No seclusion in schools and ECEs

Schools, early childhood services and ngā kōhanga reo are prohibited by law from using seclusion to manage challenging student behaviour. 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.

About seclusion

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 contact the Ministry of Education straight away.

Local Ministry offices

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

These guidelines help schools use positive strategies for managing student behaviour. They focus on preventative and de-escalation techniques, with the priority being the wellbeing and safety of both staff and students. They were developed by a cross-sector advisory group.

The guidelines are available on the following webpage.

Support for schools to manage challenging student behaviour

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