Early Years Positive Handling

  • Specific to Early Years settings
  • Adapted Communication skills
  • Based on your key scenarios
  • Accredited and Quality Assured

Positive Handling Proven for Early Years

Our Positive Handling training reduces injury risk, improves inspection compliance and safeguards staff, children and your school’s reputation.

We are an Institute of Conflict Management (ICM) Quality Award Centre (#2201) for the delivery of conflict and interventions training.

We achieve this using a robust Positive Handling decision-making framework based on all the relevant legislation and National Guidance for Positive Handling, coupled with a modern, pragmatic approach to the holding and containment of children whose behaviour might harm themselves or others.

We have provided training to Nursery and Early Years settings over the years and our strategies have met with success.

We adapt our de-escalation strategies for the early years context but look at all behaviour through the filter of the Kaplan-Wheeler model for distress related to ‘lashing out’ and other potentially harmful expressions of frustration, anxiety and aggression.

In our experience working with Early Years contexts, there is a prevalence of Communication Difficulties (with English as a second language, or developmental delays in language) and with children who are non-verbal.

We understand that this is often where the difficulties for staff arise.

Our non-escalation and de-escalation for early years focusses on the same strategies we use for Emotionally Distressed Persons, namely:

  • Modelling Clamness
  • Reducing Stimulation
  • Using Adapted Communications (elevated Non-Verbal Signalling)
  • Meeting Unmet Basic Needs (SCARF Model)
  • Removing the Audience and Supporting the Distressed Child

This is a specific Positive Handling course for educational environments focussed on Early Years.

We train a group of your staff in the knowledge, skills and judgement required to manage crisis behaviour in the Early years context and use physical interventions, as an absolute last resort where prevention fails, to keep young children safe from distressed behaviour which may be harmful.

A Values-driven approach to dealing with behaviour

Our aim is that every person in your school is treated with dignity and shown respect, even when things get difficult.  Your team will learn tried and tested communication skills which will improve their ability to de-escalate situations by being more aware of conflict triggers, the pathway of escalation and the ways in which they can intervene with words and behaviour which create calm out of chaos.

Evidence-based training design and delivery

Through collaborations with sector specialists, we design and deliver research-informed training which transfers effectively to your classrooms and corridors.  We are specialists in training which creates authentic learning and which transfers easily to the work environment. By making sure we focus on YOUR context, YOUR children and YOUR behaviour ethos, we want you to achieve your goals and realise your investment in the training.

Legally and Medically Reviewed

We have continually updated our advice and content with input from medical, legal and education specialists.

Our techniques and tactics have been reviewed for use with children and young people so that any risks of the tactics are known and discussed with your teams.   All physical interventions carry some risk - knowing how to identify and mitigate them is part of the professional learning that must take place.

Our legal advice about how individuals and schools must comply with law and guidance has been reviewed by education-sector legal specialists who audited our training manuals and content, ensuring that when we answer your questions about any aspect of Positive Handling, we are giving you the safest and most appropriate advice possible.

Quality Assured and Accredited

Our training is accredited by the Institute of Conflict Management (ICM) for training in the prevention and management of aggression and violence in the Health, Social Care and Education sectors.

We hold Quality Award Centre status (centre #2201) with regular audits with the ICM.

Our trainer Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is carried out regularly, focussing on:

- creating effective learning environments

- optimal practice types which promote authentic learning

- designing training for easy transfer to the workplace

- carrying out training needs analysis

- focusing on the specific needs of the training group

Our trainers are regularly audited for their professionalism and ability to lead a training group effectively, engagingly and efficiently.

Client Satisfaction

We monitor thousands of learner surveys each year to help with our quality assurance processes through the ICM.  Here are some of the recent statistics about our courses.

Met or Exceeded Expectations

Course Quality

Trainer Good or Excellent

Trainer Quality

Relevant and Appropriate

Content of Course

Feedback from Early Years settings

Very insightful.

“Very professionally run. As an LSA that works directly with children who have the potential for me to have to use this kind of training on any given day, it was very insightful.”

Learning Support Assistant  // Lambeth

Thorough and answered all questions

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect but the course was well balanced with a lot of practical experiences. Trainer was engaging but thorough and answered all questions”

Deputy head / nottingham

Cannot rate this course high enough...

An excellent, well presented and relevant course that provided so much knowledge without overloading attendees to carry out the actions needed for the situations presented. I cannot rate this course high enough.

SEN Teaching Assistant, Barnet

Gerard O'Dea //  Director of Training

Welcome to our Positive Handling and Positive Behaviour training offering, which has since 2006 represented the cutting-edge of verbal and physical interventions training for thousands of schools across the country.

Our values include treating every person with dignity by showing them respect and making it safer for everyone, verbally wherever we can and physically only if we must.

I hope you will explore the different options we have created for you to access our cutting-edge courses, offering you the very best quality training and advice for your team who look after the most vulnerable children in our communities.

Gerard O'Dea

How is Dynamis Positive Handling training different?

Uniquely flexible to your needs

We offer 5 different formats for you to choose from, we work hard to fit into your schedule, your budget and your work - your partner in behaviour management and positive handling.

 dedicated to authentic learning

Through our collaboration with Loughborough University faculty, we design and deliver training which has the highest degree of transfer to your working environment.

trauma-informed and responsive

Through our partnership with NAOTP we are committed to being trauma-aware as a team and our problem-solving approach recognises 'all behaviour has meaning'.


Your staff need skills and knowledge which will help you with YOUR specific children and behaviours, so our approach is focused on solving YOUR positive handling issues. See SCENA for more information.

A highly popular training course to create safe classrooms and safeguard children.

We train your team using a blended approach - 90 minutes of self-paced learning for them in their own time, THEN we visit with you in-person for an intensive 3-hour training experience which is scenario-driven by the specific issues you face as a school.

  • De-Escalation
  • Managing Behaviour
  • Duty of Care
  • Balancing Risk 
  • Dept Education Guidance
  • Best Practice
  • Common Scenarios

Our  training covers a variety of the most common scenarios which staff in school face when they must deal with behaviour or risk, and gives straight answers to frequently asked questions.

Can we lift and carry a child from one area to another?

Should I ever attempt to restrain a child by myself?

What is good practice if I see two children fighting?

Should I remove a child who is climbing on top of bookcases?

What can we do about children who are 'runners'?

Join hundreds of Happy school clients

Put the training into practice immediately

“Training is often VERY detailed and complex; what made the Dynamis training different – and better! – was that it was simple and clear. There wasn’t too much to remember and it was all taught and set within a framework of common sense and the practical day-to-day activities and situations that arise in a school. The pre-course information around the legislation underpinning positive handling also gave me the confidence to know I am legally and professionally in a position to use positive handling without an excessive risk of negative repercussions. I was able to put the training into practice immediately and, several weeks later, can still use the training without looking back at the materials. THANK YOU. “

head Teacher // Smallthorne Primary School

Simple, straightforward...

“Everything was simple, straightforward and made a lot of sense. Glad I don’t have to remember about 20 holds like you do on other courses”

Executive Headteacher  //  Tickford Park

Not as complicated as others...

“Practical and the techniques were not as complicated as other similar courses that I have attended.”

Deputy head Teacher  //  North London

Learning Outcomes for Positive Handling


KNOWLEDGE and THEORY elements.

Your staff are guided through 12 key decision-making factors which are fundamental to good practice in the area of Positive Handling. This Online Learning component may be particularly helpful for schools who have unnecessarily booked Whole-School training in the past.


Our trainer will then lead your staff through the verbal models for conflict communications and the physical Positive Handling tactics they may need at the higher levels of risk in practical sessions where repetition and embedding the skills is our aim.

The Learning Outcomes for our Positive Handling Courses

Your staff will explore and develop an understanding of:

✔ Health and Safety provisions for managing safety in the school workplace (Duty of Care).

✔ Department of Education Guidance on “The use of Reasonable Force with pupils” for Positive Handling

✔ Definitions of Powers from Education & Inspection Act Section 93 for the use of restraint and Positive Handling

✔ Communications De-Escalation Principles for Common Positive Handling Scenarios in Schools.

✔ Practical risk-reduction to protect and safeguard school staff and their pupils during Positive Handling

✔ Importance of Positive Behaviour Support plans and Positive Handling Plans for pupils

✔ The risks inherent in Restraint/Positive Handling interventions and how to reduce or avoid them.

✔ Positive Handling Control, Escort and Restraint Techniques for Non-Harmful Control of Children and Young People

World-class client feedback

Our client and learner satisfaction surveys have consistently been extrmely positive, even as we have grown to be an ever-more popular provider of Positive Handling and De-Escalation training.  Watch the video to learn about our most recent results!

Choose your format to suit your school.

One Full Day:   9.30am to 3.30pm on a day when you can release your team…

This option gives your staff the most practice time and question/answer time with the trainers. Assimilation of the material and retention of the physical skills is optimal with this duration. Schools will usually choose this option if they have a well-identified need for training in physical interventions with particular high-risk children. For dedicated SEN, Learning Disability or EBD settings we also have a 2-day option which is recommended for higher-risk care environments.

Half Day or Twilight Session: AM, PM or After-School on ANY date convenient for your team…no need for an INSET day!

Sometimes a school with limited time, or with infrequent incidents at a low level of risk will need our concise half-day course. We can use our online courseware, with individual logins, progress tracking and test scores based on video presentations and knowledge-checks to prepare your staff on the required knowledge and theory for positive handling, and then visit onsite with you on a convenient day to spend time developing the necessary physical skills to manage situations. Half-Day and Twilight sessions can start at 0930 or 1230 or 1530 for example. Flexible to your schedule! Find out more…

60 min or 90 min Briefing: when time is of the essence and you need basic information quickly…

This is a legal briefing on the rules and principles of physical interventions in school settings only, with no physical skills development for the staff. It can be useful to establish a baseline of knowledge school-wide or to give the management team essential knowledge. We sometimes begin one of the above options (a full or a half-day) with a Whole-School legal briefing to baseline your team’s understanding.

Blending all of the options: for the best fit of critical information for the right teams…

Depending on where the risks have been identified, schools will blend all of the options to get the right level of training across all of their staff team. Just get in touch to start a discussion about how we can best meet your needs and your budget.

Popular: A 90-minute information briefing in the AM for your whole-school, followed by specialist training in both decision-making AND physical skills over the rest of the training day for a “behaviour management team” hand-picked by your SLT.

Dynamis is a Quality Award Centre with the ICM, a recognised accrediting body in the U.K. for workplace training in the prevention and management of workplace violence, assuring you of our quality and commitment to standards.

Dynamis is the premier European Partner for Vistelar, a global consulting organisation covering training across the entire spectrum of human conflict. Vistelar's methodology stretches back over 25 years in successfully resolving conflict.

Dynamis employs SCENA - a cutting-edge approach to training design and delivery which is scenario-driven and task-focussed, making your scenarios into the curriculum, ensuring that your training meets the needs of your staff and the children you look after.