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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Section 247: Recording and reporting the use of force in FE institutions: England

817.This section creates a new section 85D of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (“the 1992 Act”), to be inserted after section 85C. Subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section require the governing bodies of institutions within the FE sector in England (including sixth form colleges) to ensure that a procedure is in place for recording significant incidents where a member of staff has used force on a student and to take reasonable steps to ensure that the procedure is followed by staff at the institution. The procedure must provide that such incidents are both recorded in writing, and reported to the student’s parents (except where the student is aged 20 or over, or the exception in subsection (5) applies) as soon as possible after the incident.

818.Subsection (1)(b) specifies that the report must be made to each of the student’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 student has a mother and father whom 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 student’s mother, father and the relevant local education authority must be told about the incident.

819.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. 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.

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

821.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 student.

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