Specialist Schools: Complaints

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Shadow Minister (Education) (Children and Families)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's guidance is on the (a) use of, (b) reporting requirements on the use of and (c) complaint mechanisms for parents of children who have been subjected to restrictive practices in specialist schools.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Schools need to be safe and calm environments, with effective behaviour management policies and approaches that meet the needs of pupils. At times, it may be necessary to use reasonable force to restrain a pupil: for example to break up a fight in order to protect teachers and other pupils.

Our guidance on ‘Use of reasonable force’ provides further information about when reasonable force can be used in schools (see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/444051/Use_of_reasonable_force_advice_Reviewed_July_2015.pdf).

The Department for Education, in conjunction with the then Department for Health, consulted last year on new advice to reduce the need for restraint and restrictive intervention for children and young people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties in health and social care services and specialist education settings. We are currently considering responses to the consultation.

Information about schools’ use of restrictive practices is not held centrally. We trust schools to develop their own policies and strategies for managing disruptive behaviour according to their particular circumstances. As part of this, schools should consider whether additional training for staff is needed. When serious incidents occur, we would expect schools to record the incident and let the parents know.

If a parent wishes to complain, they can raise a formal complaint by following the school’s complaint procedure, which the school must provide on request. If parents continue to be dissatisfied, they can make a complaint in writing to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Parents also have the right to make disability discrimination claims to the First-tier Tribunal if they believe that the school has discriminated against their disabled child.

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