Isolation of children at academies prompts legal action

A woman whose daughter tried to kill herself while in an isolation booth at an academy school is to take legal action against the government. The Guardian reports.

The child, who cannot be named, has autistic spectrum disorder and mental health problems, but was put in an isolation booth by her school in Kent for more than a month.

Prior to the intervention of lawyers in mid-March, she had spent every day since mid-January in isolation, meaning she had to remain silent throughout the day and had no directed teaching.

Lawyers from the firm Simpson Millar are now taking action against the Department for Education (DfE) on behalf of the girl and a boy at another academy in Nottinghamshire for failing to review its guidance to schools about the use of isolation. The schools cannot be named for fear of identifying the children.

In December, Simpson Millar launched proceedings against Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) on behalf of a boy who spent up to 35 days in isolation in one academic year. The case was dropped when the trust said it was reviewing its behaviour policy.

In December, Simpson Millar launched proceedings against Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) on behalf of a boy who spent up to 35 days in isolation in one academic year. The case was dropped when the trust said it was reviewing its behaviour policy.

Lawyers criticised the lack of any upper limit for the amount of time a child could be kept in isolation. “Unlike if pupils receive fixed-term exclusions, there is no automatic mechanism for reporting the level of isolations to the governing body, nor do the cutoffs (15 days in a term, 45 days in a year) apply.”

Dan Rosenberg, an education solicitor at Simpson Millar, said: “What was originally a method for dealing with an immediate crisis in a classroom is now being used as a low-cost solution for the long-term management of pupils, to the detriment of their mental health and education. The current guidance is not fit for purpose, and as a result children are suffering.”

Read the full article  Isolation of children at academies prompts legal action

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link 

We now have a Facebook page - pls click to like!

 

More recent posts...

EdTech Strategy marks 'new era' for schools
LGBT lesson row head teachers 'feel alone' and unsupported
Categories: 1st POST, Academies, Primary, Safeguarding, Secondary and SEN.

Let us know what you think...