Physical Intervention and Seclusion Working Group - Recording and Monitoring sub-group: 2 June 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the Scottish Government group held on Wednesday 2 June 2021 from 1.30-2.30pm

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government (chair)         
  • Highland Council    
  • CALM Training        
  • Fife Council 
  • Children and Young Peoples Commissioner Scotland
  • The National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • British Institute of Learning Disabilities   
  • The Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists      
  • City of Glasgow Council    
  • Education Scotland


  • North Ayrshire Council
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland        

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies       

Actions from previous meeting:

  • An Education Scotland representative joined the group.
  • The Scottish Government has requested of the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland whether a copy of their ‘Physical intervention and seclusion principles: considerations for HM inspectors and the Care Inspectorate’ can be shared with the group. The inspection paper is not in the public domain.
  • The group requested access to the Care Inspectorate’s accident/incident reporting. The Care Inspectorate’s guidance (page 8) is in the process of being updated.
  • The Care Inspectorate has also issued the attached ‘eshot’ to residential child care services in December 2020, to offer more clarity on practice, following feedback from the Scottish Physical Restraint Action Group.  A copy will be circulated to group members for their awareness.  

Analysis of local authority responses

The Scottish Government introduced their recent analysis of Local Authority responses to  their current approach to recording and monitoring of instances of physical intervention, restraint and seclusion in schools.  All local authorities were asked what information they gather for current reporting of physical intervention, restraint and seclusion incidents and if there is a particular form/dataset used to record these incidents and also what system the local authority uses to record and monitor any physical intervention, restraint and seclusion incidents in schools.

This paper had been circulated to the group prior to the meeting.

The key points of feedback from group were:

  • no child’s voice was apparent from the responses received and it was not clear if established authority wide oversight groups were child centred
  • no local authorities indicated they used SEEMIS, the child centred school information management system
  • it was not clear from the information shared how authorities are following up incidents and linking actions to any child’s plan
  • recording practice needs to reflect children’s rights in this area
  • there was a lack of debriefing for staff within responses
  • nothing can be more serious in a school than the physical restraint of a child, therefore senior staff oversight and follow up is of high importance
  • the terminology used needs to reflect the agreed terminology in the guidance and move away from health and safety incident reporting terms
  • a dedicated, education specific, child centred, physical intervention reporting form is required to ensure the correct information is captured and informs relevant and timely follow up
  • it is important to understand the child at the centre, the understanding of the child have to be captured

Glasgow Council example and rational for dataset discussion

Glasgow City Council introduced the dataset that they have developed as a possible national dataset. It was acknowledged that additional data fields would need to be made for it to be used at authority level.   This was shared with the group prior to the meeting for their consideration.

During the discussion, group members asked that the following information be considered for inclusion:

  • events leading up to restraint
  • type of restraint
  • self-injurious incidents
  • child’s feedback
  • unplanned interventions (relating to duty of care)
  • information about the child (additional support needs and/or protected characteristic)

Comments and amendments for data set going forward

The group discussed the example data sets shared with them in advance of the meeting.  The key points of the discussion were:

  • any dataset has to include ways of recording when untrained staff intervene as part of their duty of care to pupils. This needs to link with staff  debriefs
  • pupil to pupil incidents needs to be captured as well as pupil and staff incidents
  • it is difficult to change authority level health and safety reporting systems, which are built around legislative duties
  • standard training on debriefing is required for senior school staff. The Fife Council attendance management debrief is a good example of resources available
  • clarity on how information is used by inspectors would be helpful
  • analysing the time and specific location on incidents can help target preventative approaches
  • consideration needs to be given to the potential duplication of reporting systems within authorities. The development of a new SEEMIS reporting module that links to an authorities health and safety system would be desirable. A similar approach was adopted for the recording of bullying and harassment incidents
  • it is critical that staff are clear on what needs to be recorded and why
  • heads of service within authorities have responsibility for ensuring data is regularly analysed and acted upon
  • privicy rights of children and young people need to be considered in the development of the national dataset

The group also discussed potential issues with systems going forward.  It was agreed that the group would focus on agreeing the national data set initially and before focussing on developing recommendations for overcoming barriers to reporting such as the systems currently used.

Next steps

The group has agreed to use Glasgow City Council example dataset as a starting point for the national dataset and all members will consider this and send the Scottish Government suggested changes, amendments or deletions by Friday 11 June.

Action: All members to reply to SG by Friday 11 June.


Date of next meeting: Thursday 1 July 1.30-2.30 [did not happen till 4 August]

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