Re-opening information for our user organisations, Associates, Instructors and course participants.

Hello CALM Community,

Given the recent government updates regarding the Corona Pandemic it is likely that over the next few weeks we can begin our return to delivering training in some shape or form.   We feel very positive that we are at least able to begin planning for this eventuality.

Currently, we are hopeful to be in a position to offer face-to-face training from Monday 1st June onwards. So, if you had training booked with us that had to be cancelled due to lockdown – please get back in touch with us by email to re-arrange. Also, if you now find you need to book training  – please get in touch via to organise it – we are OPEN and will be ready to deliver training soon!

As the easing of restrictions is likely to happen in a phased manner, we will to be ready to respond with a set of measures appropriately aligned to each stage or phase. Please be assured that we at CALM will be doing all we can to ensure our user organisations, Associates, Instructors and staff we deliver training to are kept at the fore front of our planning. It is critically important to us that we thoroughly address your needs for safety and wellbeing – as well as those of our own staff – as we move forward into this ‘new normal’.

The easing of restrictions will not mean returning to how things were before the virus and we are reviewing some early stage thinking about what we can do differently.

Some measures we are considering:

Physical distancing (maintaining 2 metre distancing during the delivery of Module 1 theory training). 

  • Use of appropriate PPE during training   
  • Providing new guidelines regarding minimum room size/specification/layout to ensure social distancing can be adhered to  
  • Reducing maximum trainer/participant ratios for training 
  • Issuing our own staff with any relevant PPE where appropriate 
  • Producing new guidelines for break times/lunch provision/catering etc. on courses 
  • Consideration of ‘pods’ or ‘bubbles’ of small groups of staff who work together, to be utilised on Module 2, Physical Intervention Training 
  • New ‘contactless’ procedures for ‘sign-in’/evaluation/assessment etc. 

There is still much to learn about this new disease and we will continuously evaluate our measures, review any new protocols, and take on board any new government advice on an ongoing basis.

Your assistance in this would be incredibly valuable. We would like to hear from you with suggestions on what you think we should do to make you feel as safe as possible whilst delivering the CALM training you need in order to maintain safety in your own services. Please contact us on with your ideas, suggestions and questions!

Take care, stay safe and remember, we are hopeful we can resume normal training delivery – albeit a ‘new normal’ from 1st June! We so look forward to being with you once again!

The CALM Team

If you missed our first free Professional Development Seminar last week, please feel free to view the recorded version below:

Top 5 Key Resources for Working with Change, Uncertainty, Anxiety and Fear in the time of Coronavirus

Guidance on How to Manage Anxiety for Workers


Introductory Resources on Mindfulness and Relaxation


Guidance for Managers on Leadership during Crisis


Additional Resources for Navigating Coronavirus


Guidance is available in easy read format from a number of sources


Social stories may help some people to understand what is happening and the need for restrictions


The British Psychological Society has provided guidance on how to talk to children about Corona Virus which may be also helpful


Mind have also produced guidance  for children and young people


Excellent video for younger children from Playmobil

Guidance and Tools from Authoritative Sources on How to Manage Anxiety

Accessible Resources on Anxiety for People with  a Learning Disability


Introductory Resources on Mindfulness and Good Practice Guidance


Guidance for Managers on Leadership during Crisis

As many of you know, in light of the coronavirus situation and government guidance, CALM took the decision last week to suspend all training until further notice. 

As the situation has progressed, we now have a few more important updates for you regarding how to contact CALM and the kind of support we will continue to offer.

Contacting CALM: 

While our office base is now closed and our phones will not be answered, any voicemail messages left will be picked up and responded to. 

If you need to get in contact with us for any reason, the best way to do so is through our email. We ask that you please do not contact staff on either personal or work emails; these emails will not be checked nor responded to. 

Ongoing Support, Free Offerings, and Online Training: 

While we are no longer able to offer any face-to-face training during this period of lockdown (*unless in very exceptional circumstances of severe and immediate risk), we have been working on some innovative ways to continue to provide our user organisations and community with support during this difficult time. We have several free online training events we’d like to share with you (see below) but would also like to take a moment to say something about the importance of community connection in our current circumstance. 

The arrival of the coronavirus has brought considerable uncertainty and challenge to all our doorsteps. We at CALM – like all of you – are concerned for the health and well-being of our families, friends, communities and all those we support; but we also trust that we will get through this challenge – together. 

At the heart of CALM’s approach – all the way from our personal values to our practice strategy – is a deep belief in the importance of our interconnection. As we stress in our practice model, the well-being of one depends on the well-being of the many; and this is never more clear than right now. We must seek ways to support and maintain our connection with each other; for it is through our interconnection that we nourish the strength, hope, and courage to meet the difficulty we face. 

While we are being asked to distance ourselves physically in order to ensure the containment of the virus, it is of the utmost importance that we find novel ways to provide each other with support and guidance during these trying times. 

The CALM team has done a lot of thinking on this over the past week and we’ve decided on a few offerings that we hope can bring learning, grounding, support and connection as we all band together to weather the next few months.

We want you to know we are here for you. We know this situation is hard for all of us, and that it may be even harder to navigate for many of the people you support. This will be a time of significant change and disruption to routine, which may cause a great deal of anxiety and stress; and that distress may manifest in behaviour that challenges. We know that services and individuals are already doing their best to prevent crisis. If you are unsure or uncertain about practice or just want to touch base, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Helen and Brodie are on hand to host group calls and online meetings with service managers, organisational leaders, CALM Associates and Instructors in order to provide guidance, share challenges, advise on best practice and offer general support during this trying time. We are also developing and will issue further written guidance where it may be helpful and appropriate for us to do so.

While we aren’t able to answer phone calls we will respond to emails sent to and make further contact where needed. We will – as always – do our absolute best to help you work through your specific challenges and find an approach that supports everyone involved. 

Please have a look at the free offerings below and be sure to check our Facebook page and website for future updates on this and more. 

We hope to see you all online very soon, and in the meantime, please take care.

The CALM Team


*Please check our website for up-to-date information on more free offerings and future online training 

FREE Professional Development Seminars hosted by our Clinical-Director, Dr. Brodie Paterson: 

Join our 1st Free seminar on 1 April 2020 “Working with Change, Uncertainty and Fear”

Change and uncertainty can evoke a fear-based response whether we are using or providing a service. Understanding the nature of this response and how we can ground and stabilise ourselves in order to be present to the distress in others, as well as provide a safe space for their distress to be acknowledged, are always useful skills. Given the current challenging circumstances we all face, such knowledge and skills may be particularly useful in both our professional and personal lives.

Other up-coming Professional Development Seminars:

*Dates to be announced. Please check our Facebook page and website regularly for updated details 

Compassion Fatigue. From awareness through understanding to action 

Integrating Positive Behaviour Support: what it is and what it isn’t      

De-briefing. Not a tick box exercise 

Read time: 6 minutes

Dear CALM Community,

Today, our allies in the movement to reduce restrictive intervention in schools and beyond have released an updated version of their Reducing Restrictive Intervention of Children and Young People Report. We at CALM would like to welcome and commend this report as well as the effort of the two family-led charities behind it, Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) and Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland (PABSS). Launched today at the House of Lords in collaboration with The Baroness Hollins, the report aims to raise public awareness of the potential misuse of restrictive interventions and the lack of guidance and oversight from governing bodies. As our community, you know how passionate we are about this issue, and we’d like to take this opportunity to recognise this necessary work from PABSS and CBF, share with you CALM’s position and history of leadership in the RRI movement, and to ask for your help to keep the movement growing in 2020!

We Believe

At CALM, we believe that the safest intervention is the one you never have to apply. We believe: there is always a reason for the distress which presents as challenging behaviour; that skilled support and planning is the key to humanely working with such distress; and that restrictive interventions should only ever be used as a last resort.

Our Experience

Our 20 years of experience – both on the ground as staff members in care services and as trainers to those in care services – has also shown us that there will always be a small number of scenarios in which the behaviour of a child may pose such severe risks to themselves or others that restraint may be the only means of the school fulfilling its legal duty of care to the child and its staff.

While the PABSS/CBF report suggests restraint may be associated with the risk of injury, we want to caution against the temptation to simply endorse a ban on the use of restraint. Not training staff where restraint is a foreseeable eventuality is not only unlawful, it is potentially more harmful to those in care if a staff member doesn’t know how to apply a hold in the safest way possible.

CALM carefully monitors risk associated with the use of our Physical Interventions – it is a contractual requirement for any injury involving CALM to be reported to CALM directly. We also audit every customer annually to identify our injury rate which has consistently remained extremely low. Our most recent data for 2018 maintains this trend with an overall staff injury rate of 0.53%, and an overall service user injury rate of 0.07%.

Comparative research has also consistently found that CALM physical intervention procedures are associated with the lowest risk of causing any injury to a child when restraint was absolutely unavoidable. There has never been a serious injury as a result of CALM technique in a school setting; there is simply no safer way of holding a child. And as carers ourselves, that is all we care about – keeping the children who are in our care safe and well.

Working to Reduce Restrictive Intervention

The PABSS and CBF report voices a concern that “restrictive interventions are being used too readily and are happening at a frequency that reflects a lack of planning or a focus on children’s rights.”

We share this concern and address this directly in our CALM Module 1 Theory Program which staff must undertake before receiving any training in physical interventions. This module focuses on how to assess, identify and address the root causes of distress that may present as behaviour that challenges as well the de-escalation skills that may sometimes help avert a crisis.

We also have our new Attachment Based and Trauma Informed Behaviour Support Lead Program which is designed for senior school staff responsible for the governance of behaviour support across a school. This equips school leaders with the skills to conduct individualised assessments, develop and implement integrative child-centred supports and provide the robust oversight necessary to ensure the minimisation of the use of restrictive interventions. This intensive program has been being rolled out across the UK from 2018 with an online version soon to come.

Calling on the Government!

As PABSS and CBF note in the initial 2019 report, “there is no formal requirement for local authorities or the Government to collect data about the extent or frequency of this practice and the resulting impact on children and families.” Vivien Cooper, Chief Executive of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, called on the Government in the report’s press release today, stating, “The Government and regulators must take urgent action to better understand what is going on, mandate recording and reporting and put in place the evidence-based approaches which are proven to work. We know how to support children well and avoid restrictive interventions so there is no excuse for injuring children through use of outdated and harmful practices.”

Since its inception in 1998 CALM have been calling for improved guidance and oversight for the education sector on the management of distress that may present as challenging behaviour. In the absence of comprehensive Scottish guidance from Scottish Government, CALM produced and published a guidance for schools on how to develop and implement their own restrictive interventions reduction strategy and distributed it to schools in 2018. Subsequently, CALM staff have been invited to be part of the Scottish Government working group drawing up new guidance on the minimisation of the use of restraint and seclusion. And while we look forward to ensuring that guidance incorporates the findings of this and previous research, we also want to echo and underscore PABSS/CBF’s call for the government to work to “better understand the scale and nature of this issue by collecting data, commissioning research and to take immediate practical action to safeguard disabled children in schools and children’s services.”

How you can help the movement

The PABSS and CBF research draws attention to the issue of child safety, emphasises the need to avoid the use of restrictive interventions and stresses the need for more robust governance around the use of physical interventions by local authorities and individual schools. This research should prompt us all to revisit risk assessment around restrictive intervention practices and revisit our organisational strategy for the reduction of restrictive practice.

To this end, there are a few actions you can take now to help ensure your organisation is the safest place it can be for the children in your care:

  1. Join the Restraint Reduction Network (RRN)! The Restraint Reduction Network steering group is a coalition of the individuals committed to reducing restrictive practices and protecting human rights.
  2. Go and ask to see your organisation’s policy on restraint and seclusion – and if you don’t have one (which many organisations don’t!) advocate for those who can’t and request a policy be formally established.
  3. Start a conversation at your next staff meeting around restraint reduction! The RRN has many resources and tools to help – including their Reducing Restrictive Practices Checklist which is a self-assessment tool to help organisations ensure that the use of restrictive practice is minimised and misuse and abuse of restraint is prevented. This and MANY other tools can be found on the website here:

If you have any questions about this report, our training or anything else please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we are here to help you provide the best care possible for those most vulnerable. 

Your CALM Team