Minutes of Physical Restraint Advisory Group Friday, 14 September 2018, 9am – 1am Ministry of Education, 33 Bowen St, Rm 2.04
Deidre Alderson (NZ Principals’ Federation), Grant Burns (Area Schools Association of NZ), Doug
Clarke (NZ Post Primary Teachers’ Association), Judith Nel (Special Education Principals Association), 1982
Karene Biggs (SPANZ), Lorraine Kerr (NZ School Trustees Association), Tom Paekau (Te Akatea NZ
Māori Principals’ Association), Winnifred Morris (NZEI Te Riu Roa), Bella Ansell (Ministry of Health),
Belle Tuimaseve-Fox (Office of the Children’s Commissioner), Gerard Direen (Education Council of
Aotearoa NZ), Tute Porter-Samuels (NZEI Te Riu Roa), Stephanie Mills (NZEI Te Riu Roa), David Wales
(National Director of Learning Support), David Pluck (National Manager, IWS), Shelley Dean
(Specialist Service Lead), Mary Pupich (Manager, Learning Support), Bruce Cull (Performance and
1 Welcome and purpose of meeting
• Together, discuss insights from restraint data and consider some proposed changes to the
• Timely to do so, one year on.
• Legislation and rules out of review scope. There is a clear steer from Ministers that
legislation will not be revisited at this stage.
Questions and concerns raised by attendees at By attendees
the start of the meeting
• Bigger question of how workable the guidelines are, in the context of broader concerns
around the physical restraint legislation, resourcing and the reality of what schools and
teachers face. (NZ Principals’, Area Schools, SEPANZ, SPANZ, NZEI).
• NZEI stressed its view that the legislation is unworkable, needed review, and would
continue to pursue this.
• Education Council supported the focus of the meeting.
• Ministry noted that broader concerns can be feedback to Ministers.
3 What is the data tel ing us?
Shel ey Dean
• Ministry presented compliance information reported by schools. Caveated with ‘we don’t
know what we don’t know’.
Responses from attendees:
• Would have liked data in advance to analyse (NZEI) – noted by Ministry, and this will be
done for any future information.
Belief that there is under-reporting
• Belief that physical restraint numbers are likely to be four times as great (NZ Principals’).
• As not all schools are reporting, it seems likely that schools may not complying with the
reporting requirements. This means the data is likely to under-reporting physical restraint.
• Schools also finding other ways of intervening that are not reported e.g parents are being
asked to ‘reset’ their kids.
• Older kids are physically intervening (NZ PPTA).
It would be useful to understand the data better
• Who/what is the ‘unknown group’ in the reported data presented? (NZ Principals’, NZ
• Who/what is the ‘other’ in the figure which describes the role of staff member who
• What data do we have about who did not receive fol ow up?
• Do we know about the number of schools where there have been complaints about the
misuse of physical restraint? (NZEI)
• What is the number of schools reporting physical restraint, and what does this tel us?
• What does the complaints data tel us about parental concern about when schools use
restraint? (NZ Principals)
• Increasingly, girls are coming in with the most severe behaviour issues but the data does
not show that. Is there a gender bias in reporting or the nature of the intervention?
• We need to dig into the data more, to better understand who is being restrained and to
get the right responses in place. Who are these kids, and what are their needs? (Education
Schools would value having compliance data
• It would be useful for schools to receive nationally collected restraint data.
Data as evidence
• Data is important to supporting resourcing decisions with Treasury, so this is a reason
schools should be encouraged to support it. (NZEI)
4 Feedback themes and proposed changes
Shel ey Dean
The Ministry briefly described known stakeholder concerns about:
• technical aspects of the law
• confusion about what staff members can and can't do
• language and structure of guide
• what happens with data, and
• training and support for teachers.
The Ministry asked how draft Q&As and draft scenarios could be used, how the guidelines could
be changed in response to concerns, and any other necessary responses to improve their use and
effectiveness. The group broke out to consider Q&As and Scenarios.
Responses from attendees re Q&As:
• Q&As are helpful.
• Could be placed on website rather than in guidelines.
Responses from attendees re scenarios:
• Scenarios are helpful. They would help staff get ahead of the situation. (Education Council)
• Suggest more primary scenarios cf secondary scenarios.
• How would the scenarios be different to those included in UBRS training materials? (NZ
• Scenarios should be part of ITEs. (NZ Principals')
• Scenario about using phone to illicitly film teacher irrelevant
• Scenarios should describe the dilemmas faced by school staff. What are those high
• Context is important, to help teachers make better decisions:
o scenarios need to cover the range of contexts in schools e.g male/female, ability,
cultural, primary/secondary (Ministry of Health)
o scenarios could describe the student first (NZEI)
• Scenarios are irrelevant to Special Schools. Special Schools use a set of underpinning
principals to understand their children and young people, and respond appropriately.
Every child is unique.
Responses from attendees re guidelines:
• Content of the guidelines should be determined by the purpose of the guidelines: is the
purpose to help schools understand the 'the bright line test' is for lawful action, or is it
about improving practice? (NZEI)
Clarity in messaging
• Need to be really clear about what is lawful/what is not lawful. (SEPANZ, NZEI)
• Principals need to know how to keep staff and kids safe. (NZ Principals')
• Move the forward blurb to the back of the document. Start the document with a clear
statement about what is restraint, and when it can be used. Fol ow this with how schools
can restrain, and what to do to minimise its use. This will help busy school leaders access
key messaging faster. SEPANZ's general view is that the guidelines are clear. (SEPANZ)
• Guidelines need to acknowledge that the area is complex, and that responses require
conversations between teachers and staff. Also, schools need clarity about what support
will be provided by the Ministry. (NZEI)
• Guidelines don’t refer to or take account of the “high heat” of response when staff or
student safety is at serious and imminent risk. (NZ PPTA)
• Do we need to acknowledge in the guidelines that there has been a big shift in the
expectations of parents and in the law towards the recognition of the rights of children?
• A rich cultural lens/perspective is missing in the context setting. Ideas of mana, taonga,
and so on, could be introduced. (NZEI)
• Can we introduce a common language based on values and beliefs such as MoE values so
that we can model of engagement to help carry and support the forum, and from which
we can hang the guidelines and practice on? (Office of the Children’s Commissioner)
• Where are our children and young people’s voices? What are the positive outcomes for
children and their whanau when minimising or using restraint? How can we use these
outcomes to support positive practice? (Office of the Children’s Commissioner)
Alignment with other documents
• Bring key principles from the Code into the forward of the guidelines so that common
messages are aligned. (Education Council)
What does our experience working with the guidelines tell us?
• What is actual y working with the guidelines, where and why? What can this tel us about
what we want to see happening? (NZEI)
Responses from attendees re reporting templates:
• Can data be inputted electronically, similar to SDS on ENROL? (NZ Principals’)
• Section 3 is too wordy, and ‘ego-centric’ around the school (NZ Principals')
• Reporting to Boards and families important.
• Awhi is important.
• Can we reduce angst by reducing reporting where there are IEP plans with physical
restraint agreed already ie we could change the rules? The Ministry to explore this point.
Ministry responses to conversation
• Ministry suggested that guidelines could be in two parts: the first part focused on what is
permitted, and the second part describing a spectrum of scenarios which could aid
judgement-based discussions in schools.
• There was broad support for scenarios from attendees, as well as support for a blank
template which could be completed by staff to aid unpicking (potential) events and
• General observation is that parents are becoming more assertive about what they wil not
tolerate from schools/teaching staff.
Ministry to send out scenarios and Q&As for direct input by those who wish to
Ministry to send out minutes/summary of the meeting
5 Broader issues that impact on the
General comment from attendees throughout
workability and effectiveness of the guidelines the meeting
There is confusion about what is permitted, and the consequences for schools if they don't get it
right • There is general confusion amongst staff about what to do under the new legislation and
greater clarity is needed. Te Tai Tokerau principals’ experiences tabled, and other examples
shared (e.g. staff uplifting children from cars, holding a child’s hand to remove them,
removing class where a child is out of control in the class room).
• The general view is that it is harder to apply common sense now.
• Boards are fearful of the law and rules, and these are mirrored in school responses. (NZ
• The rol -out of the guidelines was rapid with insufficient support. School leaders may not
have read the guidelines.
Effective Ministry follow-up is required after a restraint is reported. This will help schools meet the
needs of their staff and students. Effective resourcing is important to do this
• What’s the point of data reporting when it isn’t fol owed up with timely or effective
Ministry support? Example given of a Ministry letter as ‘response’, with no actual support.
• What’s the best type of fol ow up fol owing an incident? (Education Council)
• Fol ow-up should be needs based (Ministry)
• We need to understand that there is secondary trauma when incidents happen
• We need to understand that some teachers, leaders and schools need a lot of support
alongside them. (Education Council)
• It comes down to resourcing to make it work. (NZEI, SEPANZ)
Prevention is required, and understanding causation is important
• Need to address causative factors (SEPANZ)
• Disconnect between what has happened prior to restraint and the event (NZEI)
Feedback from the Restraint Advisory Group Meeting 14 August
2018 provided on yellow stickys and on resources– themed
A number of changes were suggested for the guidelines to highlight key
practice points, and clarify a number of areas.
• The one page “At a glance” page is excellent.
• Don’t clutter the guidelines with too much information – provide links
• Guideline changes - Put al the “blurb” to the back e.g. forward etc.
• First page should clearly state what restraint looks like and whether it
may be used.
• Note about definitions: Health sector uses definition of restraint in HDS
standards. Personal restraint is when a staff member uses their body
to restrain. Physical restraint is when staff member uses equipment or
furniture to restrain.
• ‘Clear guidelines on what constitutes authorised person and how do
you get authorised.’ ‘Schools need clear advice on how to manage
authorised staff members.’ ‘Make it clear that is an authorised person
is a person is one that….(clarify)’
• Perhaps freedom for BOT’s to seek permission for parents for restraint.
• Add reflections as a leader.
• Provide reflective questions for teachers.
• Reinforce what you might review later.
It was suggested that the guidelines could be strengthened with a clear set of
values, cultural values and competencies expected of al teachers.
• The teacher code includes a set of values and cultural competencies
that could be built on in the guidelines.
• Guidelines could be aligned to the Code of Professional Responsibility
and Standards for the Tea
the ching Profession.
• Consideration of tikanga in schools, particularly rumaki/kura a iwi/kura
kaupapa needs to be included.
• The environment in these spaces is a Taonga TOW, Article 2. Makes
for an unsafe space when physical restraint cannot be used when
these are trashed.
• Support cohesive message to teachers and leaders x community.
Is there a need to include how the Health and Safety Act relates to physical
• Explore Health and Safety repercussions and the Education Act in
relation to physical restraint?
• Need behaviour identified as a hazard.
Some general comments were made in relation to other resources that could
be referenced, which might be helpful in guiding changes to the guidelines,
changes to practice and the support offered to schools.
• Explore how Te Pou’s Resource Towards restraint-free mental health
practice supporting the reduction and prevention of personal restraint
in mental health inpatient settings might build on the use of physical
• ERO research division could be charged to find and report on good
practice examples as either a special research project or a NET. This is
a quick and effective way to support the sector.
• Question and answer sheet can be used as supplementary document –
placed on web site.
• Explore the Safe Practice Effective Communication
programme developed by DHB’s to reduce restraint and inpatient
mental health units. SPEC is delivered through a ‘train the trainer’ Act
model. DHBs are working in regional alliances to support the
development and implementation of the programme.
Several participants wanted to explore further questions in relation to the
• Who is being injured? (slide page, 9)
• PowerPoint data majority of ages 5-10?
• Who are the unknowns being restrained?
• No role of SENCO mentioned in restraint data?
• Who is getting injured and how?
• A lot of physical restraints in Special Schools would not be recorded
• Data should be col ected on the negative consequences of fol owing
the guidelines. e.g. the 24 Northland principals examples
• How does the use of restraint differ for schools using school wide?
Some advisory group members could not see value in the data col ected
• LESS reporting.
• Just a compliance administration exercise.
• Data needs to be analysed more deeply to be useful, data is a
col ection point.
Some advisory members could see added value in the data col ected
• The data should/could inform resourcing.
• Community of learning – sharing of information for transparency.
Follow up support fol owing the sharing of data was questioned, and some
suggestions were made about the provision of timely support.
• What is being done to support schools who are reporting?
• It seems like few schools are getting further support (385 – additional
support/304 training for school)
• A fol ow up letter is ticking a box in terms of support!
• We need contextualised, timely, targeted response when requests
• Seek feedback on the effectiveness of support and training directly
from teachers – ERO could do this.
• UBRS for al staff of al schools.
The restraint scenarios were considered helpful, and could be included in the
• Restraint scenarios are helpful.
• Add more Primary School scenarios if indeed we have more restraint in
the primary sector.
• The scenarios would probably assist some teacher to be more relaxed
about when to/not to use physical contact/restraint.
• Limit key points after the scenarios to a few – add notes on use.
• Other students cannot be asked to intervene – add physical y.
• Question ? about having a plan to support a new entrant to schools
• Provide scenarios where teachers/leaders are having to make a
judgement cal about the needs of one, balanced over needs of others
in terms of physical and emotional wel being/safety e.g. classroom
setting/learning environment/there has been an escalation over time,
wet and cold outside etc.,
The questions and answers were considered helpful and very clear.
• Questions and answers – very clear
• Maybe these should be added to the website rather than the guidelines
A number of comments were made in relation to specific questions in the
Question and Answers.
• Add The legal framework…ensure the safety? – or to ensure
compliance to protect staff from legal action. Less is best. Look
forward, not back in terms of this work – don’t reiterate why the law
was changed! Reference the “code”.
• Not and do not need highlighting. They are NOT
examples …..and DO
• Change wording unclear about employer e.g. An employer (e.g. BOT)
may authorise an employee to sue physical restraint
• Situations where it would be
(needs underlining )
• Agree total y that it is a serious and imminent risk to (don’t need the
repetition (Physical restraint is a serious intervention) – also occurs in
• Modify this and add to what support can be given – get more specific
• May need more info re Crimes Act, and what you can and can’t do.
• Focus on what can be done.
Several needs were identified around training on understanding of restraint,
and further supports were suggested.
• Need ongoing training
• PPTa – Mahi Tika Aspiring Principals – supporting leaders with the
• MAPA training available.
• Restraint should be in the school policy – parents agree (in agreement)
• Sharing of examples of plans.
A number of participants questioned the makeup of the current advisory
group, wondering if it could be furthered strengthened with the voices from
other members of the sector
• Where is alternative education input into the advisory group given they
educate some of our most at risk students?
• Do RTLB have a role of input here?
• Get a teacher perspective?
Schools identified a number of staffing and learning needs in relation to the
use of physical restraint in schools.
• Formalise and pay SENCO’s in every school.
• More hours for beginning teachers.
• Support mentoring and coaching in schools.
• Agree insufficient preparation in teacher education and keeping
yourself and others safe.
• Resources for “awhi’ and monitoring
• Release time for support etc.
Some queries were made about the use of timeout and students fol owing
• Does this mean that my school can no longer use time-out?
• The statement that a child can decide whether or not to fol ow a lawful
instruction (see stand downs) is problematic. To de-escalate, children
are often removed from the situation. If they refuse this may lead to
an escalated situation. In other words children fol ow a lawful
under the Official Information Act 1982
This statement was made that sums up why we are working together
Kids love coming to school, they don’t like the holidays, school is safe
The school can be a model to help with children
“Otahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro