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(UK) SPED parents seek new law on restraint use

Feb 25, 2019, Schools Week: Parents lobbying for new law on pupil restraint consider judicial review https://schoolsweek.co.uk/parents-lobbying-for-new-law-on-pupil-restraint-consider-judicial-review/ Families of children with learning disabilities have sought legal advice over pupil restraint in schools, and may launch a judicial review to force ministers to introduce a new law governing its use. Lawyers Irwin Mitchell have announced they are acting for a group of parents who fear disabled children are “being hurt every day” because there are no clear rules to prevent it. They believe the government is failing in its duty to our most vulnerable children, resulting in practices within some schools that can result in distress and injury The group wants Damian Hinds, the education secretary, to pass a law regulating the use of restraint and “other restrictive practices” in schools, claiming the current set-up breaches their children’s human rights. Government guidance on the use of reasonable force in schools, issued in 2013, sets out that school staff have the power to use force to control or restrain pupils when necessary, and that legal use of this power will provide them with a defence against any legal action. The government’s guidance says schools can use reasonable force to remove disruptive children who have refused to leave, prevent pupils disrupting school events and trips and to prevent pupils from leaving the classroom when doing so would risk their or another child’s safety. Schools can also use force to prevent pupils from attacking staff or other pupils or to stop fights, and to restrain pupils at risk of harming themselves…. According to Irwin Mitchell, one parent alleges that her daughter, who has self-harmed, was restrained 81 times in a year. Another parent claims her son was restrained 30 times in three months, resulting in bruises. Both pupils had special educational needs, lawyers said. …