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Excursions and regular outings in early childhood services

There are legal requirements when early childhood services and family day care educators take children on excursions


Are outings organised by the service to a destination outside the service (except where the service is located on a school site and an educator is present).

Excursions and regular outings form part of the educational program, and provide valuable opportunities for children to explore the wider community.

Regular outings

Means a walk, drive or trip using other transport to or from a destination:

  • that the service visits regularly as part of its educational program, and
  • where the circumstances relevant to the risk assessment are substantially the same on each outing such as the same location, same number of children, same activities.

Preparing for an excursion or regular outing

Providers, nominated supervisors and family day care (FDC) educators must follow the steps below:

  • every time before an excursion
  • once every 12 months for regular outings and regular transportation, as long as the regular outing is substantially the same.

Policies and procedures - must be in place and followed

Each service must have their own policies and procedures in place for excursions and regular outings. These policies must be available, and followed by all staff and volunteers.

The excursions policy must set out how the service will:

  • conduct a risk assessment
  • consider the educator to child ratio required across the group of children
  • obtain authorisations from parents for the excursion
  • manage transport as part of the excursion
  • manage any specific health care need, allergy or diagnosed medical condition, and any medication required.

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has policy guidance on creating and reviewing an Excursion policy.

A risk assessment must be conducted

ACECQA has created templates to assist services to cover all the necessary elements required by law. Services may also wish to adapt this to their own needs. CS Act services can also use this template when conducting risk assessments.

The risk assessment must be conducted before:

  • an excursion, regular outing or regular transport can occur, and
  • before written authorisation from parents or guardians can be sought.

What must be considered in a risk assessment

  • The proposed route and destination for the excursion.
  • Any water hazards.
  • Risks associated with water-based activities.
  • The number of adults and children involved in the excursion.
  • The number of educators or other responsible adults appropriate to provide supervision and whether any adults with specialised skills are required.
  • What strategies will be put in place to account for all children on the excursion, especially during transition times between the service and the destination.
  • Proposed activities.
  • Proposed duration of the excursion.
  • Items that should be taken on the excursion.

Download ACECQA’s ‘Risk assessment and management template – Excursions’ at Sample forms and templates.

If the excursion involves transporting children the following must also be included:

  • the means of transport.
  • any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under Victorian law.
  • the process for entering and exiting the service premises and the pickup location or destination (as required).
  • procedures for embarking and disembarking the means of transport, including how each child is to be accounted for on embarking and disembarking.

Download ACECQA’s ‘Risk assessment and management template – Transporting children’ at Sample forms and templates.

For more information about transportation refer to Transporting children.

Step by step guide to conducting a risk assessment

There are many ways of developing a plan for an excursion that includes a risk assessment. The approved provider will need to develop one that works for educators, responsible adults and children taking part in the excursion.

State the purpose of the excursion

Identify how the excursion fits into the educational program for the children.

Note the length of the excursion

Indicate how long the children will be away from the service, family day care residence or family day care venue and any considerations relating to the length of the excursion.

List the activities of the excursion

List the activities of the excursion, breaking them down into parts. For example, leaving the service, family day care residence or family day care venue, travelling to the location, the environment at the location, each activity that will be done at the location, food and drink requirements and returning to the service, family day care residence or venue.

Identify risks and hazards

Identify what risks, hazards and other considerations may be present for each stage of the excursion. This may involve educators going to the location before the excursion to identify any risks and hazards.

Be mindful of issues such as the method of travel, any equipment that will be used, and the environment.

Consider the individual needs of children, including any medical needs and any behavioural or emotional support needs.

* Determining the number of adults that will be needed to supervise the children will be a large factor in managing identified risks.

Evaluate the level of risk and decide on precautions

Once you have identified the risks, you will need to categorise the risks as high, medium or low. You then need to decide how to manage each risk. You may be able to remove a risk altogether or reduce the children’s exposure to the risk.

Occasionally, after completing a risk assessment, you may decide the risks for the children are too high to undertake the excursion.

Record your findings

Document what you have found and what you intend to do about each of the risks that have been identified, to ensure precaution is taken to protect children being educated and cared for by the service from harm or hazard likely to cause injury.

Implement any plans you have to reduce or remove the risk

If it is possible to remove or reduce any risks or hazards do this before the excursion.

Communicate your plans

Communicate your plans to all educators, other staff and other responsible adults going on the excursion and to parents and guardians of the children involved.

Monitor and review your plans

Always check that your plans are effective. Monitor and revise them as necessary during the excursion.

Communicate your plans

Services must ensure that the risk assessment includes strategies for monitoring and accounting for children on excursions, to ensure children are accounted for at all times. Services should ensure children’s presence is always checked against an accurate attendance record.


When you are planning make sure that:

Written authorisation must be obtained from parents

No child must not be taken outside an education and care service, family day care residence or family day care venue on an excursion, regular outing or regular transportation without written authorisation from:

  • a parent or
  • another person named in the child’s enrolment record as having authority to authorise the taking of the child outside the education and care premises.

What must be included in the authorisation (for excursions and regular outings)

  • The child’s name.
  • The reason the child is to be taken outside the premises:
    • if the authorisation is for a regular outing, a description of when the child is to be taken
    • if the authorisation is for an excursion (not a regular outing) the date the child is to be taken on the excursion.
  • A description of the proposed destination for the excursion.
  • A description of the proposed pick-up location and destination.
  • The period of time during which the child is to be transported.
  • The anticipated number of children likely to be transported.
  • The anticipated number of staff members and any other adults who will accompany and supervise the children during the transportation.
  • That a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the education and care service.
  • That written policies and procedures for transporting children are available at the education and care service.

If transportation is included, the following additional information must also be included:

  • means of transport
  • reason the child is to be transported
  • description of when the child is to be transported
  • if the authorisation is not for regular transportation, the date the child is to be transported
  • any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under a law of each jurisdiction in which the children are being transported.

ACECQA’s information sheet ‘Safe Transportation of Children’ explains the requirements for transportation as part of excursions.


Authorisations, like risk assessments, must be done:

  • before each excursion
  • only once every 12 months for regular outings and regular transportation as long as it is not substantially different to the usual outing or transportation.

Copies of all risk assessments and authorisations should be kept for 3 years.

Other considerations

When planning for an excursion you must also ensure that:

  • children have adequate toilet, washing and drying facilities provided
  • children have access to safe drinking water and are offered appropriate food and beverages during the excursion
  • adequate health and hygiene practices are in place when handling, preparing and storing food
  • the service packs:
    • suitably equipped first aid kits (including EpiPens etc)
    • medication or other equipment to meet specific children’s medical needs
    • operating mobile telephones (and chargers if required)
    • contact information of any person who must be notified of any incident, injury, trauma or illness involving the child and the child’s registered medical practitioner or medical service
    • any items specific to the excursion circumstances, such as sunscreen and hats, etc.