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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Section 246: Recording and reporting the use of force in schools: England

812.This section inserts a new subsection 93A into the Education and Inspections Act 2006. Subsections (1), (2) and (3) of 93A require the governing body of a school in England to ensure that a procedure is in place for recording significant incidents where a member of staff has used force on a pupil and to take reasonable steps to ensure that the procedure is followed by staff at the school. The procedure must provide that such incidents are both recorded in writing, and reported to the pupil’s parents (except where the pupil is aged 20 or over, or the exception in subsection (5) applies) as soon as possible after the incident.

813.Subsection (1)(b) specifies that the report must be made to each of the pupil’s parents. Subsection (7) states that “parent” has the meaning given by section 576 of the Education Act 1996, and includes a local education authority which provides accommodation for a child or young person in care. This means that, for example, where a pupil has a mother and father who both have parental responsibility for him, or her, and is the subject of a Care Order under section 31 of the Children Act 1989, or being accommodated under section 20 of that Act, the child’s mother, father and the relevant local education authority must be told about the incident.

814.Subsection (4) specifies that the governing body must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State for the purposes of recording and reporting significant incidents of the use of force. A considerable amount of good practice guidance has been issued about the use of force upon pupils. It is important to understand that the obligation to have regard to guidance only relates to governing bodies’ obligations in relation to reporting and recording. This guidance (paragraphs 44 and 45) sets out some questions that schools may find helpful in deciding whether an incident is significant and requires a written record.

815.Subsection (5) provides an exception to the duty to report each use of force incident to the parent of the pupil. Subsection (5)(a) provides that the procedure must include provision that an incident must not be reported to the parent if it appears that it is likely to result in significant harm to the pupil. Subsection (5)(b) provides that if there is no parent of the pupil that the incident can be reported to without it resulting in significant harm to the pupil, the incident should be reported to the local authority within whose area the pupil is ordinarily resident.

816.Subsection (6) provides that the Secretary of State will issue guidance on the meaning of significant harm and whether reporting an incident to a parent is likely to result in significant harm to the pupil.

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