Proposal for a systemic model to reduce and eliminate restrictive practices in schools.

Year: 2019

Author: Paley, Sharon, Swayn, Natalie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The use of restrictive practices (RP) presents an ethical dilemma for principals and teachers. There are concerns about the inappropriate use of restrictive practices on children and young people across settings (Challenging Behaviour Foundation 2019, Ryan et al 2008, Telmo 2016,) highlighting national and international unease and interest in this controversial topic ( CBF 2019, Jones & Feder 2010, Menon et al 2012). There is a need to better define and understand practices that may be considered to be restrictive in a school environments ( Day 2008) and establish evidence based approaches for reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in the context of the schools environment (Lebel et al 2012).

The paper will describe and define the types of restrictive practice that are used in schools. The paper will include an overview of the evidence base and reference some of the international research related to the use of restrictive practices in school settings; there is evidence that lower, middle school and primary age students are at increased risk of exposure to RP (Balluch 2016, CBF 2019, Villani et al 2011) and that gender, race and disability positively correlate with the use of RP (Balluch 2016). The paper will be set against a context of current procedural guidance implemented by governments in Australia with particular reference to the principles of procedural guidance.

For context the authors will present information on evidence based models for reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in other settings, such as mental health and disability (Huckshorn 2005, Paley- Wakefield 2012, Bowen and Kemp 2014). The authors will propose a systemic model for reducing and eliminating restrictive practices that could be applied in education. The model will rely on evidence of strategies that have reduced the use of restrictive practices in other settings, and propose a model that may achieve a reduction in the use of restrictive practices in schools. The presenters will explore the intersection of legislation, policy and procedure, guidance and practice and invite discussion and debate.