Camps & Excursions

Camps, Excursions and Incursions (performances and activities brought into the school) are elements of the rich tapestry of learning experiences students may encounter during their years at Woodend Primary School.

These experiences are most beneficial if they are planned with the idea of connecting to other learning students are experiencing. These experiences help convey an understanding to students about learning opportunities being diverse and beyond the classroom.

The planning and organization of camps and excursions is subject to health and safety requirements, which are articulated in the DECD document: CAMPS & EXCURSIONS GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS AND PRESCHOOLS

We believe that when camps, excursions and incursions are organized, all students in the class should participate. However, at times, some students may not be invited to participate. Participation is not only subject to parent consent and payment, but also subject to teachers’ determination on whether students are meeting school behaviour and other learning requirements at an appropriate level. Parents will be consulted in these matters.

Camps

We really value camps as a great learning and bonding experience for students and their teachers and hope that every child at some time in their years at Woodend will have the opportunity to go on camp. We include our biennial Canberra trip for Yr 6/7 students as a camp. For the purpose of this policy statement, sleepovers are also defined as camps.

We are very fortunate that teachers willingly give their time and effort to participate in camps. Teachers are not required to engage in camps. Organizing camps is a voluntary extra. It is entirely up to the teacher to opt in to a camping experience and then consult with families about the possibility of planning such an experience. While we love the tradition of all our Yr 6/7 students having the opportunity to go on the Canberra trip every two years, there is no requirement for any or all of the Yr 6/7 class teachers to engage in this experience.

If students are attending camp, it is most desirable that the class teacher is an active organizer and participant in the camp. If a teacher(s) is unable to attend a camp, it is possible for another teacher (s) to attend in place, as long as:

◆ The required teacher ratios and levels of expertise are able to be met;
◆ The teachers are willing to make this arrangement;
◆ The cost of replacement teachers is adequately covered in the camp fees.

It is also likely that teachers may choose to plan and organize a camping experience for a number of classes together. This is entirely up to the teachers to organize in consultation with families.

In organizing camps, teachers will also ensure the following:

◆ There is a relevant connection to past, present or future learning activities.
◆ All foreseeable risks are assessed and minimized in accordance with the DECD CAMPS & EXCURSIONS GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS AND PRESCHOOLS.
◆ Where possible, for adult supervision ratios, an improved gender balance is achieved. Appropriate criminal history screening and induction has been conducted for all volunteers assisting with camp. Volunteers will be selected, at the discretion of the teachers based on the gender and skills requirements.
◆ Adequate capacity of the campsite to cater for all the supervision, activity, catering and accommodation, transport, communication and safety needs. Where possible campsites will be inspected by a teacher (s) before booking for the first time or if there has not been a WPS camp at that site for more than three years.
◆ Costs have been minimized with the intention of maximizing attendance of students. Consideration on a hardship /needs basis will be given to subsidizing costs for some families.
◆ Transport to the campsite will most often be by buses. They will be fitted with seatbelts. A risk assessment will be made of other transport depending on the travel distance. Private vehicles may be used for short distances if buses are not a viable alternative.
◆ Parents have been given a minimum of ten weeks’ notice of intention and costs. For Canberra, one year’s notice will be given.
◆ Closer to the event parents will be given information regarding transport arrangements, time of departure and arrival, activities and venues, what to pack, sleeping arrangements, medical requirements, food and drink, contact details etc.
◆ Before departing from the school, all planning processes have been documented and signed off by the organising teacher using the school, camp planning and risk assessment form.
◆ Evaluation is conducted by teachers of all aspects of the camp after the event, to inform future use..

Excursions and Incursions

Participation in Excursions (outside school grounds) and Incursions (performances and activities brought into the school) is supported by the Excursion and Performance (Incursion) Levy that parents pay upfront for each student at the beginning of each year. Swimming and Aquatics are funded by parents and are not included in the Excursion and Performance Levy. In addition there are excursions and incursions that are made available to all classes, some classes, or some groups of students, which are funded by the school through various programs such as the Arts, Japanese, PE etc.

Incursions are not just performances. They may be scientific activities like Lab on Legs or the Planetarium; they may be physical activity related like Footsteps dance or sporting associations conducting clinics, bike safety; maths problem solving; cartoonists, illustrators and authors talking about their craft.

The Excursion and Performance (Incursion) Levy has two components: $45 up front and up to $15 more that may be requested of parents on a needs basis once the $45 has been spent. No further funds may be requested from parents for excursions or incursions for the year. It is expected that if the balance of the levy for any class is over $5 per student at the end of the year, a refund will be paid to parents.

It is expected that all students will participate in the activities arranged for the class, however, this will be contingent on the levy being paid and behaviour and learning requirements being met by students. Parents may choose to opt their child out of an activity for cultural or religious reasons.

It is expected there will be full use of the excursion and performance levy by each class each year. It is expected that there is at least one excursion per year for every class and that funds not spent on excursions are spent on incursions. A teacher may choose to use all the levy for excursions. It is expected that excursions and incursions are spread throughout the year and not left until the end of the year.

At least once per term it is expected that parents will be kept informed of excursions and incursions that have been funded by the levy.

Excursions and Incursions

Excursions may include off site visits to museums, galleries, theatres and organizations as well as parks and other schools. The purpose will be to enhance student learning through cultural, scientific, sporting and adventure activities and performances.

In organizing excursions, teachers will also ensure the following:

◆ There is a relevant connection to past, present or future learning activities.
◆ All foreseeable risks are assessed and minimized in accordance with the DECD CAMPS & EXCURSIONS GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS AND PRESCHOOLS.
◆ Where possible, for adult supervision ratios, an improved gender balance is achieved. Appropriate criminal history screening and induction has been conducted for all volunteers assisting with the excursion.
◆ Adequate arrangements are made for students remaining at school.
◆ Transport will most often be by buses fitted with seatbelts. A risk assessment will be made of other transport depending on the travel distance. Private vehicles may be used for short distances if buses are not a viable alternative.
◆ It is expected that parents are given at least two weeks’ notice of planned excursions. This notification should include transport arrangements, time or departure and arrival, activities and venues, food and drink, medical etc.
◆ Before departing from the school, all planning processes have been documented and signed off by the organising teacher using the school excursion planning and risk assessment form.
◆ A review is conducted after the event to provide feedback to other teachers about the value and quality of this learning experience.