Students: various

What responsibilities does the school have in relation to students outside of school hours or outside the grounds?

Travel to and from school

Generally a student’s family is expected to take overall responsibility for a student before they arrive at school and after they leave.

Older students who are trusted by their families to make their own choices and decisions will take on their own responsibility. Others such as transport operators, community members and the Police all play different roles in relation to the travel of students.


It is expected that schools will supervise the school grounds and designated nearby areas, such as a school bus stop, for a reasonable period before school (e.g. 30 mins) and a short period after school (e.g. 15 mins).

Every school is different and factors such as bus timetables may affect the practice at any particular school (e.g. if the last school bus leaves 20 minutes after school ends then you would not end your supervision after 15 minutes).

Schools are not expected to take on responsibility for all students travelling to and from school.

Problems can arise when parents and caregivers are confused about the extent of the responsibility the board of a school has taken on outside of school hours or in the community.

Therefore it is common for schools to notify caregivers of the times when and places where supervision is offered outside school hours and to clarify what responsibility, if any, the school has over transport or after school care arrangements. Clear communication can prevent misunderstandings that may result in students being left without adequate supervision before or after school.


From Tackling Bullying - A guide for Boards of Trustees – Bullying Free NZ website:

"Schools are increasingly involved in incidents where the activities of students at home or in their own time have an impact on the life of the school; for example, creating and posting harmful content on social media using their own Smartphone or computer, whether at school or not. It can affect a student’s wellbeing no matter where it happens.

Schools have the responsibility and power to act when it is reasonable to expect that what’s occurred could have a negative impact on the school’s learning environment. Trying to pinpoint where and when the bullying took place may be less helpful than asking ‘what effect is this having on the student/s involved and how will we respond?’

If signs of bullying such as absenteeism or other worrying behaviour are noticed by school staff, or if anyone reports bullying to school staff, it’s important to investigate and take action,regardless of where and when it happened."

When problems arise

Problems out in the community are usually tackled through a partnership between school staff and the relevant parties (parents, volunteers, bus contractors, local police). Even if a situation is not your school’s responsibility you can work with others to promote safety.

You may need to seek more specific information or advice from the NZSTA help desk about a particular situation.

Walking buses

School boards or other organisations may choose to become involved in travel initiatives such as walking buses. The level of involvement will be up to the school concerned and you are not obliged to be involved in any set way.

If a walking school bus is being established or already runs in your area it is important to ensure that parents, and all those involved, know how any initiative is being run and who is responsible for various matters. An information sheet for parents is a good way to ensure that everyone has the same understanding and knowledge.

Even if your school is not directly or actively involved in running a walking school bus, if one is operating in your community it is wise to make sure that those running it are taking safety planning seriously.

The two guides below are useful resources for those involved in organising walking buses:

Guide for walking school bus co-ordinators – NZ Transport Agency

EOTC (Education outside the classroom) Guidelines – TKI website

Updated: July 2017

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