Searching, screening and confiscation

Departmental advice explaining the powers schools have to screen and search pupils and to confiscate items they find.



This departmental advice is for:

  • school leaders
  • school staff
  • governing bodies
  • local authorities

It applies to:

  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • community schools
  • foundation schools
  • voluntary schools
  • community special schools
  • foundation special schools
  • academies and free schools
  • pupil referral units
  • non-maintained special schools

The advice covers:

  • powers to search without consent
  • prohibited items schools can search for
  • powers to confiscate items found during searches

We will review and update the advice as necessary.

Departmental advice helps you understand how to comply with the law or explains what our policies mean in practice. You do not have to follow the advice.