Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Seclusion to be banned in East Lothian schools

A school pupil working
Image caption The Children's Commissioner for Scotland has launched an investigation into the practice and called for National Guidance to be set

Schools in East Lothian will be banned from using seclusion as a way of managing distressed or challenging children.

A new draft policy was approved by East Lothian Council's education committee on Tuesday.

The policy states confining a child in isolation will not be tolerated.

Seclusion and restraint have been described as a violation by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The draft policy states: "Seclusion should never be used in East Lothian Council education establishments".

Dr Lynn Binnie, principal educational psychologist for the local authority, said seclusion still happened in some areas but was under discussion at a Scottish government level.

National debate

She said: "It is part of a national debate at the moment. We have made it very clear our focus is on inclusion and doing what is right for the children."

Withdrawal techniques are favoured instead. These can involve allowing pupils to go to a quieter place to give them a chance to regulate their emotions and behaviour with close monitoring.

Seclusion is described as "the confinement of a child, without their consent, by shutting them alone in a room or other area where they are prevented from leaving".

Withdrawal, sees the child monitored throughout and can be at their request.

In most cases withdrawals will be made at the request of the child or young person but can occasionally be introduced by teaching staff if other measures fail.

However the new policy states "withdrawal should never be used as a punishment".

Story provided by local democracy reporter Marie Sharp

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites