We believe that restorative approaches help us to deal with making, maintaining and when necessary, repairing relationships.
What does being a Restorative School really mean?
When we talk about being restorative what do we actually mean? Feeling part of a bigger community is key to being restorative. Ultimately it’s about helping children to make and maintain their friendships and also make strong connections with staff. Day to day, it means that we support each child to:
- listen and act respectfully
- be honest and responsible
- develop awareness and empathy
Being restorative also means that if children are involved in upset, they will be supported to:
- be involved in a fair process where ‘both sides of the story’ are heard
- see the consequences of their actions
- take steps to put things right.
In the event of school rules broken or friendships harmed, reliance on punishment fails to change behaviour and often makes things worse. Instead, we have consequences instead of punishment. We believe in giving children the opportunity to put things right. As a restorative school, we strive to transform upset by seeing it as another opportunity for learning how to make better choices.
Restorative Practice is a step further where adult intervention is necessary.
This has three parts:
- Non prepared 'On the spot' conference. This when an conflict or problem occurs and can be dealt with 'on the spot'. All staff are trained in facilitating a discussion. Each of the pupils involved are asked
- What happened?
- What were you thinking when it happened?
- What needs to happen to put things right?
- What are you going to do differently next time? (What could be done to stop at happening again?)
- Prepared Restorative Practice Group Circle. This is where a conflict is discussed at length. Pupils are asked if they would be prepared to join in a group to discuss and help resolve a particular issue. The adult facilitator will take notes to aid clarification. An agreement may be reached and some pupils will be asked to sign their name to that agreement. Several pupils or a whole class may be involved, the majority may not have been directly involved but will be there to offer their valued opinion, especially if the issue raised could be having an effect on their enjoyment of school. If a pupil takes part in a Restorative circle they will receive a sticker in their planner.
- Prepared Restorative Practice Group Circle including parents. This is where a conflict or issue is discussed at length similar to a prepared circle for pupils but where it is felt valuable for parents to included.