Support for schools to manage challenging student behaviour

Guidance and rules for schools to manage challenging student behaviour.

Where possible, schools manage challenging behaviour by preventing dangerous situations developing or using de-escalation techniques to calm things down.

Download the updated (September 2017) Guidelines for Registered Schools in New Zealand on the Use of Physical Restraint [PDF, 279 KB]. These include strategies for preventative and de-escalation techniques. Time Out, for example, is still an acceptable method of de-escalation, whereas seclusion is not.

Using physical restraint

There may be occasions when a student needs to be physically restrained and new rules have been issued that clarify when this is ok.

Situations where it may be appropriate include:

  • Breaking up a fight
  • Stopping a student from moving in with a weapon
  • Stopping a student who is throwing furniture close to others who could be injured
  • Preventing a student from running onto a road.

Download the rules [PDF, 847 KB]

The rules also require that schools need to notify, monitor and report when they use physical restraint.

If you have an incident of physical restraint at your school download and complete the Incident of physical restraint form [DOCX, 52 KB] and email to You can also email any queries about the rules to the same address.

Training workshop for behaviour management 

The Understanding Behaviour, Responding Safely (UBRS), workshop is delivered in modules for whole school staff groups focusing on prevention and de-escalation strategies It's delivered by trained regional staff who are experienced in behaviour management and who will also provide on-going support.

Request this from your local Ministry of Education office.




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