Social Workers call for alternative approach to use of physical restraint in schools
The British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland (BASW NI) has briefed the Northern Ireland Assembly Education Committee stressing the need for up-to-date Department of Education guidance aimed at minimising the use of restraint and preventing the use of seclusion for children with additional needs in educational settings.
Speaking following the evidence session, BASW NI National Director, Carolyn Ewart said: “The use of restraint and seclusion can have very harmful effects on children and young people. Restraint can result in physical injury and both restraint and seclusion can have damaging impacts on emotional wellbeing and can lead to the children affected experiencing psychological trauma.”
During the evidence session BASW NI representatives explained there is a need for mandatory training for all teachers and support staff in the use of Positive Behaviour Support strategies and for the introduction of mandatory reporting of all incidents where restrictive interventions are used.
Commenting on the recommendations, Ms Ewart said: “BASW NI is acutely aware of the pressures facing teaching staff and we believe there is a need for additional resources to be made available to train teachers and other staff in the use of Positive Behaviour Support strategies. The focus must always be on meeting the needs of vulnerable children and young people and promoting their wellbeing. It should always be remembered that all behaviour is communication and behaviour that challenges is often the result of an unmet need or frustrations arising from difficulties in communicating these needs.
“BASW NI is committed to working with the Department, the Education Authority, parents and families affected, and all other stakeholders to ensure the needs of vulnerable children and young people are met and their wellbeing is promoted.”
- Contact Andy McClenaghan, BASW NI Public Affairs and Communications Officer on 07702 517560 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- BASW NI National Director, Carolyn Ewart will be available for interview