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 Question topics:



Managing staff driving on long trips


How should the school manage staff driving students on long trips?


Having two people to share the driving on long journeys is always the best solution but is not always practical.

The EOTC Guidelines Bringing the Curriculum Alive (2016) contain 3 main points about driving hours and driver fatigue. EOTC Guidelines, page 39.

1.   “The number of driving hours required for the journey and the length of the driver’s working day (including non-driving hours) should comply with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) regulations. www.nzta.govt.nz.”

The NZTA regulations referred to are for commercial drivers and can be found here. Schools and their staff (including parents and volunteers) are classed as exempt services but should still follow the regulations as far as managing driver fatigue and breaks. There are Work-time rules under these regulations. These rules mean on any workday you can work a maximum of 13 hours and then you must take a continuous break of at least 10 hours (as well as taking half-hour breaks every 5½ hours during the 13 hours).

Work-time includes all time spent working regardless of whether it is time spent driving or doing other work like teaching students or supervision overnight at a camp. Schools need to consider what their drivers are doing before they drive long distances with students. E.g., whether staff have taught for a full day before a four-hour drive, whether they will be in the field all day at camp and then expected to drive back to school, or be on duty and up overnight?

2.   “Strategies should be in place to avoid driver fatigue (for example, having more than one driver or planning stopping points on long journeys for toilet breaks and refreshments).”

Planning breaks at least every two hours, driving at nature times (when you are usually awake), staying hydrated and sharing the driving are all strategies that should be considered. Drivers should also check their medication to ensure it doesn’t list drowsiness as a side effect. For additional strategies see NZTA resources.

3.   “Due consideration be given that there should be an observer in the vehicle who is awake at all times and observant of the driver and driver fatigue.”


Students attending events with their parents/caregivers


What are the school’s responsibilities when a student is the only participant in an event and is taken there by their parents/caregivers?

Common examples of this scenario are equestrian events, Motocross, Zone or National events where the student is the only one to qualify from the school.


  The school has responsibilities whenever the student is:

  •  competing in the school's uniform, 

  • entered under the school name, or

  • when the parent would reasonably have the expectation that it is a schools event.

It is very important that the parents/caregivers understand what the school has or hasn’t assessed as far as the event’s safety management is concerned. This allows the parents/caregivers to know what responsibilities they have when they take their student to the event.

The answer is in having very clear communication with the parents and passing on any information the school receives from the event organisers. 

This could include having a conversation with the parent concerned followed by an email that the parent replies to. Something along the lines of:

“Thank you for taking the responsibility to allow Bob to go to ….. while he/she is entered under the school name as he/she is the only participant and we have not assessed the event’s safety management. We trust that you will take full responsibility for the transportation and safe participation of Bob during this event. Please reply to this email to confirm that you are happy with these arrangements. Please get in touch if you have any questions.”


Parents/caregivers transporting groups of students  


What should we do when a group of parents/caregivers are taking groups of participants away and we have a set travel plan (e.g. who's in each vehicle), and then the parents/caregivers change things round without notifying the school? 


It is very important to highlight to the parent body the importance of knowing who is being transported by whom. A clear statement to all parents/caregivers involved is necessary. This is really important in case of an incident (every parent/caregiver would want, and understands the need for, accurate and timely information about their child if an accident occurs). This type of information can go in the school newsletter to help educate the parent body on the importance of knowing where students are on trips.

Always ensure that travel arrangements are discussed in the briefing before the event starts.

A simple solution to dealing with those last-minute changes could be by including a sentence on the information that goes to the parents/caregivers helping such as:

“if there is a last-minute change to travel arrangements (e.g. students end up in different cars than originally planned) please text the teacher in charge (or the office on 027 ….) to ensure the school has accurate information”.

Please note, if a parent/caregiver gave permission for their child to travel in a particular person’s car then changes should not be made without seeking the parent/caregiver’s permission for the change.

Epipen availability


As a school, should we have an EpiPen always available in our first aid kit?  
We would like to know:

1.   Is it good practice for schools to carry EpiPens?

2.   What training should be completed if we are going to carry one?

3.   If we don't carry one, then presumably we need to absolutely make sure that students that require one have it, we know where it is stored/being carried, and under what conditions we need to administer it?


Absolutely. Check with and know who on your trips have any allergies and what treatment they require. Know where medication is stored and when it should be administered. Students will need to provide their required medication and have immediate access to this. Visually checking before you leave school and before setting out on activities if at camp (albeit discreetly) would be good practice.

Consider carrying an EpiPen in your first aid kit and know what to do with it if you are going to an area of high risk. For example, the South Island beech forest in summer where wasps are an identified problem. 

You need to talk to your local pharmacy or medical centre to source an Epipen as it is a Pharmacist-only medicine. They will advise you.

Ultimately, it's up to your school board to decide whether EpiPens are included in first aid kits. 



 Fees Charges and Donations


  • Donations Scenarios Clarification of the funding position of various scenarios including the status of camps, senior-level outdoor education, and overseas trips (Clarifications provided by the Ministry of Education)

  • Donations Scheme FAQs from the Ministry of Education 

Guidance on managing Covid Alert levels


Find information here.