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Frequently Asked Questions

These are the frequently asked questions that we come across during our sessions.

For fuller guidance inside schools please refer to the DfE use of reasonable force 2013.

This is the most up to date document that we work from. It is currently under review and any recommendations or changes will be implemented immediately by P&I Training LTD.

The guidance is non-statutory and it's up to individual schools to decide how they implement the guidance.

It is our advice to adopt the DfE use of reasonable force inside schools.

 

Question...

Do you show how to handle small children as our previous training focuses on bigger children?

Answer...

We show handling in the safest possible way for both large and small children. 90% of the schools we work with are primary schools.

The problem that most training companies have is that during training it is usually adult on adult. For this reason it can only be described as to what you do and how to do it with people smaller than us. We focus on smaller children when working with primary schools but it is impossible to show what it looks like in real life due to the lack of children in the session. We have found that dolls and dummies are pretty much useless for training purposes. Research from staff informs us that they don't like this as it doesn't feel real.

We also have to remember that when people ask about small children, size is only relevant to the person who is dealing with a concern. What may appear big to you may appear small to others. We will offer support and advice for whatever size children you are dealing with, however, size of staff to child (both bigger and smaller) is a contributing factor when making a decision as to the use of force to support a concern.

Question...

Do I have to have physical intervention training when working with children in schools?

Answer...

No. DfE guidance states that anybody employed by a school or trust to work in a school, or anybody else that is placed in a position of trust over children in a school such as volunteers, can, with or without training, use physical intervention as long as their actions are reasonable, necessary and proportionate in the circumstances they are facing. It's always good to have staff in the school with some knowledge of physical intervention but this is a personal choice of the schools.

Question...

What is restraint?

Answer...

Restraint is the word often used to describe the act of taking full control of a child's movements by either stopping them moving against their will or taking them somewhere against their will. Anything less than restraint will be prompts and guides (using physical contact to guide and support a child) or passive physical intervention (stopping children doing things using an act such as standing in a doorway to prevent passage. The act of preventing children moving without physical contact).

Question...

What is last resort and do I have to de-escalate every incident?

Answer...

You do not have to de-escalate every incident. In the most serious of circumstances such as a fight or a child walking in front of a moving vehicle, physical intervention may be used immediately to maintain safety. Last resort means that it was the only thing that you believed, at that moment in the circumstances that you were facing, would work. 

It is always at the forefront of any training that physical intervention is alway the last resort. If something other than physical intervention works then this should always be used.

Question...

Is there anything illegal that you cannot do when physically intervening with a child?

Answer...

Most holds and techniques do not have standardised names, therefore you may come across holds that sound different. The DfE has identified 3 things that are illegal.

1. Basket holds - the act of sitting behind a young person, holding the wrists and pulling the child's arms across their chest. Any hold like this should be avoided.

2. Seated embrace holds, single or double - the act of forcing young people forward while in a seated position. Any hold involving the child being forced forward should be avoided.

3. Nose distraction techniques - the act of a jab to the nose either with flat hand or with fist. Any techniques that involve hitting of the nose should be avoided. 

4. Anything that prevents the child from breathing should never be attempted, this includes when biting is occurring.

 

Question...

What does a reasonable intervention look like?

Answer...

Reasonable in the circumstances has no legal definition but can be translated into minimum force for the minimum time. Staff members should use the least restrictive option available to them during any physical intervention. Once the risk has passed or reduced you should either leave go or reduce the level of restriction in response to the risk being displayed. Reasonable in the circumstances will differ from staff member to staff member as all of the circumstances of the incident must be taken into consideration including the location, child size and physical capabilities, staff member size and physical capabilities. 

Question...

How could you describe proportionate?

Answer...

Proportionate in the context of physical intervention roughly translates into your actions causing less harm than if you hadn't physically intervened. If the intervention is likely to cause more harm then it is probably not proportionate.

Question...

Who makes the decision whether or not to physically intervene?

Answer...

The final decision to use physical intervention is always made by the person implementing it. 

Question...

Can a parent or the school tell you not to physically intervene?

Answer...

Parent - No. The decision is always made by the supervising adult. We have a duty of care to the children, ourselves and all visitors to the school. DfE guidance states that no schools should have a no contact policy as such a policy may put a staff member in a position where they cannot carry out their duty of care. 

School - to a certain extent. Schools can tell you not to intervene for disruption or for some types of damage to property. You cannot be told not to protect yourself or not to prevent a child or somebody else being hurt. This would come under UK law and we can't have policies that don't allow you to act lawfully.

Question...

What reasons does the DfE give when physical intervention may be necessary?

Answer...

The DfE has identified 4 circumstances where physical intervention may be appropriate. There must be a risk of harm to self, others, serious risk of damage to property or serious disruption - maintenance and good order to the safe running of the school.

Question...

We have a child who climbs the school gates, are we allowed to stop them?

Answer...

Yes. You are allowed to physically stop children carrying out any action that you believe may result in them hurting themselves, others, damaging property or prejudices the maintenance and good order to the running of the school. There must be real belief  that one of these 4 risks is likely to happen if you were not to physically intervene.

Question...

Do I have to physically intervene in all circumstances?

Answer...

No. Physical intervention is a power of force to be utilised. We have a duty of care to do the most that we can to keep the children safe. The duty of care also extends to yourself. If you cannot reasonably, safely intervene then you should try to do as much as possible to support the incident such as shouting for help.

Question...

What if an allegation is made against me?

Answer...

Allegations do happen. DfE guidance states that as long as your actions were, reasonable, necessary and proportionate in the circumstances that you were facing then you should be supported when using the power of force. Suspension should not be an automatic response to an allegation being made.

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