UK teachers allowed to use force

BRITISH teachers have been given a green light to use “reasonable” physical force to control unruly students.

New guidelines published in England today say it “may not always be possible to avoid injuring pupils” while using restraining techniques in the most extreme circumstances, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports.

Examples of such situations may include: removing disruptive students from classrooms, breaking up fights, and stopping attacks on teachers and pupils.

Some schools currently adopt a “no contact” policy to avoid being sued by guardians after children are restrained by staff, but the latest policy explicitly bans such policies, noting that teachers should not be automatically suspended for using “excessive force”.

“For far too long teachers have been buried under guidance and reports on how to tackle bad behaviour,” government adviser on classroom behaviour Charlie Taylor told the Telegraph.

“The new guidance will help teachers do their job without lessons being disrupted and schools to feel confident when they address behaviour issues.”

Under the guidelines, teachers will not require parental permission to use force.

However, staff should “always try to avoid acting in a way that might cause injury, but in extreme cases it may not always be possible to avoid injuring the pupil”.

Furthermore, the guidelines state it is acceptable for staff to make physical contact under certain circumstances, including holding a child’s hand, comforting distressed pupils or demonstrating sports techniques during PE classes, without fear of being accused of inappropriate conduct.

The changes come after news that major assaults on British school staff reached a five-year-high in 2010, when 44 were admitted to hospital.

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