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The law on ... Reasonable force

Basic issues

Since the Education and Inspections Act 2006, all teachers have the power to use reasonable force to maintain discipline within schools.

Whose responsibility is it?

What is considered reasonable to one person may not be what is considered reasonable to another. There is also an inherent fear by parents that this power can be misused so it's extremely important, in my view, for schools to ensure that only one or two members of staff are trained to use reasonable force in certain and limited circumstances. Those members of staff should also be trusted members of the teaching team.

What's next?

If the power is misused by teachers, there is a real risk that litigation on this issue will be on the increase. It is important that teachers inform themselves through training courses and use such powers exceptionally and in limited situations.

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