​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template.

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in residential camping, base camping and lightweight camping for one or more nights as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Residential camping occurs at centres that have permanent facilities, such as toilets, showers, kitchen and/or dormitory accommodation. This includes showground camping (e.g. camping in open air sheds/structures or tents with access to toilet facilities).

Base camping involves sleeping in tents in a natural area for one or more nights, either at places with no facilities or at camps where some facilities are provided.

Lightweight camping is the use of a temporary site in a natural area for one or more nights and requires participants to carry camping equipment to the camping area.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. bushwalking or swimming in locations other than pools while camping) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

Schools should consider conducting this activity at a Department of Education Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre (OEEC) and consult with ​OEEC centre staff for risk assessment requirements.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.

Risk level​

Medium risk
Accompanied residential camping.
High risk
Accompanied base camping and lightweight camping.
Extreme risk
Base camping and lightweight camping where participants camp with indirect supervision.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activ​ity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

All risk levels

Reference to Australian adventure activity standard and camping Australian adventure activity good practice guide is required when planning this activity.

Prior consultation is required with local authority (e.g. Department of Environment and Science [​​​​for park alerts] and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services) for local advice, emergency support mechanisms and additional supervision requirements to ensure participant and public safety.

Permission/permits are required to be obtained from land managers (e.g. QGPF, local councils or private landholders), if applicable.


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.

Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for extreme risk activities.


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students' medical condition or disability on safety during the activity.

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students’ ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs. At least two adult supervisors are required for a group of 20 students. The camping Australian adventure activity good practice guide should be consulted for supervision ratios.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions, and obtain accurate information on tides, depths, currents and other expected water conditions (if applicable) prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. poor visibility, extreme temperatures, thunderstorms)
  • must provide appropriate supervision, including clear boundaries, for students during unstructured free time.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

At least one adult supervisor is required to be:

Medium risk level

  • a registered teacher with competence (knowledge and skills) in residential camping activities or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with competence (knowledge and skills) in residential camping activities and the potential hazards

In addition to the above, for high risk level:

In addition to the above, for extreme risk level:

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

All risk levels

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken. Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability. Consider the geography when planning the route, to avoid walking along cliff edges (slipping hazard) and below cliff faces (falling rocks). Plan alternative routes in case of emergency situations (e.g. bushfire, thunderstorm, extreme temperature, king tide).

Participants must wear personal protective equipment as relevant (e.g. long-sleeved shirt and pants for all weather extremes, wind and rain jacket and suitable enclosed footwear).

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Establish and employ a process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

If privately owned equipment is being used, Principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.

Personal equipment for all participants including, but not limited to:

  • individual drinking containers with each participant carrying 2-3 litres of water for each day
  • food supplies in excess of the requirements of the duration of the camp, including emergency rations for 24 hours more than the initial planned duration
  • insect repellent, sunscreen and personal hygiene items as necessary
  • toileting equipment (if applicable)
  • a bag for rubbish
  • suitable sleeping bag/linen, as required
  • suitable torch and spare batteries and
  • waterproof containers for all equipment that can be damaged by water.

In addition to the above, for extreme risk level.

Personal first aid kit for all participants to include:

  • compass and map and the skills to use them
  • waterproof matches/BBQ lighter for cooking purposes.

Hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures
Animal bites/diseases

Observe wildlife from a safe distance.

Instruct students not to feed wildlife and how to respond to approaching wildlife.

Adhere to established practices regarding the use of insect repellent, outlined in insect viruses and allergies.

Showground camping to be set up in a designated area away from restrained animals (e.g. sheep or cattle).

Environmental conditions

Ensure tents are not erected under large trees.

Brief all participants on:

  • purpose of the activity and potential hazards (e.g. falling branches from trees, thorned flora, steep slopes, wild pigs)
  • basic first aid procedures for biological hazards they may encounter (e.g. snakes, ticks, leeches).

Constantly monitor surroundings for weather, terrain and wildlife hazards over the duration of the camp.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Monitor participants for cold related illness (e.g. hypothermia) in cold weather conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Use torches at night when moving around site.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures
Heat sources

Open flames (e.g. camp fires) are positioned, built, monitored and extinguished appropriately.

Utilise cooking methods (e.g. closed kitchen, barbecue, camping stove, open fire) that are appropriate for the health, maturity, fitness, suitability and competency of participants, adhering to CARA guideline food production.

Position food preparation, shelter and sanitation to avoid any potential physical and health hazards.

Student considerations Control measures
Injury Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.
Student issues
Student numbers
High risk behaviours
Medical conditions
Separation from the group

Brief all participants on:

  • appropriate behaviours to help keep themselves safe during the camp and
  • procedure should a participant become separated or lost from the group.

Maintain contact between all group members through regular checks on group numbers.

Implement procedures (e.g. buddy system, roll marking mechanisms) to account for all participants.


Have students wear easily identifiable clothing (e.g. high visibility rash vest).

Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs and are familiar with their needs.​​


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Last updated 13 July 2022