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Positive Handling Policy


Positive Handling Policy – Schools Using Team-Teach





  1. Introduction  
  2. Team-Teach    
  3. Before Using Physical Interventions        
  4. Use of Restraint        
  5. Dynamic Risk Assessment  
  6. Positive Handling Plan          
  7. Post Incident Debrief          
  8. Recording      
  9. Monitoring and Evaluation
  10. Complaints and Allegations
  11. Other Physical Contact with Pupils



Document Owner:

Safeguarding Team

Version Number:


Date of Last Review:

November 2022

Document Category:





Positive Handling Policy for Ashcombe Primary School


1.         Introduction


1.1    This policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s Behaviour and

Safeguarding & Child Protection Policies. It details how we will implement guidance provided by DfE, Team-Teach and other relevant advice.


1.2       The term ‘positive handling’ includes a wide range of supportive strategies for managing challenging behaviour. A clear and consistent positive handling policy supports all pupils, including those with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, within an ethos of mutual respect, care and safety.


1.3       Staff have a duty to intervene in order to prevent pupils from hurting themselves or others, damaging property, or in order to maintain good order and discipline. Furthermore, the school takes seriously its duty of care to pupils, employees and visitors to the school.


The first and paramount consideration is the welfare of the children in our care.

The second is the welfare and protection of the adults who look after them.


1.4       Staff at Ashcombe Primary School are trained to look after pupils in their care and aim to focus on de- escalation techniques wherever possible. If a member of staff ever needs to intervene physically, they will follow Kaleidoscope Multi-Academy Trust/school’s Positive Handling Policy.


1.5       The DfE non-statutory guidance document ‘Use of reasonable force’ (dated July 2013- reviewed 2015) provides advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies: ent_data/file/444051/Use_of_reasonable_force_advice_Reviewed_July_2015.pdf


1.6       Section 93 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (the Act) enables school staff to use such force as is reasonable. There is no legal definition of when it is reasonable to use force.


1.7       DfE guidance on the use of reasonable force in schools (2013) also states that in addition to the general power to use reasonable force, headteachers and authorised staff can use such force as is reasonable given the circumstances to conduct a search for “prohibited items”. Force cannot be used to search for items banned under the school rules.


1.8       DfE guidance and the Act make it clear that all members of school staff have a legal power to use reasonable force, and that the power can also apply to people whom the headteacher has temporarily put in charge of pupils, such as unpaid volunteers or parents accompanying students on a school organised visit. However, in our school, wherever possible, only staff trained in the pre-emotive and responsive positive handling strategy techniques of Team-Teach will use physical intervention techniques with children, and only when necessary.


1.9       Although any member of staff may be required to physically intervene with a pupil who is endangering themselves or others, damaging property or to maintain good order and discipline, we would expect accredited staff to take over as soon as possible where circumstances allow. (See Appendix 1 for current list.)


1.10     In March 2019 the Equality and Human Rights Commission published the guidance document, ‘Human rights framework for restraint’. This guidance sets out key principles of articles 3, 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998, which govern the use of restraint across all settings:  


2.         Team-Teach


2.1       Team-Teach is accredited through ICM (Institute of Conflict Management). Staff undergo a one or two day course (depending upon the needs of the children they are working with) led by two qualified trainers with a refresher course undertaken every two to three years.


2.2       Further details of the Team-Teach approach can be found on the Team-Teach website. The website address is


2.3       School staff trained in Team-Teach techniques have access to two trainers within Kaleidoscope MAT to share their experiences, ask for advice and recap techniques, in order to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.


  Statement from Team Teach

  "Team Teach techniques seek to avoid injury to the service user, but it is possible that bruising or scratching may occur accidentally, and these are not to be seen necessarily as a failure of professional technique, but a regrettable and infrequent “side-effect” of ensuring that the service user remains safe” George Matthews - Founder


3.         Before using physical interventions

 3.1      We take effective action to reduce risk by:

  • Showing care and concern by acknowledging unacceptable behaviour and requesting alternatives using negotiating and reasoning.
  • Giving clear directions for pupils to stop.
  • Reminding the pupil about rules and likely outcomes.
  • Removing an audience or taking vulnerable pupils to a safe place.
  • Making the environment safer by moving furniture and removing objects which could be used as weapons.
  • Using positive guidance to escort pupils to somewhere less pressured.
  • Ensuring that colleagues know what is happening and call for help.


3.2 Whilst or before intervention, staff should speak calmly as a way of reassurance e.g.

“I am doing this to keep you safe.”.



4.          Use of Restraint


4.1       The term ‘physical restraint’ is used when force is used to overcome active resistance.

4.2       At this school, we only use physical restraint when there is no realistic alternative and for the shortest amount of time possible. We expect staff to conduct either a dynamic risk assessment or use the written risk assessment. We expect staff to think creatively about alternatives to physical intervention which may be effective. The paramount consideration is that the action is taken in the interest of the child and that it reduces rather than increases risk. Any response to challenging behaviour should be reasonable, proportionate and necessary. Physical restraint must only be in accordance with the following:


  • The member of staff should have good grounds for believing the child is in immediate danger of harming themself or another person, in danger of seriously damaging property or not maintaining good order or discipline.
  • Only the minimum force necessary to prevent injury or damage should be applied.
  • Every effort should be made to secure a minimum of two Team-Teach trained members of staff present before applying the restraint. Other staff can act as assistants or witnesses.
  • Once safe, the restraint should be relaxed to allow the child to regain self-control.
  • Restraint should be an act of care and control, NOT punishment.
  • Physical restraint should not be used purely to force compliance with staff instructions when there is no immediate danger to people and property.
  • After the event, the restraint should be discussed with the child, if appropriate, and the parents at the earliest opportunity


4.3       The definition of reasonable, proportionate and safe practice can change and evolve and that this will be kept under review.


5.         Responding to unforeseen emergencies (Dynamic Risk Assessment)


5.1       Even the best planning system cannot cover every eventuality and the school recognises that there are unforeseen or emergency situations in which staff have to think on their feet. 


5.2       An unforeseen event may require an emergency response with a dynamic risk assessment. After that event, staff have a duty to plan ahead and prepare a risk assessment in the form of a Positive Handling Plan (PHP).


6.          Positive Handling Plan (including risk assessment process)


6.1       Risk assessments are required for pupils who exhibit challenging behaviour. Responsible staff should think ahead to anticipate what might go wrong. Parents will be involved with the writing of the risk assessment.

6.2       When considering a pupil’s behaviour, staff and parents will think about the following questions

  • Can we anticipate a Health and Safety risk related to this pupil’s behaviour?
  • Have we got all the information we need to conduct the risk assessment?
  • Have we provided a written plan?
  • What further steps can we take to prevent dangerous behaviour from developing?


    1. Staff may also need to make an individual risk assessment where it is known that force is more likely to be necessary to restrain a particular pupil, such as a pupil who is considered to be at greatest risk of needing positive handling interventions due to their special educational need (SEN) or disability. Plans should be compatible with a pupil’s EHCP and properly documented in the school records.
    2. An individual risk assessment is essential for pupils whose SEND are associated with:
  • Communication impairments that make them less responsive to verbal communication
  • Physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments
  • Conditions that make them fragile, such as haemophilia, brittle bone syndrome or epilepsy
  • Dependence on equipment such as wheelchairs, breathing or feeding tubes.


6.4       Risk management is regarded as an integral part of behaviour management planning. All pupils who have been identified as presenting a risk, should have a PHP. The plan details strategies which have been to be found effective for that individual, along with any particular responses which are to be avoided. Any particular physical techniques which have been found to be effective should be named, along with any alerts to any which have proved to be ineffective or which have caused problems in the past. PHP’s should be considered along with the child’s EHCP or any other planning document relevant to the pupil such as an HCP or Pupil Passport. The PHP should take account of the age, sex, level of physical, emotional and intellectual development, special needs and social context. Parents will be involved in the writing of each PHP and PHP review. (PHP Appendix 2)


7.         Post Incident Debrief

 7.1      After any incident a full debrief should take place so that learning can inform practice.


7.2       Following an incident, it is the policy of the school to offer support to all involved. This is an opportunity for learning, and time needs to be given for following up incidents so that pupils and staff have an opportunity to express their feelings, suggest alternative courses of action for the future and appreciate another person’s perspective.


7.3       It is difficult to devise a framework of support that meets the needs of all. As individuals we all vary in how much support we need after an unpleasant incident. Generally, a member of senior staff/pastoral team would expect to talk to staff and children involved in any incidents involving any restraint. If the staff or pupils need time to rest or compose themselves, then the Headteacher John Clark,  will make arrangements for this to happen.


7.4       Following an incident, consideration may be given to conducting a further risk assessment, reviewing the PHP, the school Behaviour Policy or this policy. Any further action in relation to a member of staff or pupil will follow the appropriate procedures.


8.         Recording


8.1       Good practice requires that:


  • All incidents where friendly guides and escorts are used are to be recorded on Safeguard system as a physical incident.
    1. All other incidents involving restraint will be recorded on Safeguard and on the Kaleidoscope Positive Handling Incident template.
    2. Within these recording strategies, all details must be recorded within 24 hours of the incident and, where a Positive Handling Incident form is completed it must be signed by at least the staff member involved and the Headteacher All staff involved in an incident should contribute to the incident recording record which should be completed before the colleague leaves site that day or, in the event that is not physically possible, at the latest within 24 hours of the event occurring.
    3. All Positive Handling incident documentation must be held by the school for 75 years after the date of birth of the child, in the locked incident files.
    4. Any injury/harm to staff or children involved in an incident must be reported on EEC Safety Suite under the accident reporting module.


9.         Monitoring and Evaluation


9.1       The Headteacher, John Clark will ensure that each incident is reviewed and instigate further actions as required.


9.2       Paragraph F2 of the Human rights framework for restraint states ‘To know whether discrimination is occurring, public bodies should collect and analyse data on their use of restraint, to identify if restraint is being used disproportionately against people with particular protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, or who share other identifiable group characteristics, for example, women, ethnic minorities, or people with particular impairments such as learning disabilities.’ The Headteacher will regularly review the use of restraint to avoid unintended discrimination.


10.       Complaints and Allegations


10. 1 Any complaints will follow the school’s Complaint Procedure.


11.       Other physical contact with pupils (DfE Use of reasonable force 2013)

11.1     It is not illegal to touch a pupil. There are occasions when physical contact, other than reasonable force, with a pupil is proper and necessary.

11.2 Examples of where touching a pupil might be proper and necessary:

  • Holding the hand of the child at the front/back of the line when going to assembly or when walking together around the school
  • When comforting a distressed pupil
  • When a pupil is being congratulated or praised
  • To demonstrate how to use a musical instrument
  • To demonstrate exercises or techniques during PE lessons or sports coaching
  • To give first aid
  • Reparative touch to support emotional needs such as calming, soothing or containing distress
  • Interactive play – supporting a child to access messy play/Theraplay activities
  • Where specific support is identified within a SEND or Health Care Plan


11.3     This list is not exhaustive, but provides some examples of situations where physical contact is proper and necessary.



Appendix 1 List of those qualified to use Team-Teach techniques

Appendix 2 Blank positive handling plan

Appendix 3 Incident report for parents

Appendix 4 Kaleidoscope Positive Handling Incident form

Appendix 5 Contact details for further information on Team-Teach.


School Behaviour, Safeguarding, Anti Bullying policies etc will be incorporated into the care package which is used to address each child’s needs.



Appendix 1


Staff trained in the Team-Teach positive handling intervention techniques as of November 2021 are:


6-hour Foundation Training:


John Clark

Chris Penny

Kerry Evans

Steve Burditt

Kathie Light

Lorraine Francis

Karen Selway

Victoria Holloway

Hannah Gwilliam

Naome MacBeath

Lisa Driscoll

Debbie Brand


12-hour Basic Training:





Appendix 2

Positive Handling Plan  

Positive Handling Plan



Date of Plan:                        

Review Date of plan:


What does the behaviour look like?  


Stage 1 Anxiety Behaviours

Stage 2 Defensive Behaviours

Stage 3 Crisis Behaviours


































Stage 4 Recovery 

Stage 5 Depression 

Stage 6 Follow up





































What are common triggers?








Praise Points / Diversions and distractions







De-escalation skills

                                                                         Try                  Avoid             Notes

Verbal advice and support                                                                 _____________

Giving space                                                                                           _____________

Reassurance                                                                                        _____________ Help scripts                                                                                     _____________

Negotiation                                                                                              _____________

Limited Choices                                                                                      _____________

Humour                                                                                                      _____________

Remind Consequences                                                                        _____________

Planned ignoring                                                                                    _____________

Take up time                                                                                            _____________

Time-out                                                                                                    _____________

Supportive touch                                                                                    _____________

Transfer adult                                                                                           _____________

Success reminded                                                                                  _____________

Simple listening                                                                                        _____________

Acknowledgement                                                                                _____________

Apologising                                                                                              _____________

Agreeing                                                                                                   _____________

Removing audience                                                                              _____________

Others                                                                                                        _____________



Preferred method Physical intervention?                    







Friendly escort                    





Caring C guide                   








































Help hug                  






Turn gather walking guide






Single elbow            






Double elbow        






Figure of four          






Half shield                 









Are there any factors to consider when debriefing? E.g. Communication aids, staff etc. 








Parents/Carers Name:

Teachers Name:

Social services Name (if applicable):

Educational Psychologist Name:

Case Worker Name:

Young Person Name:





Appendix 4

Kaleidoscope Positive Handling Incident form

Monitored by (Print name):                                                  Sign:                                                    Date:

Pupil Name:                                                Date:

Class:                                                           Start time of incident:                             Duration of incident:                                 Location of incident:


R Behaviour leading to physical intervention:



R De-escalation techniques used prior to physical intervention:

£ Humour

£ Verbal advice and support

£ Firm clear directions

£ Negotiation

£ Limited choices offered

£ Distraction

£ Diversion

£ Reassurance

£ Reminders about consequences

£ Success reminder

£ Planned ignoring

£ Supportive touch

£ Calm talking

£ Calm stance

£ Patience

£ Withdrawal offered

£ Withdrawal directed

£ Removing audience

£ Change of face


R Reason for physical intervention:

£ Risk to self

£ Risk to others

£ Risk to safe physical environment

£ Risk to safe psychological environment

£ Prevention of psychological distress

£ Prevention of physical harm

£ Prevention of criminal offence

£ Temporary loss of competence or capacity





R Describe your Dynamic Risk Assessment and why you honestly believe that the measure you used was in the best interests of the child/young person:



R Nature of Physical Intervention Used (please state duration in seconds /minutes):

£ Two person single elbow (standing / walking)                  _______sec/ min

Was the physical intervention in the form of

£ Controlled hold (pupil willing to cooperate)

£ full restraint (pupil not cooperating, physical intervention used to control pupil / situation)?


Names of those using physical intervention techniques:

£ One person double elbow (standing / walking)          _______sec/min

£ Two-person double elbow (standing / walking)          _______sec/min

£ Half shield                                                                    _______sec/min


£ Two person single elbow (seated)                          _______sec/min




Names of those supporting / witnessing (including young persons):


£ Disengage from headlock or strangle                               _______sec/min

£ Disengage from bite                                                 _______sec/min

£ Disengage from hair pull                                           _______sec/min

£ Other – (specify)  ___________________                   _______sec/min


R The effectiveness of the measure:




R Injuries and Damage:             

£ Injuries to young person

£ Injuries to staff

If ticked, has an EEC been filled in?  £

If ticked, has an EEC been filled in?  £

Brief description:



Brief description:

£  Has the Safeguarding lead been notified?

£  Damage to property

Brief description:




R External Agencies informed and supporting records:

£ Medical Referral

£ Social Worker

£ Health and safety Report (ECC)


£ Safer Schools Partnership Support Officer

£ Placing Authority

£ Responsible Parent/Carer



R  Debriefing and Evaluation:

£  Behaviour central records / Tick sheet completed and stored in pupil file?

£ Has young person been debriefed?

£  Have staff been debriefed?

£  Young person’s parents / carers notified?

£  Does this young person have a PHP

£ Does this young person have a RA?

£  If not, will a PHP be done?

£  If not, is it necessary to do one?






R Views of the young person and any additional comments:



This report completed by (Print your name):  _________________________________





Appendix 5


Who to contact within the Kaleidoscope Multi-Academy Trust for further information, advice and support about Team-Teach:


Hannah Dickson and Denise Wilkes are both accredited with Team-Teach to deliver Team- Teach training to the Kaleidoscope Multi-Academy Trust Schools. They work at Worle Village Primary School and Becket Primary School respectively and can be contacted via the school offices:


Worle Village Primary School

Church Road



BS22 9EJ

Telephone: 01934 512200




Becket Primary School

Tavistock Road



BS22 6DH

Telephone: 01934 516052



Or by email:  

Hannah Dickson


Denise Wilkes