Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) – Guidelines for Teachers and Parents

Trips, Camps and Visits are school activities that provide children with valuable experiences for learning and for personal development.

Hotwater BeachFor trips, camps and visits to take place teachers need to be prepared to take on considerable extra workload and to plan for ways to identify, reduce and be responsible for increased risk and liability.

Teachers rely on parents/caregivers being available to provide support, transport and supervision. We really appreciate that parents/caregivers make considerable sacrifices to be available to help with school activities by taking time off work or time away from their businesses and families.

At Whenuakite School we are fortunate that we usually have excellent support from parents/caregivers to support EOTC activities. There is sometimes a difficulty with having too many willing offers of help. When this happens we cannot always accept all the offers, especially for camps or trips that incur costs that we have to cover for adults.

For Camps especially, teachers can be under considerable pressure to accept all offers of parent help and if parents/caregivers have an expectation that they are entitled to go on their children’s camps, this pressure can become quite stressful for teachers and parents.

PlantingThe guidelines below are an attempt to help parents & caregivers to understand what they need to consider when offering to be helpers and to help teachers to not be put off organizing camps by the stress of dealing with disappointed adults who miss out.

1.     Who are Camps for? 

·      Camps are for children. There are always educational goals that are at the centre of any camp planning and every camp has social objectives for children or groups of children. Of course parents/caregivers are encouraged to participate in camp activities and to give things a go but they are primarily there to support the teacher/s and to encourage and guide the children. The fun things are a bonus.

·      A major focus of any camp is to give as many children as possible the experience of coping by themselves away from their family support network. In this context children really grow in confidence and make personal development leaps.

·      Camps are for children who have earned the privilege to be part of camp. An attitude we try to foster is that children know camps are something extra and children genuinely appreciate that they are taking part in something that they have earned the right to being part of.

2.     Which children get the most out of camp?

·      River CrossingUsually children without parents/caregivers on camp gain the most from the camp experience. The children are away from home by themselves, they have increased responsibility and they may frequently find themselves outside their normal comfort zones.

·      Children who have parents /caregivers on camp will come close to getting the most out of camp if their parents/caregivers do their best to distance themselves from their children and rather focus on the ‘group’.


3.     Some general facts about Camps, Trips and Visits  at Whenuakite School

·       Classes go on camps, not year if there are Year 6 pupils in Rooms 5 and 6 and Room 6 is going on Camp, the Year 6 pupils in Room 5 would not expect to go on the same camp unless all of Room 5 was going too.

·       There is no alcohol on camps. The Ministry of Education is quite clear about this. Even the most civilized drink during dinner is no longer acceptable during any school camp.

·       Smokers need to be discrete if they smoke during camp. All schools are smoke free and this includes trips, visits and camps.

·       If adult helpers wish to do personal activities on camp ie visit shops, errands, visit café etc  these activities need to be negotiated with the teacher/s well beforehand – preferably at a camp meeting.

·       Sailing BoatsUse of cell phones should be limited to times when parents have ‘down-time’ and when they aren’t involved with children and activities.

·       Pre-schoolers, friends, relatives or pets should never be brought on trips or camps. There may be exceptional times when exceptions may be possible but these need to be negotiated with teachers well beforehand.

·       Camps should not create financial stress. Funds or alternative payment measures will always be available so that all children can attend camp.

·       There are occasionally special circumstances or special needs that need to be considered. These need to be brought to teachers’ attention right at the very beginning when the camp proposal first comes home. Once helpers are chosen, transport organized, accommodation finalized etc. it is too late to find out personal information that is going to require arrangements to be changed.

·       EOTC experiences are not optional. The whole class is expected to take part unless it is clearly stated that the activity is optional eg Waterwise Sailing.

·       Adult helpers do not have to pay camp fees or visit fees. These are calculated as part of the total camp fee charged to parents. The more helpers, the higher the camp fee.

·       Camp, trip and visit helpers are there to support the teacher/s. They need to be actively involved with the children and committed to motivating the children to ‘ do things for themselves’ ie pack, unpack, keep organized, do duties, make beds, brush teeth etc. There are always ‘behind the scenes’ jobs that need to be done and helpers are expected to have the initiative to find out what these are and to pitch in to ensure they are done by children or if need be, completed by the helpers.

·       Camp helpers usually provide transport and generally the cost of transport is viewed as a donation to the camp.

·       If teacher use their cars to transport themselves or children (not their own) for EOTC they are expected to include the expense incurred as part of the overall camp fee.

·       The BOT is asked to authorize camp proposals.


4.     Helpful Reasons to consider when thinking about offering to be a Camp helper.

·       I can make the time available and commit myself fully to the camp dates.

·       I have initiative and I am prepared to actively engage with children and other helpers

·       I can work as part of a team and can support the teacher/s to met the objectives of the camp

·       I have special skills or expertise that this camp requires.

·       I am prepared to be there for all the children

·       I understand about the need to ‘distance’ myself from my own child on camp and to treat all children equally.

·       I am prepared to take on responsibilities and act as a positive role model.

·       If required I can provide transport.


5.     Unhelpful reasons to consider when thinking about offering to be a Camp helper.

·       My child wants me to go on camp

·       My child will not go on camp unless I go

·       My child has special needs that only I can help with. (sometime this is negotiable)

·       Camp will be a good family time

·       I do not live with my child so camp will be a good bonding time

·       I have been on all of my children’s camps so to be fair I need to go on this one

·       I have never been on a school camp before

·       This is my last chance to go on a school camp

·       This is one of the few opportunities I have to contribute to the school

·       I do a lot for the school so I deserve to go on camp

·       I am a very experienced camp parent

·       I love school camps and I look forward to them.


Skiing Trip

Education Outside the Classroom Policy 2004


Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) provides opportunities for a vast array of positive outcomes in a student’s education.

It is recognised that safe and quality learning experiences are intrinsic to the teaching and learning process.


  1. EOTC is regarded as an extra-curricular activity that all children experience.
  2. Teachers need to be familiar with the MOE booklet, Safety and EOTC  and they need to follow the guidelines as set out on these forms:

·     EOTC Event Proposal

·     EOTC Consent Form

·     EOTC Health Profile

·     Risk Analysis Management Systems (RAMS)

·     EOTC Safety Management Plan (SAP)

Every EOTC event requires Principal approval and either a RAMS or SAP.

(RAMS and SAP forms can be saved and reused for frequently occurring events – see the Health and Safety Manual)

  1. Funding assistance will be available in annual budgets but families are expected to meet the cost of EOTC events. Children will not be excluded from an EOTC event due to lack of money. Early notice will always be given for EOTC expenses and arrangements will be made for families unable to meet the costs.
  2. Fundraising should be discouraged if it results in false economies or detracts from learning programmes. The Fund Raising Team is the only official fundraising group in the school.
  3. Parents providing supervision or transport should not be charged for attending camp. (their children will be charged)
  4. All expenses to be reimbursed need to be known in the approved camp budget. GST receipts must be kept and all expenses clearly documented.
  5. Supervision and pupil teacher ratios need to meet recommended guidelines – depending on the activity and skills of the supervisors.(see Outdoor Pursuits) Parents with pre-schoolers are not encouraged for most EOTC events and they cannot be counted as supervisors when working out the pupil-adult ratio.
  6. Expectations: As a general guideline:

·     By Year 3 all children will have experienced at least one overnight stay.

·     By Year 5 all children will have experienced at least one camp of 2 or 3 nights

·     By Year 8 all children will have experienced at least one 3 or 4 night camp.


Every effort should be made to provide a variety of camp experiences ie. Bush, seaside, city, marae, local, away, ‘professional’ etc.

  1. School rules apply in all camp situations;

·     No smoking

·     No alcohol –(from 2004 it is strongly recommended that no alcohol be taken on camp)

·     All vehicles registered, warranted and drivers licensed.



Policy Approved:__________________