Children’s rights not reflected in school guidance on restraint and seclusion

The Department of Education has been called upon to develop new guidance on the restraint and seclusion of children and young people, particularly those with additional support needs.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:14 pm
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:14 pm
Education Minister Peter Weir has been called upon to update Department of Education guidance on restraint and seclusion of pupils. Photo: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

The Assembly’s Education Committee has brought forward a motion calling on the Minister of Education and his department to urgently update its practices which are more than two decades old.

Committee chairperson Chris Lyttle of the Alliance Party said children’s rights were not being reflected: “The current situation is quite simply not good enough. The existing guidance is over 20 years old and does not reflect present-day protections for children’s rights nor the inclusion of alternative practices that have been adopted successfully by many other jurisdictions.”

He continued: “The minister and his department must prioritise the development of comprehensive guidance and they must take a fully holistic approach by working in partnership with parents and other stakeholder organisations to deliver this.

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“We also fully recognise the difficulties faced by teachers and school staff in dealing with these situations. It is crucial that they are provided with a clear direction by the department and with the time and appropriate training to acquire the necessary understanding and skills to deal effectively and sensitively with children and young people with additional support needs.”

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