Physical intervention in schools guidance consultation

Closed 25 Oct 2022

Opened 21 Jun 2022

Feedback updated 30 Apr 2024

We asked

Your views on the clarity of the draft guidance.

You said

The key themes raised in the consultation were:

• The guidance was considered to be too long, which impacted its accessibility.

• Further clarity on the advice on the prevention of restraint would help the implementation of the guidance.

• Clarity of the definitions. The definitions of the types of physical intervention and restraint were clear; however additional clarity was asked for in relation to the definitions of, and connection between, staff-led withdrawal and seclusion.

• The importance of supporting resources, accessible handouts and training to the implementation of the guidance.

We did

We are reconvening the physical intervention working group to make amendments to the guidance ahead of the planned publication of the final guidance early this summer. In line with consultation feedback, we will work with partners to consider ways in which:

  • sections of the guidance can be simplified, without negatively impacting the level of detail required on these interventions;
  • the advice on prevention can be strengthened in line with the comments received;
  • additional clarification can be provided for some of the definitions; and
  • the comments and suggestions on supporting resources, handouts and training can be taken forward in the final version of the guidance or plans for its implementation.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


In response to concerns raised about the use of restraint and seclusion in schools in the Children and Young People Commissioner’s 2018 report, No Safe Place, and the subsequent ENABLE Scotland In Safe Hands report, the Scottish Government established the Physical Intervention Working Group to develop new human rights-based guidance.

The draft guidance aims to minimise the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. It includes new definitions, human rights-based safeguards and recording, reporting and monitoring expectations. The draft guidance is focussed on protecting children and young people from harm and promoting rights-based practice in Scottish schools.

The advice offered aligns with international and domestic law and standards, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

The scope of the national guidance includes all local authority, grant-aided and independent schools.


Easy Read versions of the guidance and consultation questions are available.

Completed Easy Read consultation questions should be emailed to:

If you require a copy of the consultation papers in a different community language or format, please contact:


The Scottish Government will produce a report of the consultation responses and, with the Physical Intervention Working Group, will agree any changes to be made to the guidance prior to its final publication later in the year. A full consultation report, outlining actions taken, will be published on the Scottish Government’s website.

Read the draft guidance

Why your views matter

The Scottish Government would like your views on the draft guidance.

What happens next

The Scottish Government is reforming the physical intervention working group to make revisions to the guidance in line with consultation feedback. 


  • Education