It is often believed that schools should have a ‘no touch’ policy as part of their safeguarding and child protection policy. This is should not be the case, but schools and adults working in them should have clarity of what is appropriate touch.
The Department of Education issued the following guidance in December 2012.
It is better for a school to have a ‘no touch’ policy so that teachers are not accused of acting inappropriately if they have physical contact with a child.
There is a real risk that such a policy might place a member of staff in breach of their duty of care towards pupils, or prevent them taking action needed to prevent a pupil causing harm.
It is not illegal for a teacher to touch a pupil. There are occasions when physical contact with a pupil is proper and necessary, for example to demonstrate how to use a musical instrument or to give first aid.
Teachers also have a specific legal power to use reasonable force to prevent pupils from hurting themselves or others,from damaging property or from causing disorder.If the force used is reasonable, the teacher will have a robust defence against any accusations.