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Big Kids

14th Jan 2020

Putting challenging pupils in isolation can have effects on their mental health

The UK has begun to rethink ‘isolation rooms’ as a form of punishment.

The Centre for Mental Health has warned that using isolation as a punishment for challenging children could cause serious harm to their mental health.

Hundreds of children across the UK have spent time in isolation rooms with some even an entire school week cut off from their classmates.

The CMH has said that this kind of punishment does not solve the issue of challenging students and in fact can make the problem much worse.

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According to BBC News an investigation found that ‘more than 200 pupils had spent at least five straight days in isolation areas in schools in England’.

Studies found that he even a child had no previous trauma in their lives many of them suffered trauma from being parted from the rest of the school.

On top of that children who had dealt with trauma in their pasts were particularly vulnerable to depression and other forms of psychological harm.


To be honest, as a parent I would be very upset if I found out that my child was basically put in solidary confinement for several days. I know some kids act up and can be cheeky but I would rather the school principle call me in to discuss my child’s behaviour rather than have them punished with isolation.

As the research mentions some of the children punished in this way had already been through trauma and often times when children act out it’s actually a cry for help.

By putting children alone in a room rather than trying to get to the root cause of the problem we could cause even more harm and doing nothing but letting children know that the adults in their lives would rather abandon and ignore them rather than listen to them and help.