What is seclusion and restraint?

Restraint means holding a child or young person to stop them from moving.

Seclusion means shutting a child somewhere alone and not allowing them to leave.

My son is a kind wee soul. Since the age of 5 he was restrained regularly at school – we found
out because he was screaming in his sleep. We learned of one instance where he had been held
in the cloakroom by a teacher who would not let him out and was holding the door because he
would not put his shoes on. He was so distraught.


Nine months on from the Commissioner’s report, ENABLE Scotland’s members are clear that more must be done, and have launched the In Safe Hands? campaign.

ENABLE Scotland’s members feel strongly that restraint and seclusion of children who have a learning disability or autism is a human rights issue, and that the Scottish Government must act swiftly to ensure robust guidance is produced and that school staff are supported to implement and comply with that guidance.


Time to regulate the use of seclusion and restraint in Scotland’s schools.

ENABLE Scotland has launched in safe hands? – our new campaign which seeks an end to the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint against children and young people who have a learning disability in schools.

In 2016, ENABLE Scotland’s award winning #IncludED in the Main?! campaign revealed the experiences of over 800 pupils who have a learning disability, parents, teachers and the education workforce, and made 22 recommendations to deliver genuine inclusion in our schools.

A major issue identified by that campaign was the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.  Families told us this is often unrecorded, making it difficult to persuade local authorities and the Scottish Government that this is an issue they need to take seriously.

Campaigning families took their case to the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, who used his investigative powers for the first time to look into this serious issue.

The Commissioner’s report, No Safe Place: Restraint and Seclusion in Scotland’s Schools, identified 2,764 incidents of restraint and seclusion relating to 386 children in the school year 2017/18, but also found that 10 local authorities fail to record all incidents, and a further 4 record none.

In Your Hands – Get involved!

ActWrite to your MSP about the campaign.

Sharefollow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share in safe hands? with your network.

Contact Uscomplete our anonymous survey and let us know your thoughts and experiences.

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