1 POLICY ON THE MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOL EXCURSIONS CONTENTS 1. Definitions 2. Scope and application 3. Constitutional and legislative framework 4. School excursions 5. General principles 6. Specific requirements 7. Educators in charge of school excursions 8. Excursions outside the Republic of South Africa 9. Supervision of learners during an excursion 10. School transport 11. Public transport service
2 1. Definitions In this policy, any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Act, has the same meaning assigned to it, and unless the context otherwise indicates - bus means a motor vehicle designed, or lawfully adapted, by a registered manufacturer in compliance with the Road Traffic Act, 1998 (Act 29 of 1998), to carry more than 35 persons, excluding the driver, subject to section 31 of the Road Traffic Act. charter service means a public transport service operated by road, involving the hire of a vehicle and a driver for a journey at a charge arranged beforehand with the operator, where (a) neither the operator nor driver charges the passengers individual fares; (b) the person hiring the service has the right to decide the route, date and time of travel; and (c) the passengers are conveyed to a common destination. closed water refers to a controlled water environment (still or moving), such as a swimming pool, sheltered coastal body of water, river, dam waterhole or inland body of water. department means the Western Cape Education Department. driver means any person who drives or attempts to drive any vehicle or who rides or attempts to ride any pedal cycle or who leads or drives any draught, pack or saddled animal, or herd or a flock of animals. driving licence means a driving licence referred to in the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act 93 of 1996). educational activity refers to any learning activity conducted off the school premises, organised and supervised by the teachers of learners, approved by the school principal, and within the context of a school activity. educator means any person (excluding a person who is appointed to exclusively perform extra-curricular duties) who teaches, educates or trains other persons or who provides professional educational services, including professional therapy and educational psychological services, at a school. educator in charge refers to the educator who has the responsibility of planning for and conducting the excursion and who has a primary responsibility for the care and safety of the learners. external rescue provider refers to any adult who holds appropriate rescue and resuscitation qualifications and who is contracted to provide a professional service for a fee, e.g. a commercial life guard. governing body means a governing body contemplated in section 16(1) of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996).
3 gross vehicle mass means, in relation to a motor vehicle, the maximum mass of such a vehicle and its load specified by the manufacturer thereof, or, in the absence of such specification, as determined by the registering authority. Head of Department means the head of the Western Cape Education Department. identity document means an identity document as defined in section 1 of the Identification Act, 1986 (Act 72 of 1986). indemnity form refers to a written undertaking, completed and signed by a learner s parent, not to take civil action against the school, the department and/ or its employees. independent school means a school registered or deemed to be registered in terms of section 46 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996). land transport means the movement of persons and goods on or across land by means of any conveyance and through the use of any infrastructure and facilities connected therewith. learner means any person receiving education or obliged to receive education in terms of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996). member of staff means a person employed at a school. midibus means a motor vehicle designed, or lawfully adapted by a registered manufacturer in compliance with the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989), to carry 19 to 35 seated persons, excluding the driver. minibus means a motor vehicle designed, or lawfully adapted by a registered manufacturer, in compliance with the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989), to carry from 9 to 18 seated persons, excluding the driver. minibus-taxi-type service means an unscheduled public transport service operated on a specified route or routes, or, where applicable, within a particular area, by means of a motor car, minibus or midibus, subject to section 31 of the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989). motor car means a motor vehicle, other than a motor cycle, motor tricycle or motor or motor quadrucycle as those vehicles are defined in the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989), designed or lawfully adapted by a registered manufacturer to carry not more than 8 persons, excluding the driver. operate on a public road or any like expression in relation to a vehicle, means use or drive a vehicle or permit a vehicle to be used or driven on a public road, or to have or to permit a vehicle to be on a public road.
4 owner in relation to a vehicle, means- (a) a person who has the right to use and enjoyment of a vehicle in terms of the common law or a contractual agreement with the title holder of such a vehicle; or (b) any person referred to in (a) above for any period during which such person has failed to return such vehicle to the title holder in accordance with the contractual agreement referred to in (a) above. parent means (a) the biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian of a learner; (b) the person legally entitled to custody of a learner; or (c) the person who undertakes to fulfill the obligations of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) towards the learner s education at school. principal means an educator appointed or acting as the head of the school. public road means any road, street or thoroughfare or any other place (whether a thoroughfare or not) which is commonly used by the public or any section thereof which the public or any section thereof has right of access, and includes- (a) the verge of any road, street or thoroughfare; (b) any bridge, ferry or drift traversed by any such road, street or thoroughfare; and (c) any other object forming part of or connected with or belonging to such road, street or throughfare. public transport operator means a person carrying on the business of operating a public transport service. public transport service means a service for the carriage of passengers by road or rail, whether the service is subject to a contract or not, and where the service is provided for a fare or other consideration or reward, including any service that is (a) a scheduled service; (b) an unscheduled service, which includes a minibus-taxi-type service; (c) a charter service; (d) a long-distance service; (e) a metered taxi service; (f) a rail service; (g) a tourist service; or (h) a shuttle service; and, except where clearly inappropriate, the term public transport must be interpreted accordingly. school means a public school or an independent school which enrolls learners in one or more grades from Grade R (Reception) to Grade 12. school activity means any official educational, cultural, recreational or social activity of the school on or off the school premises.
5 school fees means school fees contemplated in section 39 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), and includes any form of contribution of a monetary nature made or paid by a person or body in relation to the attendance or participation of a learner in any programme of a public school. scholar transport means the dedicated transporting of scholars, learners and educators as contemplated in section 72 of the Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act 93 of 1996) and does not include the transporting of such persons as part of normal public transport. supervision means the management and control of learners at school and during school activities. supervisor refers to an adult who acts in a designated supervisory capacity, and may be a member of a teaching or non-teaching staff, a parent or other volunteer. supervisory team means all adults who supervise an excursion. roadworthy certificate means a certificate certifying the roadworthiness of a motor vehicle in accordance with the requirements of the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989). water-based excursions any excursion where activities occur in, on or around water and which may present risks to the safety of learners. 2. Scope and application This policy applies to all school excursions organised by public schools in the Western Cape and approved by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), within the context of school activities as defined in the South African Schools Act (SASA), 1996 (Act 84 of 1996). 3. Constitutional and legislative framework 3.1 The following constitutional and legislative frameworks underpin this policy: (a) The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, (b) The South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996). (c) The Regulations on Safety Measures at Public Schools, Government Gazette No , dated 10 November (d) The National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act 93 of 1996). (e) The Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989). (f) The National Land Transport Act, 2009 (Act 5 of 2009). (g) The National Land Transport Transition Act, 2000 (Act 22 of 2000). (h) The National Road Traffic Regulations, (i) The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, 1998 (Act 46 of 1998) (j) The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Regulations, (k) The Western Cape Provincial School Education Act, 1997 (Act 12 of 1997).
6 4. School excursions 4.1 A school excursion is an official school activity involving a learning experience on or off the school site. 4.2 The activity is initiated, organised and supervised by the school, approved by the Head of Department, or his or her delegate, the district director, in consultation with the IMG head in the education district. 4.3 An excursion is an integral part of the school s curriculum, and/ or the extra-curricular programme of the school. 4.4 The nature of an excursion may vary from a brief visit to a local place of interest to an extended journey over a number of days and requiring overnight accommodation. 4.5 An excursion may take place within an official school week or term, with permission from the Head of Department, or his/her delegate. 4.6 Since excursions offer enrichment of the planned curriculum, all learners within the specific learning area or group should be given an opportunity to participate. When offering enrichment opportunities to a learner or group of learners, Section 41 paragraph 7(a) (d) of SASA should always be considered. 4.7 Because excursions fall within the context of a school activity, the same standard of conduct that is required by the school s Code of Conduct, as well as the obligation to report learner or educator misconduct or child abuse, applies equally and, throughout the excursion, in the same manner as it would in the school context.
7 5. General principles 5.1 All school activities must be organised in accordance with the relevant national and provincial legislative requirements. 5.2 It is advisable to plan school excursions well in advance, preferably during quarterly or annual planning. 5.3 School excursions must be approved and authorized by the school principal and the SGB. Where there is more than one school involved, the principals of all participating schools and their SGBs should approve and authorize the excursion. 5.4 Final approval must be obtained by the principal by way of application to the relevant district director in accordance with the procedure outlined in parag. 7 below. 5.5 In approving excursions, principals and district directors must- (a) consider the educational value of such excursions in relation to the total needs and resources of the school; (b) ensure that the school excursion has clear educational value in relation to subjects, learners needs and the school s curriculum; and (c) ensure that consultation takes place prior to the excursion between the principal and educators involved. 5.6 A risk assessment must be conducted prior to all school excursions. This assessment must consider the following: (a) Financial affordability to learners. (b) Relevance to the curriculum or subject. (c) Safety, e.g. type of transport to be used, possible weather conditions. (d) Health and age of educators and learners.
8 6. Specific requirements 6.1 Prior to any excursion taking place, the school governing body and the parents of the learners concerned must be informed in writing in advance of (a) the full details of the planned excursion, including the destination, purpose, costs involved, date and time of departure, transportation and eating arrangements, estimated time of return, and the excursion itinerary or programme; and (b) whether the excursion will include travelling through areas where there is a risk of disease or violence. 6.2 Signed parental consent forms, granting permission for a learner to participate in the excursion, must be obtained from the relevant parents. 6.3 Parents may not be asked to sign indemnity forms that indemnify the school against any legal action that may arise as a result of undertaking the excursion, nor should learners be refused participation based on the parent s refusal to sign an indemnity form. 6.4 If some parents do not permit their learners to participate in a school excursion, the school must arrange an alternative educational programme, which could be normal classes at school. 7. Educators in charge of school excursions 7.1 Educators in charge of or responsible for the excursion must (a) complete the application form contemplated in Schedule 1 to the Regulations on Safety Measures at Public Schools, published in terms of the SASA. (b) submit the completed application form for approval by the relevant district director or his or her delegate. 7.2 For one-day excursions, the application must be submitted a month before the commencement of the proposed excursion. (This applies to all excursions scheduled to take up a single school day or part of a school day.) The application form must be accompanied by- (a) the approval of the school governing body and parents; (b) the excursion programme, indicating how it will be integrated into the curriculum; (c) an undertaking that all learners of subject group, class, grade, etc., will form part of the compulsory tuition programme (extension of classroom); (d) that learners will be accompanied by the particular subject or class educator concerned.
9 7.3 For excursions or tours lasting more than a single day, the application must be submitted 3 months before the commencement of the proposed excursion or tour. It must be accompanied by (a) a clear written explanation as to why the proposed excursion or tour cannot take place during a school recess or vacation; (b) the minutes of an SGB meeting as proof that the proposed excursion has been approved by the SGB and parents; (c) a written description of the arrangements to ensure that learners and staff members not going on tour, for whatever reasons, will continue with their normal school duties and activities; (d) the excursion or tour programme, with details of proposed dates, routes, places to be visited, and the duration of the excursion or tour, and arrangements for transport and accommodation; (e) a written statement indicating the number and grade(s) of learners that will be going on the excursion or tour, and the number of male supervising staff and/or the number of female supervising staff accompanying the excursion or tour party; and (f) a written indication of how lost teaching time will be made up if not completely covered by the excursion or tour programme. 7.4 The school must make every effort to ensure the safety of learners during the excursion, including, but not limited to, the following- (a) The school must take out short-term insurance against accidents, injuries, general medical expenses, hospitalization and theft. In the event of an injury suffered by a learner, the school must be willing to assist the parent concerned in claiming from the insurer on behalf of the learner, and against the Road Accident Fund, where applicable. (b) The school must ensure that the learners are under the supervision of an accompanying educator at all times, taking into account the gender composition of the learner group. (c) The educator: learner ratio is at least 1 educator or parent or other adult for every 20 primary school learners, or at least 1 educator, parent or other adult for every 30 secondary school learners. (d) Supervisors other than educators are screened to work with children.
10 7.5 Should any learner be on medication while participating in the excursion or tour, the following precautions must be taken: (a) Parents of such learners must report to the school, in writing, the medical condition of their child before the excursion. (b) The principal must provide the supervising educator with a report on the medical conditions of such learners. (c) Sufficient quantities of medication must be provided by parents for learners who require medication during school excursions. (d) Certified copies of doctors prescriptions for those medications must be provided by the parents of the learners concerned. 7.6 If a learner is injured or falls ill during the course of an excursion, and requires medical treatment, the supervising educator must- (a) take measures to contact the parents of the learner. (b) contact the parent of the learner concerned to obtain written consent for such medical treatment. (c) determine whether or not to consent to such medical treatment, if he or she is unable to contact the parent of the learner. 8. Excursions outside the Republic of South Africa 8.1 All of the measures stated above also apply, apart from necessary changes, to excursions outside the Republic. Approval must be obtained from the Head of Department for excursions outside the Republic and requests for such approval must be submitted one year in advance of the excursion and must be accompanied by the following information in writing (a) the purpose of the excursion; (b) the nature of the activities to be undertaken during the excursion; (c) the full itinerary for the excursion, with contact details of the hosts and supervising educators; (d) the nature of transport, accommodation and catering arrangements; (e) documentary proof or assurance that the necessary funds will be, or have been obtained by the school; 8.2 Schools must ensure that the (a) Parents concerned are informed that their children will need to acquire travel documents and inoculation certificates prior to the date of departure, and where these can be obtained. (b) Completed and signed parental consent forms are safely stored at the school.
11 9. Supervision of learners during an excursion Before the planned excursion is undertaken, principals must ensure that, in addition to the requirements stated in para above, (a) Reasonable precautionary measures have been taken in relation to the safety of the participating learners, educators and parents, and that the supervision will be adequate in relation to the number of learners, their maturity, anticipated behaviour and the planned activities. (b) In cases of extended excursions, supervising educators and accompanying educators recognize their duty to care for the safety and welfare of learners. (c) The supervising educator and accompanying educators are made aware that they retain the ultimate responsibility for supervision, care and welfare of learners and cannot transfer the responsibility to parents, volunteers or employees of external organisations, such as hotel staff or bus drivers. (d) In case of an overnight or extended excursions, supervisory and accommodation arrangements are such that no educator or parent is placed in a position where there is a potential for allegations of improper conduct to be made, or where the propriety of their behaviour can be questioned. (e) Volunteers or helpers are screened before the excursion. (f) Any excursions involving swimming, water-based activities or overnight stays are accompanied by an educator who possesses some qualification or training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and emergency care. (g) Where possible, that the area or place of the proposed excursion is assessed beforehand to identify potential problems or dangers, and to determine the level of supervision necessary to avoid the risk of injury. (h) Unscheduled alternative activities by participating learners, which were not originally part of the programme and for whom parental consent would normally have been necessary, must not be permitted, e.g. horse riding, water activities. 10. School transport A public school that owns vehicles for transporting learners must ensure that- (a) (b) (c) such vehicles have insurance and roadworthy certificates; drivers of such vehicles are in possession of a valid driving licence and a professional driving permit; and the drivers comply with a code of conduct provided by the transporting agency and by the school if they use the school s buses.
12 11. Public transport service 11.1 When using buses owned by a transport company or private owner, the school must ensure that the transport company or the owner of the vehicle(s), provide(s) the school with certified copies of- (a) the roadworthy certificates for each vehicle; (b) its passenger liability insurance policy ; and (c) the valid driver s licence(s) and professional driving permit(s) of the driver(s) If the excursion is for more than one day, the transport company or the owner of the vehicle(s) must provide (a) substitute driver(s) and a transport support system en route. Each vehicle must also have a fire extinguisher The principal, supervising educator or member of the school governing body must intervene if there is any doubt about the roadworthiness of the vehicle(s) or the competence of the driver(s) of the vehicle. They should conduct a cursory inspection of the bus to determine its roadworthiness to transport learners safely. The following should be noted during an inspection: (a) The condition of the tyres of the bus (b) The firmness of the windows. (c) The operation of the entrance and exit doors. (d) The firmness of the seating in the bus. (e) The general appearance of the bus. (f) Whether the windscreen wipers, head-, tail- and brake lights, and handbrake are in working order. (Ask for a demonstration before leaving.) (g) Whether the brakes of the bus are in sound working order. (A brief demonstration can be arranged on or immediately outside the school premises.) 11.4 The principal, supervising educator or member of the school governing body must liaise with the driver or owner of a bus if an accident must be reported to the police, and must report the accident himself or herself within 48 hours if the driver or the owner fails to do so Transport companies or owners must, in addition to the above, comply with the requirements for scholar transport set out in the Regulations for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Regulations, 2008, in particular Chapter 6, and any other notice which may, from time to time, be published in terms of such Regulations.