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Outdoor Education today includes a wide spectrum of out-of-school programs ranging from students working outside the classroom in the local park, visiting town or a local agricultural show, through to outdoor recreation and adventure education programs.

These guidelines are designed to enable schools to develop and implement outdoor education programs and to take advantage of the vast range of learning opportunities and resources available in local communities and in our diverse environment.

Principals and teachers have a duty of care to all their students, staff and assisting adults when they are out of the school, just as they do when working in the classroom or school grounds. (See Legal issues)

The Principal also has the responsibility for all arrangements for out-of-school programs, again whether it is a local excursion or a challenging outdoor activity, including arrangements for appropriate Supervision and Safety and risk management.

Decision-making about out-of-school excursions and activity programs should be made at the school level where the knowledge of local circumstances, including knowledge of the students, staff and accompanying adults, is greatest.

However, such decisions must be taken in the context of the advice and instructions contained in the Guidelines.

Using the guide

Teachers planning minor excursions to parks, museums, environment centres or other places of educational value within the local community, or undertaking an environmental studies program, should refer to Working outside the classroom (Major and minor Excursions)

Teachers planning overnight and residential excursions and adventure activities that have an inherent risk factor should refer to Activity guidelines

All Principals and teachers should, however, view the Essential planning information links, and in particular, those relating to Supervision, Approval processes, and Safety and risk management before proceeding to individual program planning.