New Restraint Powers

Part of the series Need to Know

This video was filmed before the May 2010 general election, and may not reflect the policies of the current government.
  Screen capture from New Restraint Powers


Mike Baker and Sheena McDonald discuss teachers' powers of restraint under the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

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They explain why the changes were needed, and how they make the powers more explicit for teachers.

Mike also points out that while the law grants teachers the right to use "reasonable force" as a last resort, it does specify that the context of each particular situation must be taken into account.

Examples of restraints teachers could use are demonstrated in the studio by conflict management specialist Tim Cooke.

Note that the contents of this programme may no longer reflect current Government policy


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Extra materials (3)

Download this document to read the programme's subtitles

Government white paper containing information on teachers powers as seen in Need to Know: New Restraint Powers

Supporting information provided by the educational consultant for this programme

Related links (3)

Comments (13)

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    • Training
      26 April 2008 - 20:22

      From the replies above and the content of the programme it seems clear that teachers / support staff would benefit greatly from school specific discussion on this legislation and its impact. Also, training will be highly important so that all concerned can 'play-out' some of the possible scenarios and look at ways of avoiding physical intervention in the first instance. I will definitly request this training as part of our CPD in the near future.

    • Restraint
      31 March 2008 - 09:46

      Judy W
      I am a teaching assistant (SEN) and fairly regularly find myself in potentially difficult situations. Thus far, I have managed to defuse situations verbally or by putting myself between two aggressive students (which in itself obviously could create a problem for me and is therefore not ideal). This programme illustrates quite clearly the need for a professional demonstration by a conflict management specialist, and the importance of knowing exactly whom the Head Teacher has empowered IN WRITING to have the right to search or discipline a student. I intend to ask our SMT if we can incorporate this subject and any relevant training for all staff on one of our INSET days. Support/admin staff in particular need to know their legal rights and responsibilities, as these may not necessarily be as clearly defined or made as well known within each school as those of the teaching staff.

    • Restraint.....
      28 March 2008 - 23:24

      I agree with the introduction of this and would recommend the group "Team Teach" to give training on inset days as our school has. This organisation does excellent training and has good strategies in dealing with troublesome situations including the follow-up procedures to help pupils after an incident.
      They also provide support to the staff and school as it is required for any member who completes their training.

      As yet, I have only completed the introduction course for the Team teach but found the strategies and restraint techniques both useful and without force.

    • Restraint...
      27 March 2008 - 22:39

      Some good points raised here. I would be interested to know how consistent is the management / governor support (or lack thereof) given to teachers or other staff who have had to use restraint on pupils. Consistent support from the whole school/authority/unions is necessary as part of a wider behaviour management strategy... theme for another program?
      I have been working as a Learning Support Assistant (in preparation for PGCE later this year) and have had to intervene physically in several fights that could easily have become a lot more serious than a scuffle. I was fortunate to be backed up solidly by senior staff and always ensured I wrote up a detailed 'police-style' statement as soon as possible afterwards.
      Parents need to be put clearly in the picture too, so everybody knows where they stand.

    • Restraint
      27 March 2008 - 17:06

      A good point made by mwilkinson. You cannot prevent anyone from leaving a room or jumping in front of a bus if that is going to endanger you. If you have made a reasonable attempt to stop them that might be a valid defence in a court of law. What worries me about the legislation is parents of pupils who have been attacked trying to say that a teacher should have done more. Also the parents of the agressive pupil might say you should have prevented their child from doing something serious that has now got them in a lot of trouble. You can't win sometimes!

    • miketp miketp


      Re : restraint
      29 March 2008 - 14:15

      Mike tp
      If a pupil can get to school on his own safely using restraint to prevent them going home could be judged to be unreasonable in a Court of Law.
      In my experience some people can use restraint safely and others never will.Do not feel you have to use it!
      This raises the question of acting or not acting in loco parentis and what is reasonable which in my view is still unclear.My advice to inexperienced teachers and supply teachers is not to use it.Tell pupils to stop,get in between if you feel confident,summon help.
      Always ask yourself,"what would I tell the judge?"
      Ps two five year olds start to fight, would you use restraint?
      two six foot sixteen year olds start to fight,same question?

      Finally the less restraint is used the fewer the number of occasions it will be necessary.Does violence breed violence?

    • mwilkinson mwilkinson


      Restraint in detentions
      27 March 2008 - 15:17

      A very useful programme. However, can anyone tell me what the law states wrt students who refuse to stay in the classroom or detention. Can we prevent them from leaving by blocking their way or do we let them leave? If we let them leave at what point can we no longer be held responsible for them should they come to any harm. e.g. a student who has an after school detention that has been signed by the parent decides they do not wish to stay and leaves the room. They then have an accident on the roadway outside the school gates at a time when the parents believed them to be in school. What are the issues?