Chapter 4



4.8.1Legislative and Policy Framework


  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) (Section 3(4)(l)) [NEPA]
  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]



  • Regulations for Safety Measures at Public Schools (Government Gazette 22754, 12 October 2001 and 29376, 10 November 2006) [NR SMP]



  • Gauteng Province: Regulations on Domestic and International Tours for learners at public schools (Provincial Gazette Extraordinary Vol 18, No. 129, 11 May 2012) [Reference B3 129/2012]
  • Internal Memo: Regulations of Excursions and Tours 28 January 2020 [Reference B3 28/01/2020]
  • Checklist for tours and excursions [Reference B3 26/01/2020]



  • Circular 0046/2013 WCED Guideline on the Management of School Excursions [Reference B9 0046/2013]

4.8.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Excursions

    1. As excursions are regarded as a curriculum activity, national policy on matters specified in Section 3(4) (l) of the NEPA applies to excursions as well (learning programmes, curriculum, etc.).
    2. The regulations on school safety (see 4.8.1 above) are very specific with regard to school activities (from the wording it is clear that school activity actually means an excursion):

8A School activities

      1. A public school must ensure that –
        • it completes the application form contemplated in Schedule 1 to the Regulations in duplicate if the school activity involves transporting of learners;
        • the application is approved by an official representing the provincial education department before such school activity is undertaken; and
        • a copy of the approved application form is handed to the school and the original is kept by the official representing the provincial education department.
      2. A public school must take measures to ensure the safety of learners during any school activity, including
        • insuring against accidents, injuries, general medical expenses, hospitalisation and theft that may occur, depending on the availability of funds;
        • ensuring, where reasonably practicable, that learners are under the supervision of an accompanying educator at all times;
        • requesting parents or other adults to assist in the supervision of learners;
        • ensuring that the educator-learner ratio is at least –
          • One educator, parent or other adult for every 20 learners in primary schools; or
          • One educator, parent or other adult for every 30 learners in secondary schools; and
        • ensuring that, in respect of the adult-learner ratio, gender is taken into account.
      3. An insurer of a school is contemplated in regulation 8A(2)(a) may not rely on section 60 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 to avoid liability in terms of the Insurance Policy.
      4. If an insurer is liable in the event of injury suffered by a learner, the school must assist the parent in claiming from the insurer on behalf of the learner.
      5. If the Road Accident Fund is liable in the event of injury suffered by a learner, the school must assist the parent in claiming from the Fund on behalf of the learner.
      6. A public school must assist a parent in any claim made in terms of section 60 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996.
      7. A public school must take measures to ensure that –
        • if a learner is on medication and will require medication during the course of school activities, the parent has seen to it that the learner has sufficient quantities of the medication for the duration of the school activities;
        • if it is necessary for a learner to carry a doctor’s prescription for medication, the parent has provided the learner and the supervising education with certified copies of such prescription;
        • a parent is advised to report to the school, in writing, the medical condition of a learner;
        • before a school activity, the principal provides a supervising educator with a report on the medical condition of a leaner; and
        • a parent is informed about any travelling to or through a high-risk disease area during the course of the school activity.
      8. A public school must take measures to ensure that, if a learner is injured or falls ill during the course of a school activity and requires medical treatment, the supervising educator –
      9. takes measures to contact the parent of the learner concerned in order to obtain consent for such medical treatment; and
      10. determines whether or not to consent to such medical treatment if he or she is unable to contact the parent of the learner.

[Reg 8A inserted by GN R1128 of 10 November 2006.]

8B Organisation of a school activity

      1. A public school must, in writing, supply the following information to the parent of the learner who will undertake the school activity:
        • The purpose of the school activity;
        • The nature of the activities to be undertaken during the school activity;
        • The full itinerary of the school activity, with contact details of the hosts and of the supervising educators;
        • The nature of transport, accommodation and catering arrangements;
        • Where applicable, the fact that the learner will need to acquire travelling documents and an inoculation certificate, and where they can be obtained;
        • The fact that the travelling documents must be obtained at least seven days prior to the date of departure; and
        • Any other relevant details.
      2. Immediately after returning from a school activity, the supervising educator must submit a report to the principal if any of the following has occurred.
        • Accident;
        • Injury to a learner, educator or driver or to any other person; or
        • Any act of misconduct on the part of a learner, educator or driver or of another person.
      3. The report must include the following information:
        • The nature of the incident;
        • The nature of the injury, if applicable;
        • The time, date and place of the incident;
        • Procedures that were followed in dealing with the incident; and
        • The name of the supervising educator.
      4. The principal must submit the report to the official who approved the school activity and to the chairperson of the school governing body.

[Reg 8B inserted by GN R1128 of 10 November 2006.]

8C Consent

      1. A public school must obtain written consent from the parent of the learner who will be undertaking the school activity.
      2. A public school may not request a parent to sign an indemnity form that indemnifies the school against any legal action that may arise as a result of the school activity.

[Reg 8C inserted by GN R1128 of 10 November 2006.]

8D Transport

      1. A public school must ensure that –
        • If it owns vehicles for transporting learners, such vehicles have insurance and roadworthy certificates;
        • The drivers of such vehicles are in possession of valid driving licenses and professional driving permits;
        • The transport company or the owner of the vehicles provides the school with the following:
          • Insurance and roadworthy certificates for each vehicle;
          • passenger liability insurance; and
          • valid driving license and professional driving permit of the driver;
          • the transport company or the owner of the vehicle provides a substitute driver and a transport support system en route; and
          • the vehicle transporting learners has a fire extinguisher.
      2. The principal, supervising educator or member of the school governing body must intervene if there is any doubt about the roadworthiness of the vehicle or the competence of the driver of the vehicle.
      3. The principal, supervising educator or member of the school governing body must liaise with the driver or the owner of the vehicle in connection with reporting any accident to the police, and must report the accident himself or herself, within 4 hours, if the driver or the owner of the vehicle fails to do so.

[Reg 8D inserted by GN R1128 of 10 November 2006.]

8E Physical activities

      1. No learner may be allowed to participate in physical activities, including sports, games or gymnastics, if –
        • The principal has reason to believe that such activity will be detrimental to the learner’s health; or
        • The parent has provided a medical certificate that prevents the learner from participating in such activity.
      2. The principal must ensure that learners are informed about the dangers of, and safety measures regarding, water.
      3. The safety measures regarding water contemplated in sub-regulation (2) apply to any swimming or water sports activities at
        • A swimming pool;
        • A river;
        • A dam; or
        • The ocean
      4. The principal must ensure that learners are supervised during all swimming activities, during visits to the sea, rivers and dams, and when they are taking part in water sports.
      5. If a public school has a swimming pool, the principal must ensure that notices regarding safety measures are displayed around the swimming pool.

[Reg 8E inserted by GN R1128 of 10 November 2006.]

4.8.3Guidelines for the Development of School Policy on Excursions

  1. Purpose of educational excursions
    Educational excursions are aimed at improving the implementation of the prescribed curriculum and therefore the quality of the teaching and learning process in the classroom.
  2. What is an educational excursion?
    An educational excursion is a structured learning experience provided by the school and comprises a visit to a place or event which is offering an enriching learning experience to the learner in terms of the requirements of the curriculum.
  3. Value of an excursion
    Excursions are educationally justifiable only when preceded by thorough preparation before the excursion takes place, when every opportunity is fully utilised during the excursion and when thorough follow-up work is done on return from the excursion.
  4. Types of excursions
    • Day visits
      A day visit takes place when learners visit one or more educational visiting points and return to the school the same day.
    • Tours
      An educational tour takes place when the learners spent one or more nights away from school.Sport tours and visits to other schools for sport activities are not educational excursions but the rules for arranging such tours and visits are the same.
  5. Planning educational excursions
    • Annual planning
      • Excursions should be planned a year in advance and should be indicated on the school’s year programme and the learning programmes used by the teachers.
      • Proper synchronising of all planned excursions is essential. Principals could consider appointing a committee for the planning of excursions.
      • School policy should specify the dates for the conclusion of excursions, e.g.
        Grade 12 first day of the third term
        Grades 3 to 11 last week of October
        Grades R to 2 the last day schools close for the December holidays
    • Number of excursions
      There is no limit to the number of excursions that a school may undertake per year. However, the planning of all the excursions for a year should be done in such a way that learners do not visit the same places more than once.
    • Notice to district or regional office
      The relevant district or regional office must be kept informed on all intended excursions.
    • Planning an excursion
      • The decision to arrange an excursion
        The decision to arrange an excursion must be taken in terms of the needs of the learners.
      • Overall responsibility
        • The principal must appoint a teacher to take overall responsibility for an excursion.
        • The responsibility cannot be delegated to a parent or outside body/organisation. The department remains responsible and specific procedures must therefore be followed by the school.
      • Who should participate?
        Excursions should be regarded as inclusive and all learners within the specific group must be given the opportunity to participate.
      • Risk assessment
        A risk assessment must be conducted and a risk management plan must be developed as part of the preparatory work.
      • Transport approval
        See Regulation 8D under 4.8.2 above.
      • Multi-disciplinary approach
        Each excursion should be planned and organised in a multi-disciplinary manner. Teachers of the different learning areas or subjects should be requested to suggest assignments from their respective perspectives. The teacher responsible for the excursion should then use the proposals to compile a working document for use by the learners during the excursion. In this way the maximum educational benefit will be gained from the excursion.
      • Preparing the learners
        • Learners should be well prepared for their excursion and teachers should set clear objectives as to what they hope to achieve by the excursion.
        • The first step is to brief the learners. Learners can also be given materials to read or study.
      • Planning activities for the excursion
        • The teacher(s) must be well prepared to supply information en route on the particular area the group is passing through, for example, its geography and farming activities.
        • Planning the excursion must be aimed at actively involving the learners in everything that is done during the excursion. This may include the taking of notes, specific assignments, photographs, drawings, etc.
        • Workbooks can be useful in this regard.
      • Planning follow-up work
        It is essential that follow-up tasks for the learners to do after the excursion, be prepared in advance. Such tasks may take the form of an assignment, an exhibition, a report, an oral presentation, etc.
      • Arranging for learners’ and teachers’ absence from school
        Groups of pupils undertaking an approved educational excursion are to be marked present for the day or days that they are not at school. The teachers who accompany the group on an educational excursion are officially on duty and they therefore do not forfeit leave for the days that they are absent.
      • Itinerary
        An accurate and detailed itinerary must be prepared and made available to the school management, the learners involved and their parents.
      • Meals and accommodation
        The learners must be informed beforehand in this regard and must be given the opportunity to mention dietary requirements.
      • Insurance
        • See Regulation 8A under 4.8.2 above.
        • The teachers accompanying the learners should be made aware that under no circumstances may they make a statement to an outside institution or sign an admission of guilt in the case of an accident or injury involving a learner. Such cases have to be reported to the department.
      • Precautions against malaria
        Learners should not be given prophylactics. However, if the excursion includes malaria infested areas, the parents must be requested to consult their doctors on the use of such substances.
      • Information to parents
        See Regulation 8A under 4.8.2 above.
      • Consent from parents/guardians
        See Regulation 8C under 4.8.2 above.
    • During the excursion
      • Overall responsibility
        The teacher made responsible for the excursion by the principal, is overall responsible for the group with regard to guidance, discipline, paying accounts and keeping to the itinerary.
      • Discipline
        • Strict discipline must be maintained by the teachers who will be held responsible for the behaviour of the learners at all times. Learners are never to be left on their own.
        • Supervision should be such that a charge of negligence cannot be brought against a teacher.
      • Safety of the learners
        • The teachers accompanying the learners are responsible for their safety.
        • The teacher with overall responsibility has to intervene timeously in situations where activities are offered which may jeopardise the safety of the learners.
        • The teacher with overall responsibility is expected to act if for some or other reason he/she doubts the roadworthiness of the transport vehicle or the competence of the driver. In such an instance the teacher must immediately contact the owner or manager of the company providing the service.
        • The instructions as provided by the regulations must be adhered to (see Regulations 8A, D and E) under 4.8.2 above.
      • Punctuality
        Punctuality and strict adherence to the itinerary is the key to a successful excursion.
    • After the excursion
      • Reports
        The teacher responsible for the excursion must submit a report to the principal. If there has been an accident, injury or misconduct, the instructions given by the regulations must be followed (see Regulation 8B under 4.8.2 above).
      • Learners’ assignments
        The learners’ assignments should be strictly controlled and marked. Wherever possible the marks should form part of the mark for a formal assessment task which relates to the excursion.

Also see Chapter 1.3 Developing of Policies


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