Monday 24 May 2021
Green Party NI MLA Rachel Woods spoke in the Assembly today (Monday 24 May) during a debate on restrictive intervention and seclusion of children and young people and those with additional support needs.
Rachel Woods MLA said: “I spoke in the Assembly to give a voice to the parents who contacted me with their and their children's experiences of the use of restraint and seclusion in schools and other settings across Northern Ireland.
“The impact that this has had on their families are profound. All behaviour is communication, positive or negative, and it's important that children's rights are front and centre.
“I welcome the fact that the Department for Education has issued interim guidance on invention and seclusion but more must be done, including the introduction of mandatory data collection, reporting and reviewing within schools, the Department, Boards of Governors and the Education Authority. We need to have a standardised policy in place, that is understood by all involved.
"This is something that the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman has also reported on today, outlining her concern, stating that in 'the absence of defining seclusion, and having a clear policy outlining what is and what is not permitted, the risk to the child is elevated further'.
“Teachers are doing an amazing job, each and every day to work with children and young people with additional support needs.
“But, I believe that the Department must do more to support teacher, pupils and parents through the provision of training, resourcing, mandatory reporting and monitoring and ultimately, support services.”
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498