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Schools: Discipline

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disciplinary measures used in schools do not harm the mental health of students.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which sets out the behaviour expected of pupils and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. Schools may only impose sanctions or penalties that are reasonable and proportionate in all circumstances and must not breach any other legislation, such as in respect of disability, special educational needs, race and other equalities and human rights.

The Department’s guidance on behaviour and discipline states that schools should consider whether continuing disruptive behaviour may be the result of an unmet mental health need, in which case a multi-agency referral may be necessary.

Guidance on behaviour and discipline is available from:

Additionally, in 2018 the Department published updated Mental Health & Behaviour in Schools Guidance, which can be accessed here: The purpose of this guidance is to help schools to identify pupils whose behaviour may be the result of an underlying mental health difficulty, and to understand when and how to put in place support.​

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