Teachers will welcome changes to allow them to physically restrain students, says Auckland principal

Teachers will welcome proposed changes in the 2019 Education and Training Bill that will allow them to physically restrain students if necessary, according to Howick Primary principal Leyette Callister.

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Big changes in our education system are on the horizon with proposals in the 2019 Education and Training Bill including giving more power to teachers. Source: Seven Sharp

The 2019 Education and Training Bill is making its way through Parliament with all sorts of amendments on the cards.

One of them is around the use of physical force in the classroom, giving teachers more power to physically restrain kids.

Currently teachers can't physically remove students if they're a physical threat, instead having to remove the other children.

If the teacher is in danger, they need to remove themselves from the situation as well.

It's a rule many teachers describe as frustrating.

"Sometimes what that child actually needs is to have someone touch them, give them some reassurance and help them calm down," Ms Callister told Seven Sharp.

The Teaching Council's Leslie Hoskin says they're changing the ability for teachers to do the right thing for the situation at hand.

"What we want teachers to be able to do is to be able to do things like guide, put a gentle hand on a leg to de-escalate and converse, it isn't a rule," she says.

"Teachers need to be able to make judgements in these very complex situations that are right for the child, right for the whanau, who are involved in that."

In the past, teachers were only allowed to use physical restraint as an absolute last resort. Under the proposed changes, they'll be able to intervene earlier.

"If little Johnny or Jane is about to pick up those scissors and hurl them across the room, [the teacher] can grab their arm before they get to them," Seven Sharp Hilary Barry said.