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Transportation

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Early childhood services must be vigilant concerning the potential dangers when transporting children in vehicles and have strategies in place to manage the risks and protect children in their care.

All early childhood education and care services that transport children must have a specific written transport policy and procedure in place following changes to the National Regulations.

The following guidance is to support approved providers of both centre-based and family day care services operating in Queensland to transport children safely and meet national transport requirements.

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When does transport form part of education and care?

Transport forms part of education and care once a child is given into the care of the service. The child must be signed onto the attendance record at this point. An early childhood education and care service (ECEC) (whether centre-based or family day care) is being provided during the entry and exit of children on and off the vehicle (whether it is the educator's own vehicle or a vehicle owned or arranged to be used by the service to provide transport) and during the journey.

This includes (but is not limited to) where:

  • The service offers a service to collect children from their home and take them to the service
  • A family day care educator drives children to and from their home to school.

It also includes the transitions between the vehicle, service premises and/or other locations, including:

  • children leaving the service premises (or other location) and entering the vehicle at the commencement of the journey
  • children leaving the vehicle and entering the service premises (or other location) at the end of the journey.

Note: Where transport is provided (in the usual case) to school-age children to directly transport them to and from their homes to school on any given day, and the children are enrolled at the service, that transport may form part of an education and care service.

Transporting children is considered to be part of the education and care service when children are transported as a part of an excursion, a regular outing or are regularly transported. Regulation 4(1) of the National Regulations defines regular transportation to mean transportation by the service or arranged by the service (other than as part of an excursion) of a child being educated and cared for by the service, where the circumstances relevant to a risk assessment are substantially the same for each occasion on which the child is transported.

A service is considered to be operating at any time a child is transported on a bus/vheicle, even if the actual service’s premises is closed while transportation is provided. Services are encouraged to include information on their website and provide information to families at enrolment to clarify:

  • the hours and days the service is transporting children on a bus/vehicle as part of the service
  • the hours and days the service premises is open (i.e. the days and times when the service premises is open for families to drop off and collect children).

There are additional considerations regarding transport for different ECEC service settings:

Centre-based services

When a centre-based service provides or arranges for the transport of children enrolled at their service, those transport arrangements become part of the education and care provided by the service.

This includes (but is not limited to) where a service operates or arranges transport as part of an excursion, regular outing or regular transportation:

  • to attend a specific destination such as a playgroup, a park, or a library
  • where children are transported to and from their homes to the service
  • where children are transported to and from school or kindergarten or another location to and from the service.

Family Day Care services

Family day care educators and family day care educator assistants (in limited circumstances prescribed in Regulation 144 of the National Regulations) may transport children in their vehicle.

This includes (but is not limited to) transport as part of an excursion, regular outing or regular transportation:

  • to a specific destination, for example the library or park
  • where children are transported to and from their homes to the family day care residence or venue
  • where children are transported to and from school or kindergarten or another location to the family day care residence or venue
  • where younger children (under school age) accompany the educator when school age children are transported from the family day care residence or venue to school or another location
  • where there are multiple stops on the journey, for example, where different school age children are dropped at multiple different schools
  • where children are transported on public transport whilst in the care of the service, for example catching public transport to school or kindergarten with the family day care educator.

When is transport not part of education and care?

Transport does not form part of education and care in the following cases:

  • where the transport is privately provided by families
  • where the transport is provided by another entity or organisation which is not associated with the service, including:
    • in a school operated/commissioned vehicle, unless the transport service includes children that are receiving an early childhood education and care service at the school, for example State Delivered Kindy
    • in a council operated/commissioned vehicle
    • other non ECEC service operated/commissioned vehicle.
  • where the transport is provided as part of a disability service that transports children to school or to any other location or activity (including to an ECEC service).

Related information

Learn more about an approved provider's responsibilities relating to the health, safety and wellbeing of children attending their service:

  • ACECQA safe transportation of children information sheet (PDF, 193KB)
  • Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) (PDF, 1.5MB)
    • Section 165: Offence to inadequately supervise children
    • Section 167: Offence relating to protection of children from harm or hazards
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations (Queensland) (PDF, 2MB)
    • Regulation 99: Children leaving the education and care service premises
    • Regulation 100: Risk assessment must be conducted before excursion
    • Regulation 101 Conduct of risk assessment for excursion
    • Regulation 102: Authorisation for excursions
    • Regulation 102B: Transport risk assessment must be conducted before service transports child
    • Regulation 102C: Conduct of risk assessment for transporting of children by the education and care service
    • Regulation 102D: Authorisation for service to transport children
    • Regulation 161: Authorisations to be kept in enrolment record
    • Regulation 168: Education and care services must have policies and procedures (including excursions (Regulation 168(2)(g)) and transportation of children (Regulation 168(2)(ga))
  • Education and Care Services Act 2013
    • Section 121: Children must be adequately supervised
    • Section 122: Children must be protected from harm and hazards
  • Education and Care Services Regulation 2013
    • Regulation 26: Departure of children
    • Regulation 55: Excursions risk assessments
    • Regulation 56: Authorisation for excursions
    • Regulation 61: Children's attendance record
    • Regulation 62: Child Enrolment records
    • Regulation 63: Authorisations to be kept in enrolment record
    • Regulation 65: QEC approved services must have policies and procedures
  • National Quality Standard
    • Quality area 2—Children's health and safety.
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Last updated 12 February 2021