve more risk than the service’s normal location. So careful planning is needed to assess and minimise risk.

This fact sheet summarises the legal requirements relating to excursions. It also provides links to useful resources.

Have policies and procedures

Education and care services must have policies and procedures in place (Education and Care Services National Regulations, r. 168), including procedures that comply with rr. 99-102.

Assess risk

Undertaking a risk assessment (rr. 100-101) is part of planning a routine outing or excursion. It must be carried out before seeking written permission from parents.

The risk assessment must identify risks to the safety, health or wellbeing of any child on the excursion. It must detail strategies for minimising and managing those risks.

A visit to the proposed excursion destination will help you with your risk assessment. You can gather information about the availability of toilets, handwashing, drinking and shade facilities. Details can be checked, such as mobile phone coverage and access for emergency services.

The risk assessment must consider:

  • the proposed route and destination for the excursion
  • the proposed route and duration of the transportation
  • the process for entering and exiting the education and care service premises and the pick-up location or destination (as required)
  • procedures for embarking and disembarking the transport, including how each child is to be accounted for on embarking and disembarking
  • any legal requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints 
  • any water hazards and risks associated with water-based activities
  • the means of transport
  • the number of adults and children involved, including head counts or allocating a group of children to a particular adult or educator
  • the number of educators or other responsible adults needed to provide adequate supervision, and whether any specialised skills are required to ensure children’s safety
  • the proposed activities
  • the likely length of time of the excursion
  • the items that should be taken on the excursion.

Excursions may bring greater risk than being at the service’s normal location. So additional adults may be needed to ensure the safety of children on excursions. 

See also Safe transportation of children fact sheet by ACECQA.

Seek permission (authorisation)

Written permission (authorisation) must be provided by a parent or caregiver for an excursion before a child leaves an education and care service (r. 102). It must state:

  • the child’s name
  • the reason the child is to be taken outside the service premises
  • the date the child is to be taken on the excursion (unless the authorisation is for a regular outing) and the period the child will be away from the premises
  • a description of the proposed destination and activities to be undertaken
  • the means of transport to be used
  • any legal requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints 
  • the anticipated number of children likely to be attending
  • the anticipated educator-to-child ratio and the number of staff members and any other adults who will accompany and supervise the children
  • that a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the service.

Where an education and care service is provided at a school, it is not considered an excursion if children do not leave the school site. For example, if a preschool group visits the library within the school, it is not an excursion or regular outing.

For a regular outing, authorisation only needs to be obtained once every 12 months.

If the excursion occurs regularly, and a risk assessment has previously been conducted, a further risk assessment is not required unless the circumstances of the outing have changed.


Make sure that all educators, other carers, any other adults, parents and guardians of the children involved are informed about the excursion plans and are aware of the risk assessment undertaken.

Monitor and review

Check that your plans are effective. Revise as necessary during the excursion. After the excursion, consider:

  • How safe was the environment for the children?
  • How well supervised were the children?
  • How well did they participate?
  • What benefits did the activities provide?

If necessary, make modifications for any future excursions to the same location.

Useful resources

Contact details

Education Standards Board
Phone: (08) 8226 0077 or 1800 882 413
Email: educationstandardsboard [at] sa.gov.au 

This fact sheet provides guidance for approved providers of education and care services to help them operate in line with the National Quality Framework. We also recommend referring directly to the legislation: