Physical Handling Policy

This policy should be read in conjunction with our Safeguarding Policy and Behaviour Management Policy.

All staff at Our Lady’s Nursery aim to help children take responsibility for their own behaviour.

This is done through a combination of approaches that include:

  • Positive role modelling.
  • Planning a range of interesting and challenging activities.
  • Setting and enforcing appropriate boundaries and expectations.
  • Providing positive feedback.

There are three main types of physical handling:


The positive use of touch is a normal part of human interaction. Touch is appropriate in a range of situations:

  • Giving guidance e.g. How to hold a paintbrush or when using climbing equipment.
  • Providing emotional support e.g. cuddling a distressed child.
  • Physical care e.g. toileting or providing first aid.

Physical intervention can include mechanical and environmental means e.g. high chairs, stair gates or locked doors. These devises are appropriate to ensure the safety of the children.

At Our Lady’s Nursery we use the following:

Locked doors –

  • At the entrance to the Dolphin Room from the foyer.
  • The exit from the Rainbow Room to the church car park.
  • The exit from the rainbow room to the church hall.

Physical Barrier:-

  • Gateway to entrance into kitchen area.

This is when a member of staff uses physical force intentionally to restrict a child’s movement against his/her will. This will be through the use of the adult’s body.

Restrictive physical intervention will only be used in the following circumstances:

  • When a child is injuring themselves or others
  • When a chid is deliberately damaging property
  • When there is a suspicion that, although injury or damage has not yet happened, it is about to happen

Staff have a duty of care to all the children in the setting and therefore have a duty to intervene in the above circumstances. However physical restrictive intervention must only be used in extreme circumstances.

It will NEVER be used as a matter of course and will only be used in the context of a well established and well-implemented positive behaviour framework.

It will only be used when staff believe it is in the child’s own best interest – their needs are paramount.

Staff should ensure that other protective measures are in place, such as using mechanical physical intervention to secure an area and ensuring adequate staff ratios.

The aim of restrictive physical intervention is to restore safety – both for the child and those around them.

It will NEVER be used in anger, as a punishment or as an alternative to measures, which are less intrusive.

It will only be used within the principle of reasonable minimal force – using an amount of force in proportion to the circumstances.

Staff will use as little restrictive force as necessary in order to maintain safety and for as short a period as possible.

Where it is judged that restrictive physical intervention is necessary, staff should:

  • Aim for side-by side contact; avoid positioning themselves in front of or behind the child.
  • Aim for no gap between the adult and child’s body, when they are side by side. This minimises the risk of impact and damage.
  • Aim to keep the adult’s back as straight as possible.
  • Be aware of head positioning to avoid head-butts from the child.
  • Ensure that there is no restriction to the child’s ability to breathe, do not hold the child around the chest or stomach.
  • Avoid lifting children.


When an incident occurs requiring restrictive physical intervention the following procedures will take place:

The incident will be reviewed and plans for future responses will be based on a risk assessment, this assessment will consider what the risks are, who is at risk and how and what can be done to manage the risks.

This assessment may be used to write an Individual Behaviour Plan that will outline:

  • An understanding of what the child is trying to achieve or communicate through their behaviour.
  • How the environment can be adapted to better meet the child’s needs.
  • How the child can be encouraged to use more appropriate behaviours.
  • How the child will be rewarded when appropriate behaviours are used.
  • How staff respond when the child’s behaviour is challenging. Responsive strategies will include distraction,relocation,offering choices.

Any restrictive physical intervention will be recorded in the Confidential Incident Book; this will be done as soon as possible but within 24 hours of the incident. The incident may also be recorded in the Accident Book.

Parents will be notified.


The use of restrictive physical intervention can lead to possible allegations of inappropriate or excessive use. Where anyone (child, parent, carer, staff or visitor) has a concern, the matter should be dealt with through our Complaints Procedure.

This policy was adopted on October 2012

Updated/reviewed August 2018

Manager J Nolan-Davies