No seclusion in schools and ECEs

Seclusion is prohibited. Education providers are encouraged to use positive behaviour management practices to manage challenging student behaviour.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Educators, teachers and kaiako
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau
  • Principals and tumuaki
  • Boards
  • Teaching Council
  • Teacher Unions
  • Children’s Commission
  • Disabled Advocates
  • Disabled Organisations

The Education and Training Act 2020 states that schools and early learning services are prohibited by law from using seclusion.  

About seclusion

Seclusion means placing a child or student in a room involuntarily, alone and from which they cannot freely exit, or believe they cannot freely exit.

Time out is acceptable

Time out is an acceptable way to manage student behaviour. Time out means:

  • a child or student voluntarily takes themselves to an agreed space or unlocked room to calm down, or
  • a teacher prompts a disruptive child or student to work in another space.

It’s important for teachers to be very clear when using time out that the child or student is free to come out of the room whenever they choose.

Guidelines for Registered Schools in New Zealand on the use of Physical Restraint August 2017

These guidelines help schools use positive strategies for managing student behaviour. They focus on preventative and de-escalation techniques, with the priority being the wellbeing and safety of both staff and students. They were developed by a cross-sector advisory group.

Support for schools to manage challenging student behaviour

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