When is restraint ‘reasonable’? – PP58

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Pivotal Podcast Pocketbooks

Before discussing the crucial topic of restraint, Paul and Kevin announce the newly-created Pivotal Podcast Pocketbooks which are now available from Amazon. There will be a huge range of Pocketbooks from Pivotal Education, starting with the edited transcripts of some of the most popular episodes of the podcast. The idea of releasing Pocketbook bundlewritten versions of episodes came from listeners who wanted to be able to make notes and use the content in different ways. If you would like a particular episode to be converted into an ebook, please let us know!


Children die in restraint. Paul was part of a group who looked at physical restraint in custodial settings for under 18s for the Department of Justice after there were two deaths in custody due to the inappropriate use of physical restraint.

However, restraint is not just a custodial issue – it has now become part of behaviour management in many settings, not just Pupil Referral Units but also mainstream schools.

What is restraint?

Restraint means ‘putting your hands on children or young people’. It is any kind of intervention which is physical. It might just be as gentle as leading a child by their arm or it might be as intensive as holding them back to prevent them doing real harm to themselves or others.

‘Safe touch’ where you might put your hand on a child’s shoulder to congratulate them is not restraint.

We need restraint training! Or do we?

Some schools call Pivotal saying that things have gone too far and they need restraint training as if it is a kind of panacea. However, training people in restraint isn’t as straightforward as adding it to the existing repertoire of behaviour skills. It’s much more complex than that. Often, schools who say they need restraint training actually need to look more carefully at their culture, train staff more carefully in other aspects of behaviour management and review their behaviour policy. Having done this, they often find they no longer need restraint.

Do we need restraint then…

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing podcast@pivotaleducation.com


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