The use of restraint in schools has been questioned recently along with the use of school isolation. Why? Ministers say the effects of this can be damaging.
A teacher’s job?
As a teacher my job is to teach a class and ensure they make progress. But how do you do that with children continually disrupting learning?
It’s not easy particularly when children cannot cope with the situation they are in. I have in the past been kicked, hit, sworn at, spat on by children who couldn’t cope in the environment. We might question whether the classroom is the best place for these children. Sometimes large groups are intimidating to children and this can lead to feelings of high anxiety and outbursts that can be quite scary.
The effects of school isolation
If a child has been misunderstood and does not have the language to explain themselves properly, a school that then puts that child into school isolation is pushing the child further away. This creates more anxiety and feelings of isolation for the child. Rather than being supportive and working through the issue together, the child ends up feeling further removed. I’m not sure how this achieves anything good for anybody least of all the child who should be at the heart of everything.
So what happens as a result of these behaviours? That depends on the school. Some schools do not know how to deal with behaviours such as these and therefore do not cope well. They do not have the strategies in place to offer the right support. A child lashes out for a reason – usually because they don’t have the language to express themselves.
So is restraint or school isolation the right reaction to an action that may have been out of fear or emotion not understood?
I think it depends on the circumstances. Restraint used correctly to prevent a child from hurting themselves – yes.
I’m not sure what seclusion achieves… does it solve the problem? It gives everyone else space but doesn’t really solve anything. Could it do more damage than good? Quite possibly!
So should it be used? What do you think? Comment below!
BBC News – School seclusion ‘could have damaging effects’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-50865968