Positive Handling Policy

School Values and Policies

New Direction Philosophy:

“Creating a Positive Present….. Working for a Positive Future”

Situated in 40 acres of picturesque North Derbyshire countryside, New Direction School provides education for children whose learning difficulties are compounded by severe forms of challenging behaviour. Children with epilepsy, sensory or physical disabilities are welcome – as are those with syndromes which may be associated with challenging behaviour.

At the heart of our school are the children. Our mission is to provide every one of them with the highest standards of teaching and the very best learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed upon developing strategies to support learning and challenging forms of behaviour and preparing them for their future life.

New Direction is a school dedicated to the education of the whole child – believing that the success of our pupils is inextricably linked with the success and support experienced in life at home. Currently, at the forefront of the government’s recently announced ‘Reach Out: Think Family’ initiative the school offers a number of ‘Family-Focused’ support services:

Uniquely, New Direction uses the facilities of an ex-equestrian centre to provide a new take on therapy using equine assisted techniques. These are used by our pupils and their families to explore the underlying problems behind their behavioural issues. In addition, through the school’s team of support staff, counsellors and social workers, we offer a range of other support services, including: Crisis Intervention; Pupil Advocacy; Family Meetings, etc.

It is our belief that whilst learning should be challenging and stimulating it should be, also, interactive and enjoyable; so New Direction provides a rich and rounded experience through beautiful surroundings, a strong and diverse curriculum, a happy and supportive environment and an extensive range of sporting, artistic and outdoor activities.

The school behaviour policies outlines how staff at New Direction School create and maintain good order and relationships through positive approaches. These approaches are successful for the vast majority of the time. This policy on the use of restrictive physical interventions supplements the main behaviour policy. Both should be read in conjunction with the school Health & Safety policy, and the Child Protection policy.

Purpose of this policy

This policy aims to give all members of the school community clear guidance so that any physical intervention that they undertake is carried out in a way that supports the values and principles described above. In particular, it aims to describe the circumstances in which restrictive physical intervention is an appropriate response and how staff at school will fulfil their responsibilities in those circumstances.


Physical Touch

The staff at New Direction school believe that physical touch is an essential part of human relationships. In our school, adults may well use touch to prompt, to give reassurance or to provide support in P.E.

To use touch/physical support successfully, staff will adhere to the following principles. It must:

  • Be non-abusive, with no intention to cause pain or injury.
  • Be in the best interests of the child and others.
  • Have a clear educational purpose (e.g to access the curriculum or to improve social relationships).
  • Take account of gender issues.

The Proprietor is responsible for ensuring that relevant staff are aware of any pupil who finds physical touch unwelcome. Such sensitivity may arise from the pupil’s cultural background, personal history, age etc.

What do we mean by ‘Positive Handling’?

It is helpful to distinguish between:

Definition Explanation Example
Non-restrictive physical interventions. (As already stated touch/physical contact is a small but important and natural part of teacher-pupil relationships in our school). Either where the child’s movement is not restricted or where the child is held supportively but such that they will be released immediately should they so wish. ·         Guiding/shepherding a person from A to B

·         Use of protective helmet to prevent self-injury

·         Removal of a cause of distress

Restrictive physical interventions. Prevent, impede or restrict movement or mobility. Restraint. To use force to direct. ·         Isolating a child in a room.

·         Blocking a person’s path.

·         Interpositioning.

·         Pushing/pulling.

And between:


Emergency/Unplanned Interventions Occur in response to unforeseen events
Planned Interventions In which staff employ, where necessary, pre-arranges strategies and methods which are based on a risk assessment and recorded in a individual plan for the management of a pupil.


When is Positive Handling Permissible?

Positive handling is rarely used at New Direction. However, it will be necessary when its aim it to prevent a pupil injuring themselves or others. (For example, pupils playing in a dangerously rough manner) or to prevent them damaging property. (For example, pupils throwing a heavy object at/near expensive computer equipment).[Section 550A, DFES Circular 10/98].

Section550A also allows the use of force ‘to prevent a pupil from engaging in any behaviour prejudicial to maintaining good order and discipline ……’ However, the use of positive handing for this purpose is acceptable only in rare circumstances at New Direction (for example, pupils threatening and intimidating another pupil or member of staff).

Risk Assessment

The use of positive handling will be the outcome of a professional judgement made by staff on the basis of this school policy. It is avoided whenever possible and will not be used for staff convenience.

Positive handling will only be considered if other behaviour management options have proved ineffective or are judged to be inappropriate (or in an emergency situation).

Before deciding to intervene in this way, staff will weigh up whether the risk of not intervening is greater that the risk of intervening. Any actions will be carried out with the child’s best interests at heart. Positive handling will never be used to punish a pupil or cause pain, injury or humiliation.

Staff are not expected to intervene physically against their better judgement nor are they expected to place themselves at unreasonable risk. In such circumstances, they must take steps to minimise risks. For example, by removing other pupils and calling for assistance.

Who may use positive handling?

In this school all teachers are authorised. In addition, all support staff and non-teaching staff are authorised.



Supply staff will not be authorised to use restrictive physical interventions except if they have been specifically authorised by the Proprietor.

Parents and volunteers in the school are not given authorisation. Staff from the local education authority may have their own policies about the care and control of pupils, but whilst on the premises, they will be expected to be aware of, and operate within, the policy of this school. This means that visiting staff will need to ask the Proprietor for authorisation.

How staff at New Direction School might intervene….

When a restrictive physical intervention is justified, staff will use ‘reasonable force’. This is the degree of force ‘warranted by the situation’. It will ‘be proportionate to the circumstances of the incident and the consequences it is intended to prevent’. Any forced used will always be the minimum needed to achieve the desired result and for the shortest amount of time:

Staff will:

  • Work in pairs.
  • Use the minimum amount of force for the minimum amount of time.
  • Avoid causing pain or injury.
  • Avoid holding or putting pressure on joints.
  • In general hold long bones.
  • Never hold a pupil face down on the ground or in any position that might increase the risk of suffocation.

During an incident the members of staff involved will tell the pupil that his or her behaviour may lead to restraint. This will not be used as a threat or said in a way that could inflame the situation. Staff will not act out of anger or frustration. They will try to adopt a calm, measured approach and maintain communication with the pupil at all times.

In an emergency, staff must summon assistance by contacting any nearby colleague and (if practical) the Proprietor.

The place of positive handling within broader behavioural planning.

If, through the school’s special needs assessment procedures, it is determined that positive handling is likely to be appropriate to help a pupil make progress, a risk assessment will be carried out following the school’s guidelines.

If appropriate, an individual management plan will then be drawn up for that pupil. This plan will aim to reduce the likelihood of the need for positive handling as well as describing how such intervention will be carried out. This plan will be discussed with parents/carers.


Before the plan is implemented, any necessary training or guidance will be provided for the staff involved. The proprietor will be responsible for establishing staff needs and for organising necessary training.

What to after the use of positive handling

After the use of unplanned positive handling, the following steps will be taken.

  • Details of the incident will be recorded by all adults involved immediately on the attached form and a copy given to the Proprietor.
  • Recording will be completed within 12 hours whenever possible. Staff will be offered the opportunity to seek advice from a senior colleague or professional representative when compiling their report.
  • Any injuries suffered by those involved will be recorded following normal school procedures.
  • The Proprietor will check that there is no cause for concern regarding the actions of adults involved. If it is felt an action has ‘caused or put a child at risk of significant harm’ the Proprietor will follow the school’s child protection procedures and also inform parents/carers.
  • Parents/carers will be informed by the Proprietor on the day of the incident. If this is initially done by phone, it will be followed up in writing.   Parents/carers will be offered the opportunity to discuss any concerns that they may have regarding an incident.
  • Support/debriefing will be available for adults and pupils who have been involved in any incident involving positing handling. This will be provided by the Proprietor.

Arrangements for recording and informing parents in the case of a planned positive handling will be followed as agreed beforehand but broadly will follow the same pattern as above.

The Proprietor will use the records kept to analyse patterns of behaviour and so decide whether responses are being effective. The Proprietor will report on this information to the Supervisory Body annually.

Complaints Procedure

Any complaints will first be considered in the light of the school’s child protection procedures, following LSCB (Local Safeguarding Children Board) guidance. If child protection procedures are not appropriate, the school’s complaint procedures will be followed.




The Proprietor will monitor the operation of this policy and its procedures and make an annual report to the relevant body.


This policy will be reviewed annually by the Proprietor and Key Staff.


This policy was approved at a meeting of the Proprietor and Key Staff in August 2017.





















After using positive handling the following actions should be taken:

  1. Inform Others
  • Proprietor/staff
  • Parents/Carers
    1. Record what happened
  • Risks presented
  • Decisions made
  • Actions taken
  • Effects of actions
    1. Seek post-incident support
  • For self
  • Pupil
  • Others
    1. Repair and rebuild relationships which may have been affected during the incident
    2. Initiate/carry out a Risk Assessment