No seclusion in schools and ECEs

The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is paramount. Schools are encouraged to use positive behaviour management practices to manage inappropriate or dangerous student behaviour.
Schools, early childhood services and ngā kōhanga reo are prohibited by law from using seclusion to manage challenging student behaviour.


Seclusion means placing a child or student in a room involuntarily, alone and from which they cannot freely exit, or believe they cannot freely exit.

If you have a concern or complaint about the use of seclusion in a school, please contact the Ministry of Education (external link) straight away.

Time out is acceptable

Time out is an acceptable way to manage student behaviour.  Time out means a child or student voluntarily takes themselves to an agreed space or unlocked room to calm down; or a teacher prompts a disruptive child or student to work in another space.

It’s important for teachers to be very clear when using time out that the child or student is free to come out of the room whenever they choose.

Guidelines for Registered Schools in New Zealand on the use of Physical Restraint August 2017

  • The guidelines help schools use positive strategies for managing student behaviour. It focuses on preventative and de-escalation techniques, with the priority being the wellbeing and safety of both staff and students. It was developed by a cross-sector advisory group.
  • Go to the Support for schools to manage challenging student behaviour page to download the Guidelines.

Summary of the provisions in the Education Amendment Act 2017 which prohibit the use of seclusion (external link)



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