The issue of the use of isolation has hit the press – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-46044394. Bernard Allen, Training Consultant & Expert Witness (Liability), has provided the following advice for Team Teach trainers and services:
“What the press and TV reports did not seem to realise is that the guidance is at fault here. We have also had the legal judgement regarding the legality of excluding children with special needs over the summer and that is likely to bring questions from trainers. The key points are:
- Behaviour and Discipline in Schools, January 2016 – confuses isolation, seclusion and withdrawal. They are not the same thing.
- Keeping Children Safe in Education, September 2018 – confuses discipline, sanctions, and safeguarding in relation to the use of restraint and restriction.
- Para 97. When applying disciplinary measures such as restraint or isolation in response to incidents involving children with SEN and disabilities, schools and colleges should consider the risks carefully, given the additional vulnerability of the group.”
This is careless use of language. Team Teach retains the distinction between withdrawal, time-out, and seclusion. Withdrawal involves the young person being supported and monitored to enable them to re-join as soon as possible. It is not a sanction. That is what we support. In relation to the exclusion case, the key here was that the school had not shown it had made reasonable adjustments to avoid the exclusion. Providers need to show that they have made all reasonable adjustments to prevent the necessity for the use of restraint, restriction or exclusion (whether or not children and young people have additional special needs)”.