All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.
To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:
Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.
It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.
The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.