Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

Telephone02 9247 7321

Emailobservhill-e.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Rules and policies

Rules and policies are in place to make sure your program runs smoothly, and students remain safe and well whilst with EEC staff. 

Booking Policy

Observatory Hill EEC is a specialist DOE school offering curriculum-based environmental and sustainability education programs. The centre supports student outcomes in Key Learning Areas by providing excursion programs in and around the CBD of Sydney, and through school sustainability incursions.

Booking Procedures

Bookings are made by ringing the Centre on (02) 9247-7321 and are on a first-come, first-served basis.  Staff will try to accommodate your preferred date, however if the date has already been filled we can negotiate another mutually acceptable date. The Centre can generally cater for up to 3-4 visiting classes per day depending on the program chosen. Cost per student vary depending on the number of students attending. Maximum class sizes are 30 for Years 1-12 and 20 for Kindergarten. Parents and specialist staff helpers are encouraged to attend, particularly for Primary school groups.

Incursion programs are available for schools in the following council areas. Canada Bay, Canterbury, City Of Sydney, Inner West, Mosman, North Sydney, Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra.

Most excursion programs occur off site and Centre staff will meet your class/s at the program meeting point. Where possible, programs have designed to be public transport friendly and we encourage you to use public transport to access the meeting point.

Costs

The Centre charges a cost per student which varies depending on the number of students participating. These costs will be discussed at the time of the booking and included on the Booking Sheet. Where public transport is required between study sites, students must pay their own transport costs. Additional information is provided regarding the use of Youth OPAL cards. Any fieldwork equipment lost or damaged must be paid for by the visiting school.

For more information see cost structure (DOCX 61.2KB).

Cancellations

Cancellations need to be made within 2 weeks of the date of the excursion or a cancellation fee $40.00 per class will be charged. If cancellation occurs due to inclement weather on the day, no fee will be charged. The introduction of this fee has been necessary to discourage schools from cancelling at the last minute. Many schools are placed on a waiting list and late cancellations do not allow sufficient lead-up time to re-offer bookings to those schools unable to gain a booking in the first intake.

If there is a need to cancel on the day, please leave a message by dialling 9247 7321 as early as possible, or phone the Principal on 0400 230 699.

Visiting teachers role

Visiting teachers should:

  • Notify the Centre of any student with mobility issues or needing special requirements or support before the program date.
  • Ensure any required medication is brought with you, particularly asthma inhalers and anaphylaxis auto injectors as required by a student’s ACSIA plan. EEC teachers carry basic first aid equipment and general use inhalers and auto injectors.
  • Ensure you have checked the meeting place and time on the booking sheet for your particular class.
  • Notify the Centre of any required changes to the program particularly if you need to arrive later or depart earlier than the scheduled time.
  • Ensure students have sufficient food and drink with them for the entire day.
  • Ensure students wear suitable weather protection including sun hats and umbrellas/rain coats if raining. We prefer school uniform for easy recognition in the city.
  • Duplicate the provided class set of student worksheets (if required) and undertake the suggested pre-visit activities to prepare students for their fieldwork. 
  • Successful fieldwork visits have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities carried out prior to the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide links with classroom learning. If your excursion involves a student worksheet, it is suggested students bring clipboards/pens. Cameras / phones are also suggested to document student’s fieldwork.
  • Actively participate in all activities and be supportive of the EEC teachers especially in the area of student behaviour particularly during recess and lunch breaks.
  • Complete the program evaluation at the conclusion of their visit.

Teachers are encouraged to visit the centre’s website and go over their program’s details, including suggested pre and follow up activities. Contact the centre if you are unsure about any aspect of your program.

Risk Management

The DEC Excursion Policy requires documentation to be submitted to your Principal for approval before excursions are undertaken. Each program includes a Risk Assessment Pro Forma to help you complete your Excursion Risk Management Plan. In addition, please refer to the following Risk Management, and Safety and Welfare advice, for the centre.

General Safety and Welfare Information and Procedures for schools undertaking fieldwork

The centre endeavours to minimise risks associated with the delivery of education programs and provide a safe and comfortable environment for students and teachers to learn in, including taking appropriate breaks, regular toilet stops and providing protection from the sun. Centre staff have limited information on the background of students undertaking educational programs offered by the Centre. There is, therefore, heavy reliance on the visiting teacher to inform centre teachers of any issues that could impact upon student welfare. This information would be helpful PRIOR TO THE VISIT. Centre staff are Child Protection Policy compliant and carry mobile phones whilst in the field. It is expected that visiting teachers take an active role in assisting the EEC teachers in the delivery of the program.

Student preparation and wet weather 

Students should be suitably dressed for the activities they will be undertaking. Students will need hats, appropriate clothing, sunscreen, enclosed shoes, (no sandals or thongs). Water bottles are recommended. If rain is likely, wet weather gear should be brought. Where weather is unsuitable for fieldwork, alternative dates or arrangements will be made. Please ring the Centre before 8:00 am on the morning of the visit to discuss alternatives.

Illness and Injury

Teachers should bring any first aid and appropriate medication for students with medical conditions such as Asthma, Diabetes etc. PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE YOUR STUDENT’S ANAPHYLAXIS PLAN with you and ensure you identify students who are known to have Anaphylaxis to EEC teachers when you meet. If possible, visiting teachers should carry a charged mobile phone and ring 112 (mobile) or 000 in an emergency. The Centre can be contacted on ph 9247 7321. Centre teachers also carry mobile phones.

If a student is injured, first aid will be administered and paramedics called depending on the severity of the injury. The class teacher will make any necessary arrangement for the students safety and welfare, which may include calling a parent /guardian to pick up the student if appropriate. EEC staff will negotiate with the class teacher about the best way to proceed with the excursion to ensure the safety and welfare of all students. If a student is lost the school and relevant authorities will be notified immediately.

Undertaking activities on the edge of waterways 

Students undertaking activities near the edge of waterways will be adequately supervised and given clear instructions about remaining behind safety barriers and taking appropriate precautions where there are no safety barriers. All centre staff are trained in CPR in case of emergencies and will follow emergency procedures if a student falls in the water. 

Undertaking activities in public buildings

When entering buildings, staff will avoid using revolving doors, escalators and lifts where possible. If lifts are required, students will be escorted in groups to the required floor.  Students entering public buildings will follow the instructions of the management staff and EEC staff at all times.

Interacting with the public

Students undertaking fieldwork activities in the city interact with the public on a regular basis. Where guest speakers are presenting to students, it is expected that they will behave in a courteous manner. Sometimes students are required to interview the public as part of a fieldwork task. Students are given instructions as to the correct approach with the public and permission will have been sought from the relevant authorities. Students will remain within eyesight of their teachers whilst interviewing the public. Should students be filmed or photographed for publication as part of the fieldwork, the appropriate consent forms will be obtained.

Using equipment and undertaking experiments

Students undertaking experiments will be given clear instructions as to the proper use of testing equipment. Staff will follow the ‘Chemical Safety in Schools Policy’ procedures when handling equipment.

Managing the movement of students

Students will remain within eyesight of their teachers at all times when moving through the study sites. All students will walk behind the EEC teacher with the class teacher at the rear of the group (younger students will hold hands and travel in pairs). Head counts will be taken at periodic intervals especially after recess and lunch. All students and teachers will cross at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. When travelling on public transport such as ferries, students will be given instructions as to where they are to sit, and should follow any relevant safety advice given by the authorities involved.

(Please note if possible, routes will be devised for students who cannot negotiate stairs. This information should be provided by the class teacher prior to the fieldwork day).

Student behaviour

Teachers and principals should carefully consider the day’s activities and assess whether they are appropriate for students with behaviour concerns. Some student behaviour may place themselves or other students at risk. In the event of poor student behaviour, EEC staff will negotiate with the class teacher regarding the most appropriate course of action.

Recess and lunch are generally taken in public parks or at the centre. Students will be given specific instructions as to where they can sit and (for Primary schools) play after eating their food. Primary school visits to toilets will be supervised and students will be escorted in groups. Some senior fieldwork breaks are taken in city food courts. Students will sit at the tables to eat their food and be supervised by staff whilst in the food court.

Anti-bullying Policy Statement

Students attending programs run by the EEC must abide by the Departments’ and their school’s anti-bullying policy. Any inappropriate behaviour that gets in the way of teaching and learning whilst participating in Centre programs and interferes with the wellbeing of students will not be accepted.

Approximate distance walked during the program

All our programs require teachers to have a reasonable level of fitness as most programs require considerable walking. Distances are included in each program page.