The department receives a special appropriation to provide modest hospitality to school groups visiting Parliament House. School visits are coordinated by the Serjeant-at-Arms’ Office, working in partnership with the Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) and the Visitor Experience Office of DPS.
In 2017–18 the administered appropriation for the schools hospitality program activity was $0.320 million, and expenditure was $0.313 million. Results against performance criteria are summarised in the annual performance statement (page 26).
In 2017–18, 119,088 school students participated in educational tours of Parliament House, up from 117,582 in the previous year. The number of students from New South Wales and Western Australia decreased, while all other states and territories recorded higher numbers than in the previous financial year (see Table 8).
All visiting students participated in a guided tour and visited both chambers; 81 per cent (96,979) received hospitality and 75 per cent (89,259) participated in the PEO program (see pages 45–47 for more information on the PEO’s activities).
Bookings continue to be taken on a rolling monthly basis for the next two calendar years. This process has brought our booking schedule into line with the schedules of other designated agencies on the visits program, and it continues to be well received.
The online availability calendar and new booking form with a ‘submit’ option was placed onto the ‘Organise a school visit’ page on the Parliament of Australia website. This means that schools and agents can readily view availability of school programs at Parliament House before making a booking. In conjunction with the PEO, the school visits section of the website was further updated to make it easier for users to access information and make bookings.
By 30 June 2018 120,205 students from 1,848 schools had been booked for the following 12 months. Last year at the same time 112,383 students from 1,703 schools had been booked.