School incursions are popular, and in many instances an alternative to excursions. Properly managed incursions enrich the learning experience of children, and are safe and effective.

Compared to excursions, the advantages are obvious – there is no travel involved for the students Therefore time and money are saved. They present less risk in the sense students are not travelling into an unfamiliar environment – this also means that less staff need to be involved. School incursions are often developed and implemented by ex-teachers, familiar with young people -they know how to interact with their audience.

There are a number of practices teachers can adopt to ensure that the incursion is fulfils desired learning outcomes, runs smoothly and does not present unnecessary risks.

Points to consider:

  • The arrival of equipment is managed appropriately. If access onto the Campus is required to unload gear, such as musical instruments, the person delivering the incursion will need to be aware of suitable times, and the best entry point for the vehicle. If possible send him/her a map of the campus.
  • Some school incursions require substantial setup, such as a Cosmodome. The location needs to be identified and the venue cleared in time. The time for setup and a suitable location should be clarified well beforehand.
  • The level of participation of the students during the incursion, and follow up work is an important consideration. Ask the incursion provider how the students will gain greatest benefit from the event. They may need to do some preliminary work. For example with a Maths incursion there are likely to be concepts students need to understand beforehand.
  • The incursion may fit seamlessly in with the topic being taught. In this case it is wise to brief the incursion provider on what the students have learnt, and what, you as a teacher want the students to get out of the incursion.
  • Incursion providers should have a generic risk assessment for their incursion, but each school and group of students presents a unique environment. Relevant student allergies and possible behavioural issues should be noted in the risk assessment.
  • Check the qualifications of the Incursion providers. They need Child Safety Clearance, and depending on the event may need other qualifications. For example for a chemistry incursion, they will need training in handling chemicals.
  • Before engaging the incursion provider, clarify how they will charge the school. Some charge based on the number of students, some charge by the event . There are a number of variations between the two.

Incursions for schools are available for all ages and levels. Consider bringing one into your students’ learning experience. Incursions range from chicken hatching, to presenting students with Mathematics experiences, to Cosmodomes.  Many can be found through internet searching. Generally they are developed and presented by dedicated educators who want to contribute to the education of young people. Incursions are well worth the effort and time when well managed.

About the Author

PhD in European Languages and Cultures (specialising in Literary Translation) Department of International Studies Macquarie University