Safe entry and exit of students to school grounds

Parents and carers are responsible for their child's safety when travelling to and from school.

School's responsibility

Under the Department's Code of Conduct, section 21. Duty of Care, schools have an obligation to provide reasonable care to:

  • provide adequate supervision
  • ensure grounds, premises and equipment are safe for employees, students and the general public. This extends to the entry and exit of students to school grounds. School risk assessments need to factor in the age, ability and maturity level of the students as well as any individual characteristics. These will influence the standard of care required.

Department staff can read more about supervision and duty of care by Legal Services (staff only).

To keep students safe as they arrive and depart, schools:

  • regularly review their site entry and exit risk management plan
  • use various communication strategies to inform parents and carers about safe road user behaviours onsite and in school zone
  • update casual teachers about student arrival and departure procedures
  • liaise with school crossing supervisors and their Assisted School Travel Program providers on effective service delivery.

Schools may also use the following ideas to enhance arrival and departure procedures for students and teachers on entry and exit supervision:

  • increase or decrease the number of available or suitable access points to manage pedestrian numbers, movement and flow
  • label, number or colour code access points for easier reference and recognition by students, families and staff
  • spread the arrival and departure of students and families across different pick up and drop off accesses to reduce congestion in any one spot, either on or off site
  • use signage, social media, school website, note home or assemblies to inform students, families, staff and visitors of any changes to entry and exit or pick up and drop off arrangements such as absent school crossing supervisor; construction onsite or in the school zone; hazards (fallen trees, power lines, floods); delays to public transport and school buses.
  • encourage parents to:
    • walk their children to school, if possible
    • park away from the school to drop off their independent children to walk the rest of the way or else for them to park and walk with their children, to reduce traffic congestion
  • remind staff to maintain their own safety to reduce their risk of trips, slips and falls when supervising students. For example:
    • remain behind the school fence or well away from the edge of the footpath
    • not bend down if assisting students to get in or out of a vehicle
    • not stand on the road between vehicles (to avoid crush injury)
    • wear a high visibility jacket when in or near to the traffic environment
    • ask drivers to wait until the child is properly buckled up, if the child can do it themselves, before driving off.
  • remind teachers and other school staff they are not permitted to operate as a school crossing supervisor and control traffic. They can assist students cross the road when it is safe to cross.

For more information:

What to do if your school crossing supervisor is absent and not covered?

An absent crossing supervisor increases the risk of injury to students. Schools should:

  • notify the department's Health and Safety directorate of the supervisor’s absence either online via the Incident Report and Support Hotline or by calling 1800 811 523
  • implement their contingency plan by contacting the replacement or back up qualified crossing supervisor. If a replacement isn’t available schools can ask a staff member/volunteer to support students crossing the road in accordance with Legal Services intranet advice Can I use volunteers as crossing supervisor?

If you haven’t heard about why your crossing supervisor is not present, inform TfNSW of your concerns.

Schools have a duty of care to inform their school community of any changes to normal routine, including the absence of a crossing supervisor.

Use a variety of communication channels to advise:

  • the crossing supervisor’s absence
  • the location of the unsupervised crossing
  • how students, parents and carers are to cross, e.g.
    • hold the hands of children up to 8 years of age
    • wait patiently and cross in groups to reduce traffic congestion around the school
    • stop, look, listen and think before crossing the road

Additional pedestrian safety messages are on the department's road safety education safe travel web page.

Only three categories of people are legally permitted to stop road traffic in NSW. These are:

  • NSW police officers
  • Transport for NSW (TfNSW) authorised traffic controllers
  • TfNSW school crossing supervisors

This means volunteers are not allowed to stop road traffic or use any stop aids. The department's Legal Services answers the question Can I use volunteers as crossing supervisors? in their duty of care section (staff only).

Students can be supported by an adult volunteer in crossing a road by:

  • having the volunteer wear a high visibility vest
  • choosing a safe place to cross the road
  • identifying a reasonable and manageable number of students to cross together as a group that has the least impact on traffic flow. Students remaining behind should be told where to safely wait until the volunteer returns to collect them
  • stopping, looking, listening and thinking before crossing the road together as a group. The volunteer should see the students safely on their way, then wait for a safe opportunity to cross the road and return to the waiting students
  • repeating the above steps until all students have safely crossed.

Where possible volunteers should hold the hands of young children (up to eight years of age).

Use the TfNSW feedback form as a way for getting the situation noted, especially if the supervisor is regularly absent and/or a replacement supervisor is not provided.

Find out more about the NSW Centre for Road Safety’s School Crossing Supervisor program, which operates to keep K-6 school students safer.


Road safety education, driver education and training policy

Under the Department's policy school staff, parents/carers and students all have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to protect students against risk of injury or harm. This extends to the entry and exit of students to school grounds.

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