Pupils ‘hurt every day’ by school restraint methods

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are campaigning for better regulation on the use of restraint techniques in schools, fearing that pupils are “being hurt every day” because of unclear rules. Tes reports. 

Three families have set up a crowd-funding appeal to pay for legal advice on making a legal challenge against the government over what they say are a lack of adequate safeguards on the use of restraint in schools.

The families have sought advice from law firm Irwin Mitchell. One parent told the legal team that her daughter, who had self-harmed, had been restrained 81 times during a year. Another parent said her son was physically restrained 30 times in three months, resulting in bruising on his ankles, face and back. Both children had special educational needs.

Funds raised by the appeal will allow specialist lawyers to advise on whether there are grounds to bring a judicial review challenging what they say is the education secretary’s failure to ensure that there are adequate safeguards around the use of restraint on children in schools in England and Wales.

Polly Sweeney, an education and human rights lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The first-hand accounts we have had heard from parents about some of the measures used to restrain their children are extremely worrying. This is why we are now looking into these concerns, to challenge the lack of a clear legal framework for restraint and seclusion in schools.”

The families want Damian Hinds, the education secretary, to introduce a new law regulating the use of restraint and other restrictive practices, such as seclusion, in schools.

The Department of Health and Social Care consulted on draft guidance to reduce the need for restraint for children and young people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder and mental health needs between November 2017 and January 2018, but the results of the consultation have yet to be published.

Read the full article Pupils ‘hurt every day’ by school restraint methods

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