Planning a school camp
A unique mixture of fun, skill-building and curriculum, school camps can be a rich and rewarding experience for students of all ages.
Schools camps offer a great opportunity for teachers to take students outside of their normal setting and comfort zone. Away from their television and computer screens, students are in an ideal frame of mind to learn and practice special skills, get active and experience activities that are unusual and challenging.
For teachers, a well-planned school camp can be a great way of re-connecting with students and a welcome break from the classroom routine. A poorly-planned school camp, on the other hand, can be hectic and stressful.
The key to putting together a great school camp is careful preparation. Ensuring you understand the guidelines set down by your school and by relevant authorities in your state or territory is a good place to begin – see below for some helpful links. Here’s a little advice to get you started on your way to a safe and successful school camp:
Start planning the details as early as you can – including what time you’ll be leaving and arriving, what route you’ll take to get there, catering and accommodation arrangements and a detailed itinerary for each day of your camp.
There’s no universal rule regarding supervision – it will depend on the age and maturity of the students and the activities they’ll be doing. You school might have specific policy regarding student-teacher ratio on camps; otherwise, you’ll need to use your judgment to ensure there are sufficient teachers to maintain control. The staff at your school camp venue might supervise various activities, but remember that teachers retain the ultimate responsibility for supervision.
Brief all supervisors on safety and behaviour measures prior to the excursion and provide them with a detailed itinerary.
Information for parents & students
Give your students and their parents a detailed check list of everything they should bring, including sun cream, hats and other protection measures they may require on camp, as well as suggested clothing and footwear.
Ensure you have emergency contact information for each student, as well as details on allergies, relevant medical history and medication location, administration and dosage.
Outline camp rules and expectations around behaviour (particularly policy relating to smoking and drinking for older pupils), and notify parents that they may be required to collect their child if the student breaks camp rules.
Meet with your supervising teachers to develop strategies for coping with emergency situations, including minor and major injury, illness, lost pupils, extreme weather and evacuation plans. Ensure you have well-stocked first aid provisions and information on the quickest way of obtaining medical assistance.
All Australian states and territories have guidelines and procedures covering primary and secondary school camps.
- South Australia – Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS)
- New South Wales – Department of Education and Training
- Victoria – Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors
- Queensland – Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS)
- Tasmania – The Department of Education
- Australian Capital Territory – The Department of Education and Training
- Western Australia – West Australian Department of Education
- Northern Territory – Department of Education and Training