Schools must maintain duty of care on overseas trips

Minimising and addressing risks to the safety of students

Sunday, 14 January 2024 at 10:30 pm
Travelling student reads flight arrivals/departures board at airport

Victorian schools should be aware that their duty of care to protect the health and safety of students applies on overseas trips. 

A recent coronial inquest found that the death of a 16-year-old Victorian student during a 2019 school trip to Vietnam was preventable. The coroner identified failures by the school and trip organiser as contributors to the student’s death.  

This incident highlights the importance of Victorian schools adhering to the Minimum Standards and Requirements for School Registration. It demonstrates that consequences can be dire when schools do not take adequate precautions to ensure student safety. 

In accordance with the Minimum Standards, in both on-site and off-site environments, schools must: 

  • maintain accurate records of student medical conditions and their management
  • have an emergency management plan that addresses circumstances that pose a critical risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of one or more students or staff
  • review this plan at least annually and update it throughout the course of the year as activities such as school camps and excursions are approved by the school governing body
  • communicate policies and procedures on the care, safety and welfare of students to staff, students, parents, guardians and the school community.
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