Guide to a policy on the use of Reasonable Force
In accordance with the DENI Circular 1999/0 Victoria Park Primary School has established a Pastoral Care Policy towards the pupils in its charge. In addition it takes reasonable steps to safeguard the welfare of its staff and pupils by promoting good behaviour and discipline on the parts of its pupils.
The Education Order (NI) 1998 enables a member of staff to use reasonable force in the circumstances to prevent a pupils from:
The right to use reasonable force to control or restrain a pupil applies:
Reasonable Force cannot be precisely defined but three areas should be considered before reasonable force is applied:
Predicting the Need for Reasonable Force
Initially it is assumed that all good behaviour management strategies have been exercised.
ln order that staff may make the correct decision at short notice the school will have considered, in advance, circumstances when they should and should not use reasonable force.
Staff will employ strategies, which have been given as guidance by the Belfast Education & Library Board.
Need for Reasonable Force
The use of reasonable force can be considered when:
Examples of the above include: a pupil attacking a member of staff or other pupil, pupils are fighting, a pupil causing or at risk, injury or damage by accident, rough play or use of dangerous objects etc, running in an inappropriate situation, a pupil absconding especially from the school.
Examples of the above include a pupil persistently refuses to obey an order to leave the classroom, a pupil whose behaviour is seriously disrupting a lesson.
Conduct During the Application of Reasonable Force
Having, considered and applied all possible alternatives members of staff should:
Physical Intervention could include:
Staff should never act in a way that might lead to injury of the pupil. It would be therefore unacceptable to hit, slap, punch, twist limbs, hold inappropriately, or throw an object as means or constraint. Avoidance or holding or touching indecently goes without saying.
Not all-possible situations can be included in any school policy.
However it is understood that all adults will act in good faith in cases of extreme emergency.
Teachers should use their professional training and judgments to when physical contact is appropriate such as in PE lessons when coaching techniques or consoling a pupil in distress.
Reporting of the Use of Reasonable Force
Record of the Use of Reasonable Force
The report on the use of Reasonable Force will contain: