Restrictive Practices

A restrictive practice is any action that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person, with the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm.

Students may need different types of intervention or support to best meet their needs. This may also include the use of restrictive practices, however, when this is discussed and a plan is agreed in advance, the rights, safety and freedom of students is protected, as well as the safety of staff and other students.

Safety and respect

The safety of every child and young person in our schools is our top priority. When a student feels safe they are free to achieve the most out of life at school.

Ensuring the safety of every student, teacher and staff while respecting the rights or freedom of movement of students requires a balanced approach that is supported by the Restrictive Practices Framework and Restrictive Practices Reduction and Elimination Policy, as well as Restrictive Practices Planning Procedures.

The informed and principle-based use of restrictive practices means that restrictive practices are used safely and effectively, and it is clear which practices are never permitted in our schools.

The NSW Government has committed to the national goal of reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices. This includes making it clear that some prohibitive practices should never be used with students.

New legislation outlining the use of restrictive practices, including new reporting requirements for the department, is expected to be tabled in NSW Parliament early this year.

Introducing the new Restrictive Practices Policy, Framework and Procedures

Voice over

The NSW Government is committed to protecting the rights, safety and freedom of children and young people. 

We are working towards reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in public schools and government pre-schools. 

A restrictive practice is any action that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person, with the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm.  


Restrictive practices should only be used as a last resort when necessary to meet the health, safety and wellbeing needs of a student and to protect the safety of other students and staff. 

Restrictive practices should be person centred, the least restrictive option for the shortest time, reduced and eliminated where possible, monitored, and reviewed regularly.  

Schools must plan the use of restrictive practices unless it is an emergency or crisis situation, or response to unintentional behaviour.  

Planning should be done in consultation with the student and their family, as well as relevant specialists. 

Prohibited practices interfere with basic human rights. They are unethical and may be unlawful.   

The use of prohibited practices is never allowed in our schools and government preschools. 

For more about restrictive practices, go to our website.

Policy and procedures

These documents become active as part of the Department’s operational policies in Term 2, 2022.

Preview copies of the Restrictive Practices Framework and Restrictive Practices Reduction and Elimination Policy and Procedures are available below in both PDF and Easy-Read versions.

Find out more

The new Restrictive Practice Policy, Framework and and Procedures are part of the department's Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools package of system-wide changes.

For more information, please visit our Frequently asked questions page.

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