A: Yes, if you have acted lawfully. If the force used is reasonable all staff will have a robust defence against any accusations.
Q: How do I know whether using a physical intervention is ‘reasonable’?
A: The decision on whether to physically intervene is down to the professional judgement of the teacher concerned. Whether the force used is reasonable will always depend on the particular circumstances of the case. The use of force is reasonable if it is proportionate to the consequences it is intended to prevent. This means the degree of force used should be no more than is needed to achieve the desired result. School staff should expect the full backing of their senior leadership team when they have used force.
Q: What about school trips?
A: The power may be used where the member of staff is lawfully in charge of the pupils, and this includes while on school trips.
Q: Can force be used on pupils with SEN or disabilities?
A: Yes, but the judgement on whether to use force should not only depend on the circumstances of the case but also on information and understanding of the needs of the pupil concerned.
Q: I’m a female teacher with a Year 10 class – there’s no way I’d want to restrain or try to control my pupils. Am I expected to do so?
A: There is a power, not a duty, to use force so members of staff have discretion whether or not to use it. However, teachers and other school staff have a duty of care towards their pupils and it might be argued that failing to take action (including a failure to use reasonable force) may in some circumstances breach that duty.
Q: Are there any circumstances in which a teacher can use physical force to punish a pupil?
A: No. It is always unlawful to use force as a punishment. This is because it would fall within the definition of corporal punishment, which is illegal.
Restraint Training for teachers and support staff
COVIC Training Solutions, along with many unions believe the provision of fit for purpose restraint training for teachers and support staff is essential and should be compulsory. It should incorporate guidance and information on health and safety matters, such as risk assessments, the legislation surrounding the use of reasonable force, and many other factors we must be aware of when engaging in restraint and restraint training.
School managers must also consider training for all new members of staff and refresher training at suitable intervals to ensure that staff update and refresh their knowledge and understanding of the legal issues, their powers, techniques and techniques revisions, and the school’s powers.
COVIC Training Solutions provide fit for purpose restraint training for teachers and support staff as well as other courses designed for schools and alternative education centres.
Need further advice?
The team at COVIC Training Solutions is here to help. For impartial, no obligation advice and guidance regarding restraint training for schools, teachers and support staff please get in touch using the contact page or phone 01507 306399. We are here to help.