Changes proposed to physical restraint framework
16 October 2019
We have been working on your behalf to improve the regulatory framework for physical restraint in schools. Since the legislation was changed in 2017, you have told us that you consider the current regulatory settings to be confusing and unclear about what you can, cannot and should not do. The current legislation does not sit well with the Code. Some of you have told us you are wary of using any type of physical contact in case it be misconstrued as physical restraint and are worried that children are more at risk now too.
We have proposed some changes to the legislation that we believe will better align with the Code expectation of promoting the wellbeing of all learners and protecting all from harm. Currently the legislation limits physical restraint to situations where there is a risk of serious and imminent harm, which has had the effect of deterring teachers from intervening before a situation gets serious. We are proposing to enable teachers to intervene earlier and to consider the emotional and physical harm of all the learners, as expected in the Code.
We want the legislation to be clearer and to have simple explanations about what it means in practice available in guidance. We are suggesting that we create, with you, some more nuanced guidance similar to the Examples in Practice created for the Code.
As an independent body, the Teaching Council can provide advice to the Minister of Education, and to the Ministry of Education, which we have done. However, as we are not a Crown agency, there are parts of the legislative process that we are not a party to. We expect that any decisions made by Cabinet will be publicly released, and when they are we will take the opportunity to draw them to your attention. We will also be seeking your views and participation in the consultation at the Select Committee stage before wording is finalised.
We will keep you posted on the timeline and the opportunities for you to be involved in further consultation and then later in working with us on the guidance.