Parents Set To Launch Legal Case Over Lack Of Clear Guidance
The parents of children with learning disabilities have launched a campaign calling on the government to better regulate the use of pupil restraint in schools.
Three families – who have sought legal advice from law firm Irwin Mitchell - are lobbying for the introduction of a clear legal framework and robust guidance , fearing that disabled children are “being hurt every day” because there are no clear rules in force.
At the moment, the vague and inadequate nature of the government’s “Advice” to schools means they are left to use whatever measures they wish to manage what they consider to be ‘challenging behaviour’, the parents believe.
One parent told her legal team at Irwin Mitchell that her daughter, who had self-harmed, was restrained 81 times during a year. Another parent said her son was physically restrained 30 times in three months, resulting in bruising on his ankles, face and back. Both children had special educational needs.
The families have launched a crowdfunding appeal which will allow specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to advise on whether there are grounds to bring a judicial review challenging the Secretary of State for Education’s failure to ensure there are adequate safeguards around the use of restraint on children in schools in England and Wales.
The families want Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP, to introduce a new law regulating the use of restraint as well as other restrictive practices such as seclusion in schools.
They believe that the current failure to have such framework is a potential breach of their children’s’ human rights as without it the government cannot be satisfied that restraint is being used lawfully and proportionately.
It comes after a report by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland James Adamson published in December said current guidelines on restraint and seclusion in Scottish schools were falling short, leaving the practices “largely unmonitored” by councils.
The families are being supported by child disabilities campaigner Beth Morrison. She has carried out research which has found nearly 700 children have suffered injuries while being restrained by school staff, and is campaigning to change the status quo.
For more information visit https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/restraint/