BBC News coverage – inappropriate use of mechanical restraint chairs

The CBF have published a statement in response to BBC News coverage on the use of mechanical restraint chairs on twins Samuel and Jacob.

Link to BBC News coverage here

Link to statement from Leigh Day here

Challenging Behaviour Foundation statement:  

“Fit, active children with learning disabilities and autism should not be strapped into chairs in order to contain them. This form of mechanical restraint is an outdated way of responding to challenging behaviour and has no place in educational settings in the UK in 2022. The impact of restraint on children and their families can be lifelong and significant, but we know that schools can support children successfully without the use of harmful restraint.”
Viv Cooper, CEO, The Challenging Behaviour Foundation  

The RRISC group, which includes the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) and Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland (PABSS) published a report based on information gathered from over 700 families, which identified injuries to children including bruises, abrasions, scratches, head injuries, cuts and broken bones as a result of restraint, seclusion and other restrictive interventions in schools across the UK. Some families have discovered that their children have been restrained multiple times at school without their knowledge. Schools are not required to record or report instances of restraint or seclusion and do not have to inform families. This leaves disabled children some of whom have limited communication skills at risk of harm.  

An inquiry into the use of restraint in schools by the Equality & Human Rights Commission highlighted potential discrimination and made recommendations to the government in June 2021. The Government have yet to set out what action it intends to take in response. The persistence and determination of Mr & Mrs Montague has bought to light these damaging practices and once again highlighted the need for urgent action. 

The Government must now introduce a legal duty upon schools to record and monitor the use of restraint, and to share that information with parents. Building on existing good practice in schools that do not use restrictive interventions, the Government should introduce national standards for training in schools and demonstrate their commitment to addressing this issue.

Support from the CBF  

Family Support Service  

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this statement, you can call the Family Support Service on 0300 666 0126  

Or email us at 

We are open at the following times:  

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm 
Friday: 9am – 3pm  

We offer information about challenging behaviour to anyone who provides support to a child, young person or adult with a severe learning disability. We can also signpost you to other specialist organisations and sources of information.  

Please note we are a small support service so you may not be able to get support straight away. We will support families with urgent concerns as a priority.  

Professionals are also welcome to contact the CBF.

Resources on our website  

Please consult the following information section on our website, for information sheets and signposting:  

When things go wrong page

About the RRISC group  

The Reducing Restrictive Interventions – Safeguarding Children and Young People (RRISC) group is a group of organisations working with families to tackle the issue of restrictive interventions across the UK.   

Restraint and Seclusion 

Related News

Letter to The Independent

A joint letter from the CBF, Mencap, Rightful Lives, The National Autistic Society (NAS) and Learning Disability England (LDE) calling for the Government’s Building the Right Support Action Plan to be credible, evidence based, robust and detailed.