Category Archives: reduction

Exclusion Guidance

Recently, I have written a piece of guidance for the trust that I work for, in order to support the trust exclusion process. I was finding that I was being asked to support schools more and more with exclusions so I wrote a piece of guidance to help support this. I thought it may be helpful so posted it here. Please keep in mind that thsi has been written for schools who have Associate Principals and/or Executive Principals in academies but the general premise is the same for schools with different leadership structures and LA or maintained schools. The main changes between LA schools and academies are when parents make written appeals against exclusion decisions.

 

Exclusion Guidance

This guidance serves to support Head Teachers if they decide to exclude children. It sets out the difference between fixed term and permanent exclusions and it clarifies what constitutes to illegal exclusions. It also gives general guidance on the exclusion process, including time frames, and gives advice on what paperwork needs to be prepared for the Governor Review Meeting and/or the Independent Review.

This document should be read alongside:

  • DfE: Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England
  • The Trust Exclusion Policy

 

Guidance and policy

The exclusion process is part statutory and part non-statutory (it differs slightly between academies and local authority maintained schools) and the key driving policy behind it is the DfE policy mentioned above. The DfE policy governs the exclusion of pupils from local authority maintained schools, academies, free schools and pupil referral units. This also includes special schools (PMLD, SEBD etc) who are controlled by any of the listed educational establishments. All schools must follow the stipulated guidance from the DfE unless they have good reason not to. If in a particular case there is good reason not to, it would be good practice to document what was done and the reason why.

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Restraint, Risk and Reduction

As part of my current role, I am responsible for behaviour in the cluster I work in and I am an accredited Team Teach instructor. I have been trained in Team Teach for the last 7 years (four of that while working in a PRU and three years in my current mainstream) and I have been an instructor for the last year. I, alongside my colleague, have trained around 150 staff in our Multi Academy Trust and I will be training another 20 or so in September. One of the biggest problems that I come across as the behaviour lead for the cluster I work in, is when some people are trained in schools and some are not. Usually, the majority of staff, who have not had any formal training in positive handling, see themselves as not being allowed to physically touch or restrain children. This is simply not the case and this has caused schools so many problems. Knowledge is power… or so they say. This blog post intends to be my outlook on the restraint, risk and reduction as well as a link to some formal documentation.

Power to use reasonable force and duty of care

All members of staff who work in a school have a legal power to use reasonable force. There are set reasons when staff could use reasonable force because whenever anyone physically handles another person, it must be a legal use of force. You can’t normally physically touch another person without their consent. If I was to walk down the street and take hold of someones arm against their will, they would have a right, and possibly should, press charges for assault. In schools, we act under exceptional circumstances and if the situation presents itself, we can step outside of this norm. The DfE, in their non-statutory guidance, states that reasonable forceĀ ‘means using no more force than is needed.’ The term force, in the contexts of reasonable force is deemed when the force is applied to control of restrain.

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