Policies & Procedures
positive role modelling
planning a range of interesting and challenging boundaries and expectations
providing positive feedback.
However, there are very occasional times when a child’s behaviour presents particular challenges that may require physical handling. This policy sets out expectations for the use of physical handling.
There are three main types of physical handling:
The positive use of touch is a normal part of human interaction. Touch might be appropriate in a range of situations:
giving guidance to children (such as how to hold a paintbrush, or when climbing)
providing emotional support (such as placing an arm around a distressed child)
physical care (such as first aid or toileting).
Staff must exercise appropriate care when using touch. There are some children for whom touch would be inappropriate such as those with a history of physical abuse, or those from certain cultural groups. Buttercups policy is not intended to imply that staff should no longer touch children.
Physical intervention can include mechanical and environmental means such as high chairs, stair gates or locked doors. These may be appropriate ways of ensuring a child’s safety.
Restrictive physical intervention.
This is when a member of staff uses physical force intentionally to restrict a child’s movement against his or her will. In most cases this will be through the use of the adult’s body rather than mechanical or environmental methods. This guidance refers mainly to the use of restrictive bodily physical intervention and is based on national guidance.
Principles for the use of restrictive physical intervention:
Restrictive physical handling should be used in the context of positive behaviour management approaches
Buttercups will only use restrictive physical intervention in extreme circumstances. It will not be the preferred way of managing children’s behaviour.
Buttercup’s recognises that physical intervention should only be used in the context of a well established and well implemented positive framework.
Buttercup’s aims to do all it can in order to avoid using restrictive physical intervention. However there are clearly rare situations of such extreme danger that create an immediate need for the use of restrictive physical intervention. Restrictive physical intervention in these circumstances can be used with other strategies such as saying ‘stop’.
Restrictive physical intervention will only be used when staffs believe it’s use in the child’s best interests: their needs are paramount.
Thirdly: duty of care.
Staffs have a duty of care towards the children in Buttercups. When children are in danger of hurting themselves, others or of causing significant damage to property, staffs have a responsibility to intervene. In most cases, this involves an attempt to ‘stop!’ However, if it is judged as necessary, staff may use restrictive physical intervention.
Fourthly: reasonable minimal force.
When physical intervention is used, it is used within the principle of reasonable minimal force. This means using an amount of force in proportion to the circumstances. Staff should use as little restrictive force as necessary in order to maintain safety. Staff should use this for as short a period as possible.
When can restrictive physical intervention be used?
Buttercups identifies that restrictive physical intervention can be justified when:
Some one is injuring themselves or others
Some one is damaging property
There is suspicion that, although injury, damage or other crime has not yet happened, it is about to happen.
Buttercup’s states that duty of care means that staff might use restrictive physical intervention if a child is trying to leave the site and it is judged that the child would be at risk. Staff should also use other protective measures, such as securing the site and ensuring adequate staffing levels. This duty of care also extends beyond the site boundaries: when staffs have control or charge of children off site (e.g. on trips).
This policy highlights that there may be times when, restrictive physical intervention is justified but the situation might be made worse if restrictive physical intervention is used. If staff judge that restrictive physical intervention would make the situation worse, staff would not use it, but would do something else (like issue an instruction to stop. Seek help, or make the area safe) consistent with their duty of care.
Buttercup’s emphasises that the aim in using restrictive physical intervention is to restore safety, both for the child and those around him or her. Restrictive physical intervention must never be used out of anger, as a punishment or as alternative to measures which are less intrusive and which staff judge would be effective.
Who can use restrictive physical intervention?
It is recommended that a member of staff who knows the child well is involved in a restrictive physical intervention. This person is most likely to be able to use other methods to support the child and keep them safe without using physical intervention. In an emergency, anyone can use restrictive physical intervention as long as it is consistent with the setting’s policy.
Where individual children’s behaviour means that they are likely to require restrictive physical intervention, staff should identify members who are most appropriate to be involved. It is important that such staff have received appropriate training and support behaviour management as well as physical intervention. Buttercup’s emphasises that staff and children’s physical and emotional health is considered when such plans are made.
What type of restrictive physical intervention can and cannot be used?
Any use of physical restrictive intervention in Buttercups shall be consistent with the principle of reasonable minimal force. Where it is judged that restrictive physical intervention is necessary, staff should:
aim for side-by-side contact with the child. Avoid positioning themselves in front (to reduce the risk of being kicked) or behind (to reduce the risk of allegations of sexual misconduct)
aim for no gap between the adult’s and child’s body, where they are side by side. This minimises the risk of impact and damage
aim to keep the adult’s back as straight as possible
beware in particular of head positioning, to avoid head butts from the child
hold children by ‘long’ bones, i.e. avoid grasping at joints here pain and damage are most likely
ensure that there is no restriction to the child’s ability to breathe. In particular, this means avoiding holding a child around the chest cavity or stomach
Staffs at Buttercups are not allowed to use seclusion (which is where children are forced to spend time alone in a locked room) except in an emergency situation.
Restrictive physical intervention is not used to bring children to, or hold them in, time-out.
Staff will receive specific training in the use of restrictive physical intervention and appropriate refresher training. This training is accredited through the national accreditation system set up by BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities).
In an emergency, staffs do their best within their duty of care and using reasonable minimal force. After an emergency the situation is reviewed and plans for an appropriate future response are made. This will be based on a risk assessment, which considers:
what the risks are
who is at risk and how
what can be done to manage the risk.
A risk assessment is used to help write the individual behaviour plan that is developed to support a child. If this behaviour plan includes restrictive physical intervention it will be just one part of a whole approach to supporting a child’s behaviour. The behaviour plan should outline:
an understanding of what the child it trying to achieve or communicate through their behaviour
how the environment can be adapted to better meet the child’s needs
how the child can be taught and encouraged to use new, more appropriate behaviour
how the child can be rewarded when he or she makes progress
how staff respond when the child’s behaviour is challenging (responsive strategies).
Buttercup’s emphasises that staff pay particular attention to responsive strategies. There are a range of approaches such as humour, distraction, relocation, and offering choices, which are direct alternatives to using restrictive physical intervention. Responsive strategies are chosen in the light of a risk assessment, which considers:
the risks presented by the child’s behaviour
the potential targets of such risks
Preventative and responsive strategies to manage these risks.
Buttercups will draw from as many different viewpoints as possible when it is known that an individual child’s behaviour is likely to require some form of restrictive physical intervention. In particular, the child’s parent/carers will be involved with staff from Buttercups who work with the child and any visiting support staff (such as Area SENCO’S, Educational Psychologists, PORTAGE Plus workers, the Behaviour Support Team, Speech and Language Therapists and Social Workers). The outcome from these planning meetings will be recorded and signature will be sought from the parent/carer to confirm their knowledge of the planned approach. These plans will be reviewed at least once every four to six months or more frequently if there are major changes to the child’s circumstances.
Recording and reporting
Restrictive physical intervention will be recorded by Buttercups and will be done as soon as possible and within 24 hours of the incident. According to the nature of the incident, the incident shall be noted in other records, such as the accident book or child tracking sheets.
After using restrictive physical intervention Buttercups shall inform the parent/carer by telephone (or by letter or note home with the child if this is not possible). Parents/carers shall be given a copy of the record form. The manager and local authority (where required) shall also be informed.
The records will show:
who was involved (child and staff, including observers)
the reason physical intervention was considered appropriate
how the child was held
when it happened (date and time) and for how long
any injury or subsequent distress, and what was done in relation to this.
supporting and reviewing.
Buttercup’s emphasises that it is distressing to be involved in a restrictive physical intervention, whether as the person doing the holding, the child being held, or some one observing or hearing about what has happened.
After restrictive physical intervention support is given to the child so that they can understand why they were held. A record is kept about how the child felt about this where this is possible. Where appropriate, staff may have the same sort of conversations with other children who observed what happened. In all cases, staff should wait until the child has calmed down enough to be able to talk productively and understand this conversation. If necessary, an independent member of staff will check for injury and provide appropriate first aid.
Buttercup’s emphasises that support is given to the adults who were involved, either actively or as observers. The adults should be given the chance to talk through what has happened with the most appropriate person from the staff team.
A key aim of after-incident support is to repair any potential strain to the relationship between the child and the adult that restrained him or her.
Buttercup’s emphasises that after a restrictive physical intervention, staff consider reviewing the individual behaviour plan so that the risk of needing restrictive physical intervention again is reduced.
This policy shall be reviewed annually, (more often if needed), by Hazel Scott (SENCO Co-ordinator).
Buttercups will take the opportunity to seek support from the Area SENCO where appropriate.
Monitoring the use of restrictive physical intervention will help identify trends and therefore help develop Buttercups ability to meet the needs of children without using restrictive physical intervention.
The use of restrictive physical intervention can lead to allegations of inappropriate or excessive use. Where anyone (child, carer, staff member or visitor) has concern, this should be dealt with through Buttercups usual complaint’s procedure.
This policy was adopted on 1st Februay 2006 and will be reviewed annually from the date shown.