Seclusion in schools

The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is paramount. Most schools use positive behaviour management practices to deal with inappropriate or dangerous student behaviour. Schools should not use seclusion to manage challenging student behaviour.

Schools secluding students have been asked to stop the practice immediately and to report any previous use of seclusion to their board of trustees and Director of Education their region. The Ministry is supporting schools which have used seclusion in the past to explore other options so that the use of seclusion ceases with immediate effect.

Schools should also contact the Ministry of Education for advice and support if a situation requires the use of physical restraint. 

Time out is still an acceptable way to manage student behaviour.

Survey of schools who reported they used seclusion practices in 2016

The Ministry of Education recently completed a survey on the use of seclusion in New Zealand schools. The below Education Report outlines the process undertaken to compile the list of schools and details the findings.

Following the completion of this survey, the Ministry has worked intensively with a very small proportion of schools to change their practice. A total of 17 out of 2529 schools reported using seclusion in 2016 – all have now stopped.

Guidance for New Zealand Schools on Behaviour Management to Minimise Physical Restraint

This guidance will help schools use positive strategies for managing student behaviour. It focuses on preventative and de-escalation techniques with the priority on the wellbeing and safety of both staff and students. It has been developed by a cross-sector advisory group.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback