Harry’s Law must be introduced to end seclusion in schools, urges Egan

Alliance Education Spokesperson Connie Egan MLA was speaking following the announcement of the Department of Health’s introduction of a regional policy setting out the expectations for minimising the use of restrictive interventions, restraint and seclusion in health and social care settings.

Education Connie Egan

The policy around the use of restrictive practices in health and social care settings was set out by the Department of Health on Monday (20 March). It states that no child or young person should ever be shut in a room alone and prevented from leaving.


Welcoming the announcement, Ms Egan has called for the introduction of legislation to also prevent practices of seclusion from being used in educational settings as well.


This announcement from the Department of Health is welcome news, but we urgently need to see the end of similar practices within our school system,” she said.


As it stands, the Department of Education has only issued interim guidance for schools, recommending that any restrictive practice should only be used as a last resort.


However, we need to go beyond this and ensure that seclusion is banned in schools and our children are afforded greater protection.


Alliance is committed to the introduction of ‘Harry’s Law’ to end the use of seclusion in schools, and to ensure there is appropriate recording and monitoring of the use of restraint, in line with its place as an intervention of last resort.


These measures must also be supported by training for staff in trauma-informed ways to predict, prevent, and de-escalate pupil distress behaviours.


We urgently need to see the strengthening of the law, in order to provide greater levels of protection for children in educational settings.”