All activities must be led by staff who are appropriately trained and competent in those areas. Competency can be measured by experience and/or qualifications. Staff have the right to say no to taking an event.
An effective supervision plan for a large group allows the person in charge to be free from directly supervising students, where possible, so they can have an overview of the whole group. The plan should still be effective if one or more of the activity leaders or assistants become unavailable for any reason.
Depending on the activity, there may be forms for staff or volunteers to complete such as the Volunteer Assistant Agreement or Activity Leader/Assistant Competence form.
Parents, contractors, volunteers, and student leaders must be checked for their suitability to work with children and adults. They need suitable skills for the activity, and to comply with the school's policy on police vetting non-teachers and conducting other checks and inquiries.
No one assisting with or participating in an EOTC activity may consume alcohol, illegal drugs, or other harmful substances. Our Smokefree policy applies to school activities on and off the school grounds. No one may smoke while supervising students.
Also see EOTC Parent Help
The supervision ratio is established as part of the Safety Action Plan (SAP) or Risk Management Plan (RAMS). The ratio compares the number of skilled and experienced supervisors to the number of learners or participants in an activity. An EOTC activity may have a combination of ratios, and ratiosshould match the level of risk involved.
The person in charge determines the ratio based on the following considerations:
- the competence of the staff, including volunteer assistants and student leaders
- first aid cover
- gender, age, behaviour, and ability of students
- any special needs of students (medical, educational, capability)
- the duration and the nature of the activity (e.g. land-based or water-based)
- the nature of the site (e.g. remoteness)
- site requirements (e.g. permits)
- contingency options
- the level of first aid cover required for the activity
- access to emergency services
- the season, and weather forecast.
If in doubt, staff should take a conservative approach and/or seek professional advice when deciding on an appropriate supervision plan. The EOTC Guidelines 2016 (Appendix 3) contain contact information for professional bodies that can help (see below).
General supervision guidelines
All activity leaders and assistants should:
- be fully briefed on the activity and related safety procedures
- be assigned to a specific group of students (where possible)
- have an opportunity to get to know their group early on
- carry a list of names of all students in their group (with emergency contact details and other relevant student information)
- be aware of students who require closer supervision
- involve students in the safety procedures
- set up buddy or team support structures
- if possible, ensure that adults are not left alone with a student
- do regular head counts of students during all types of EOTC event.
On overnight trips, a male and a female staff member or volunteer must be available at all times for overnight supervision if the event includes both male and female students.
EOTC event inventory and staff competence register
We document our EOTC events and activities for the year, along with associated staffing and supervision requirements, as part of our EOTC planning. We use this information to identify and address any gaps in staff competence, which is needed to run our EOTC programme effectively and safely.
See EOTC Activity Inventory and Staff Competence Register (this form is a template to adapt to meet your school's needs).
- EOTC Guidelines 2016: Bringing the Curriculum Alive (Effective Supervision, paras 206–214)
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