Use of reasonable force in schools

Departmental advice to clarify the use of force in schools for governing bodies, headteachers and school staff.



This departmental advice is for school leaders and school staff.

It applies to:

  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • academies and free schools
  • pupil referral units
  • non-maintained special schools
  • independent schools
  • sixth-form colleges

This advice provides clarification on the use of force:

  • to help school staff feel more confident about using this power when they feel it is necessary
  • to make clear the responsibilities of school leaders and governing bodies in respect of this power.

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.