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Physical Restraint Policy

1:1 RATIONALE:

Physical Restraint should be limited to emergency situations and used only in the last resort.

It enables teachers and other members of staff in the College, authorised by the Principal, to use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances, to prevent a pupil from:
  • Committing an offence 
  • Causing personal injury to, or damage to the property of, any person (including the pupil himself); or 
  • Engaging in any behaviour prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline at the College or among its pupils, whether during a teaching session or otherwise.

1:2 WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RESTRAIN A CHILD?

Physical restraint is the positive application of force with the intention of protecting the child from harming himself or others or seriously damaging property. The proper use of physical restraint requires skill and judgement, as well as knowledge of non-harmful methods of restraining.

1:3 WHY USE RESTRAINT?

Physical restraint should avert danger by preventing or deflecting a child’s action or perhaps by removing a physical object, which could be used to harm him/herself or others. Physical restraint skilfully applied may be eased by degrees as the child calms down in response to the physical contact. It is only likely to be needed if a child appears to be unable to exercise self-control of emotions and behaviour.

2:1 GENERAL AIMS

The staff at Thornlie Christian College recognise that the use of reasonable force is only one of the strategies available to secure pupil safety/well-being and also to maintain good order and discipline.

Our policy on the use of reasonable force is part of our overall pastoral care policy and closely related to our policies on managing pupil behaviour in the "Behaviour Management Policy."

2:2 THE AIMS:

  • To protect every person in the College community from harm. 
  • To protect all pupils against any form of physical intervention which is unnecessary, inappropriate, excessive or harmful. 
  • To provide adequate information and training for staff so that they are clear as to what constitutes appropriate behaviour and to deal effectively with violent or potentially violent situations. 
  • To give full support to staff who have been assaulted or have suffered verbal abuse from pupils or others. 

3:1 RISK ASSESSMENT:

Although most young people in Thornlie Christian College will never require any form of physical restraint, staff may have to deal with some young people who exhibit disturbed, distressed and distressing behaviour. It is therefore necessary to carry out a risk assessment.

We will attempt to reduce risk by managing:
  • The environment 
  • Body language 
  • The way we talk 
  • The way we act 

3:2 ENVIRONMENTAL RISK ASSESSMENT:

We will complete a risk analysis within the College and put in place strategies to minimise these risks in identified locations.

3:3 INDIVIDUAL RISK ASSESSMENT:

If we become aware that a pupil is likely to behave in a disruptive way that may require the use of reasonable force, it is our intention to plan how to respond if the situation arises.

Such planning needs to address:
  • Managing the pupil ( e.g. reactive strategies to de-escalate a conflict, holds to be used if necessary); 
  • Involving the parents to ensure that they are clear about the specific action the College might need to take; 
  • Briefing staff to ensure they know exactly what action they should be taking (this may identify a need for training or guidance);
  • Ensuring that additional support can be summoned if appropriate. 
More detailed examples of risk assessment and preventative steps can be found in Appendix 2.

4:1 PROCEDURES:

In the event of physical restraint having been used it is important to consider the strategies, which are deemed acceptable, and the recording procedures that should be in place.

4:2 ACTIONS:

  • Tell the pupil who is misbehaving to stop and state possible consequences of failure to do so; 
  • If possible summon another adult; 
  • Continue to communicate with the pupil throughout the incident; 
  • Make it clear that restraint will be removed as soon as it ceases to be necessary; 
Appropriate follow-up action should be taken, which may include:
  • Providing medical support 
  • Providing respite for those involved 
NOTE: A calm and measured approach to a situation is needed and staff should never give the impression that they have lost their temper or are acting out of anger or frustration when handling a problem.

4:3 RECORDING:

Staff should record (Appendix 3) all incidents of restraint in accordance with College Policy and report these to the Principal.

Details should include:
  • Name of pupil(s) 
  • Staff member(s) involved 
  • Factors necessitating physical intervention 
  • The strategies which were employed prior to using physical intervention 
  • How physical intervention was effected 
  • Outcome of restraint 
  • Any other action taken in the management of the incident
Parents/carers should be contacted as soon as possible and the incident explained to them. This action should also be recorded.

5:1 COMPLAINTS:

We all have a duty of care to the young people in our College and cannot escape our legal responsibilities by avoiding taking appropriate and necessary action. Involving parents when an incident occurs with their child, together with a clear policy adhered to by the staff, should help to avoid complaints from parents. It will not prevent all complaints, however, and a dispute about the use of force by a member of staff might lead to an investigation, either under disciplinary procedures or by the Police and/or social services departments under child protection procedures.

Staff, subjected to physical violence or assault, have the right to be supported in making a formal complaint to the police and, if necessary, taking private action against an assailant.

APPENDIX 1

When might it be appropriate to use reasonable force?

Examples of situations that fall into one of the first two categories are:
  • a pupil attacks a member of staff, or another pupil; 
  • pupils fighting; 
  • a pupil is causing, or at risk of causing, injury or damage by accident, by rough play, or by misuse of dangerous materials, substances or objects; 
  • a pupil is running in a corridor or on a stairway in a way in which he/she might have or cause an accident likely to injure her/himself or others; 
  • a pupil absconds from a class or tries to leave College (NB this will only apply if a pupil could be at risk if not kept in the classroom or at College). 
Examples of situations that fall into the third category are:
  • a pupil persistently refuses to obey an order to leave a classroom.
  • a pupil is behaving in such a way that is seriously disrupting a lesson. 

APPENDIX 2

All teachers need to be aware of strategies and techniques for dealing with difficult pupils and steps which they can take to defuse and calm a situation.
  • Move calmly and confidently. 
  • Make simple, clear statements.
  • Intervene early. 
  • Try to maintain eye contact. 
  • If necessary summon help before the problem escalates. 
  • Remove audience from the immediate location. 
There are situations where staff should not intervene without help:

Assistance should be sought when dealing with:
  • an older pupil, 
  • a physically large pupil, 
  • more than one pupil, or 
  • when the teacher believes that s/he may be at risk of injury. 
In those circumstances where the member of staff has decided that it is not appropriate to restrain the pupil without help they should:
  • remove other pupils who might be at risk, 
  • summon assistance from colleagues, 
  • where necessary, telephone the police, 
  • inform the pupil(s) that help will be arriving, 
  • until assistance arrives, the member of staff should continue to attempt to defuse the situation orally, and try to prevent the incident from escalating.

APPENDIX 3

RECORD OF RESTRAINT

 

Date of Incident:                                                                               Time of Incident:

Pupil Name:                                                                                      Class:

Member(s) of Staff involved:

Adult witnesses to restraint:

Pupil witnesses to restraint:

Outline of event leading to restraint:






Outline of incident of restraint (including restraint method used): 






Outcome of restraint:

Description of any injury(ies) sustained by an injured pupil and any subsequent treatment:






Date parent/carer informed of incident: Time:

By whom informed:

Outline of parent/carer response:






Signature of staff completing report:                                                 Date:

Signature of Assistant Principal:                                                       Date:

Signature of Principal:                                                                       Date: