The Use of Reasonable Force
The use of ‘reasonable force’
There are circumstances when it is appropriate for staff in our setting to use reasonable force to safeguard children and young people. The term ‘reasonable force’ covers the broad range of actions used by staff that involve a degree of physical contact to control or restrain children. This can range from guiding a child to safety by the arm, to more extreme circumstances such as breaking up a fight or where a young person needs to be restrained to prevent violence or injury. ‘Reasonable’ in these circumstances means us ‘using no more than is needed’. Our use of force my involve either passive physical contact, such as standing between pupils or blocking a pupil’s path, or active physical contact such as leading a pupil by the arm out of the classroom.
We will always follow the advice for schools on the Use of Reasonable Force in Schools. We will also have regard to additional guidance Reducing the Need for Restraint and Restrictive Intervention for children and young people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties in health and social care services and special education settings.
We believe that the adoption of a ‘no contact’ policy in our setting could leave staff unable to fully support and protect our pupils and students. We will adopt a sensible approach allowing staff to make appropriate physical contact. The decision on whether to or not to use reasonable force to control or restrain a child is down to the professional judgement of the staff concerned and should always depend on individual circumstances.
When using reasonable force in response to risks presented by incidents involving children with SEND, mental health or with medical conditions, we will consider the risks carefully because we recognise the additional vulnerability of these groups. We will consider our duties under the Equality Act 2010 in relation to making reasonable adjustments, non-discrimination and our Public Sector Equality Duty.
We will plan positive and proactive behaviour support, for instance through drawing up individual behaviour plans for more vulnerable children, and agreeing them with parents and carers, we aim to reduce the occurrence of challenging behaviour and the need to use reasonable force. We will only use reasonable force where de-escalation processes have failed.