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Last reviewed on 28 July 2021
Ref: 3747
School types: All · School phases: All

Make sure you understand the rules on when you can search pupils, and what you should do with any items found.

This article is based on DfE guidance.

Staff can search a pupil with their consent

Any member of school staff can search a pupil for any item with their consent.

You don't need written consent – you can simply ask the pupil to turn out their pockets or to let you look in their bag or locker, and if the pupil agrees, you can go ahead.

If you suspect the pupil has a banned item in their possession and they refuse a search, you can apply an appropriate punishment.

What counts as a banned item, and what the punishment might be for refusing to comply with a search request, should be set out in your behaviour policy.

Certain staff can search a pupil without their consent

What you can search for

You can only undertake this type of search if you have 'reasonable grounds' for suspecting a pupil may have a prohibited item in their possession.

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