Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): children’s homes, including secure children’s homes

27. Use of restraint

The use of restraint in children’s homes that provide education, including homes that are registered as a school.

In some children’s homes, the areas used for the provision of education by day are also part of the living accommodation.

In exceptional cases, it may be permissible for school staff to restrain a child to prevent disruption in the classroom. It is not acceptable for children’s home staff to restrain a child for ‘good order and discipline’ or to enforce compliance with a sanction or instructions.

Homes that are also registered as schools or provide education must have very clear restraint policies and procedures in place. These must protect children from being restrained in their living accommodation for reasons that might lead to their being restrained in the classroom. Equally, restraints or sanctions applied in school time must not be carried over into the child’s home life.

If these policies and procedures are not applied consistently, it may lead to a judgement of inadequate. In making their evaluation, inspectors will take into account the likely impact of restraint practice on individual children and their understanding of the distinction between the home and education environments, such as whether they are separate buildings.

In addition, where social care regulatory inspectors are undertaking inspections alongside education inspectors, they must familiarise themselves with the relevant Ofsted frameworks and inspector guidance, and also the non-statutory DfE guidance for governing bodies, headteachers and school staff clarifying the use of force in schools: