Supervision is defined as the overseeing of an activity for regulation or direction. All equipment, facilities and activities have inherent risks, but the more effectively they are supervised and maintained, the safer they become.
Principals are responsible for the development and implementation of a student supervision plan for all school sport and other physical activity programs, including weekly sport, integrated sport, outdoor recreation activities, as well as any other school events.
The plan should clearly indicate the supervision arrangements and responsibilities at the various locations and venues, including supervision of student travel to and from these venues and locations.
Principals should assess a number of factors in determining the level and type of supervision which needs to be provided during a particular activity, including but not limited to:
- nature and location of the activity (prior inspection of the location may be required to identify potential dangers)
- number of students involved
- age and maturity of students
- qualifications and experience of the adult supervisors, including ability to provide first aid
- travel to and from the venue.
For weekly school sport and physical activities outside the school grounds, the school should:
- inform parents or caregivers about the location, cost, mode of travel and supervision arrangements, activities to be undertaken and dismissal times
- obtain permission from parents or caregivers
Every time a student or group of students change activities (for example, if a number of different activities are undertaken over the course of a weekly school sports program), the consent of a parent or caregiver should be sought.
During excursions, schools should comply with the Excursion Policy and Procedures, which covers excursion supervision as well as:
- unsupervised activities
- overnight stays
Categories of Supervision
These guidelines designate three categories of supervision which are based on principles of general and specific supervision, taking into consideration the risk level of the activity, skill level of the participant, maturity of the participant and the participant’s ability to monitor the risk to themselves.
- Constant visual supervision means that the teacher is physically present and watching the specific activity in question. Examples of constant visual supervision:
- High Jump: teacher is at the high jump area and is observing the specific activity.
- Box Horse: teacher is observing a box horse station while simultaneously observing other lower risk gymnastics stations.
- Camping Trip: teacher in direct supervision of students using a swede saw.
- On-site supervision entails teacher presence but not necessarily the constant viewing of one specific activity. Examples of on-site supervision:
- Relay Passing: students are practicing on the track and can be seen by the teacher who is with the high jumpers.
- Fire Building (Camping skills): teacher can view students building their fires in the vicinity.
- Proximity supervision means that the teacher could be in the gymnasium or room while another activity is taking place in an area nearby the gymnasium or room. Note that in-the-area supervision is not adequate for Pre-Kindergarten/ECS Program students. Examples of proximity supervision:
- Distance Running: students are running around the school grounds and at times may be out of sight.
- Table Tennis: students are playing table tennis in a space adjacent to the gymnasium and the teacher can view both facilities easily, but not simultaneously.
- Camping Trip: students are cooking and preparing their food at individual sites nearby, but not visible to teacher all the time.
As part of a school authority’s duty of care, chaperones should travel with students under the age of 18 to oversee their health and safety throughout the trip. When selecting travel chaperones, consider the following:
- The proposed chaperone’s:
- previous international travel experience
- familiarity with the host country and culture
- understanding of the cultural adaptation process
- experience supervising youth
- background in first aid
- background in the trip’s subject matter.
- The size of travel group – The recommended ratio of students to chaperone ranges from 12:1 to 6:1, depending on a number of factors including the age of students travelling, the complexity of the travel itinerary, the type of travel activities, and the duration of the trip. Local school authority policies on field trips may also help to establish an appropriate students to chaperone ratio.
Chaperones should be well-briefed on their responsibilities and what to do when unexpected circumstances or emergencies arise.