Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS14 Excursions

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 14

      Whenever children leave the premises on an excursion:

      • assessment and management of risk is undertaken;
      • a supervision plan specific to the excursion is developed and implemented 
      • parents have given prior written approval of their child's participation;
        • for regular excursions at the time of enrolment; and
        • for special excursions prior to the excursion taking place; and
      • there are communication systems in place so that people know where the children are and the educator can communicate with others as necessary.

      Documentation required:

      1. A record of excursions that includes:
        • the names of adults and children involved;
        • the time and date of the excursion;
        • the location and method of travel;
        • the excursion supervision plan 
        • assessment and management of risk;
        • evidence of parental permission for regular excursions at the time of enrolment; and
        • evidence of parental permission for special outings or excursions.

      The criterion is underpinned by an understanding that excursions outside of the home are a vital aspect of the home-based service curriculum. There are inherent risks involved for any outing or excursion which need to be managed to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children.

      Amended November 2016

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      The responsibility for the assessment of risk for any excursion lies with the service, and parents should give written approval to the excursion and the proposed ratios.

      Risk Assessment:

      For regular excursions, the risk assessment can be a new plan or an update of a previous assessment so any new risks are identified. The potential risks are more likely to be known to, and easily managed by, the service provider as part of their routine involvement and presence in the community.

      A special excursion requires a specific risk assessment and development of a management plan prior to the excursion because the environment and circumstances in which these occur will be different each time.

      Supervision on excursions

      Extra diligence is required by educators to ensure children are closely supervised during excursions. Advance planning of the destination, transport, meals and toilet breaks will help to identify potential hazards and to determine the level of supervision required.
      Children can be closely monitored by regular head counts throughout the excursion and by ensuring the educator remains in close proximity to the children.

      If the excursion involves activities in or near water, additional supervisory precautions will be required. This means educators should have constant visual contact and be in close proximity to children at all times. If educators need to move away from the area they should take all children away from the water.

      Documentation Guidance:

      Written approval for regular excursions may be obtained via a signature on the Enrolment Form, provided the information also informs parents of the planned adult:child ratio.

      Permission for special excursions needs to be sought for each excursion.

      Supervision Plan

      Supervision plan should include:

      • Whether the educator will need to get parent help or the help of another adult
      • What the appropriate ratios are (for example is the excursion going to be near water?)
      • A contact person who can respond and assist easily if any unforeseen incident occurs? (eg available to ring ambulance, talk with police etc)
      • How transitions will be managed to/from the destination including from vehicles/transport and any parking area.
      • How frequently head counts/roll checks will be made during the excursion.

      The plan should also include any additional supervision that may be required to address risks identified in the risk assessment process.

      To assist you in planning and documenting your excursions, some sample documents are provided below. These can be altered to suit your service’s needs:

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to take

      The following are useful things to take on an excursion:

      • A list of all children plus their emergency contact details in case of any accident of emergency. Use this to take periodic roll checks when on a combined outing with other educators and children
      • First aid kit. Consider carrying some bags in case of travel sickness, and some portable instant ice-packs
      • Personal medication for any of the children – inhalers, epi pens etc. Also take any personal medication that is needed for any accompanying adults and the educator
      • Cell phone – with number for the destination or venue and a contact number for the co-ordinator
      • Sun protection. Rain wear if needed
      • Books or other items to entertain children if there are any delays
      • Drinking water for all children and adults
      • Spare clothing.

      Transport considerations

      When using private vehicles consider how the following will be checked:

      • All drivers must have a current full New Zealand driver’s licence.
      • Each vehicle must be registered and have a current warrant of fitness.
      • All private vehicles must have the appropriate safety restraints for adults and children in accordance with the NZ Transport Agency regulations. See this fact sheet for more details: Go to the NZTA website(external link).

      How will the educator manage getting equipment (such as buggies) and children safely in and out of the car?