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TITLE OF GOOD PRACTICE:

Restorative Approaches and Practices

KEYWORDS:

Anti-bullying technique, wide range of resources, training courses also available, site also useful for adults working in residential childcare,

GOOD PRACTICE TYPOLOGY:

Informative Campaign

TARGET GROUPS:

Policy Makers, Teachers, School Directors, Researchers, Residential Childcare

WORKING GROUP COORDINATING THE INITIATIVE:

The National Centre for Restorative Approaches in Youth Settings

COUNTRY WHERE IT TOOK PLACE:

United Kingdom, Ireland,

LANGUAGE OF THE REVIEW:

English

DEFINITION OF TARGET GROUP:

Policy Makers, Teachers, Researchers, School Directors, Residential Childcare.

DESCRIPTION OF THE GOOD PRACTICE:

The Restorative Approach to resolving conflict is outlined on the web site recommended (see link in 'Publications')and consists of asking four questions:

1)What has happened?
2)Who has been affected?
3)How can we involve everyone who has been affected in finding a
way forward?
4)How can everyone do things differently in future?

It is based on the belief that the people best placed to resolve a conflict or a problem are the people directly involved, and that imposed solutions are less effective, less educative and possibly less likely to be honoured.

Restorative Approaches can:
1)Improve the emotional and social skills of staff and young
people
2)Develop a sense of community and belonging
3)Resolve problems amongst groups of young people and/or staff
4)Address bullying and gang conflicts with confidence
5)Reduce exclusions
6)Run effective re-integration meetings

The approach, puts repairing harm done to relationships and people over and above the need for assigning blame and dispersing punishment. It is is based on the belief that the people best placed to resolve a conflict or a problem are the people directly involved, and that imposed solutions are less effective, less educative and possibly less likely to be honoured.

RESULTS:

Information about results is contained in the research and evaluation section of the web site but here are a few comments:

The Transforming Conflict team is proud to have been involved in the Scottish Restorative Practices in Schools pilot project:
.....The report indicates that Restorative Practices, 'as they are developing in the pilot Local Authorities and schools, can offer a powerful and effective approach to promoting harmonious relationships in school and to the successful resolution of conflict and harm.'

Evaluation from the North West of Ireland Pilot Project in Schools:
....A restorative approach is beneficial to the mental health of both student and staff. One Principal commented “The blood pressure of the school has gone away down”. It is about repairing relationships, giving an alternative to suspensions/exclusions, and hence has the potential of keeping the young person in school. The positive approach to relationships at all levels in the school connects closely with the concept of the Health Promoting School. Those involved to date say ‘This is working’.

Reduction in exclusions in Barnet schools using restorative approaches:
......The study focussed on 16 primary schools and findings include: - a reduction in exclusions in Restorative Approach (RA) trained schools of 51% compared to a 65% increase in exclusions in the 32 Barnet schools that have received no RA training. - increased confidence amongst staff in handling of bullying and conflicts - improved sense of responsibility amongst young people fro their behaviour - calmer safer school environment - more positive school ethos.

INDICATORS:

Intervention protocol, Classroom management, Teacher training, Cooperative group work.

EVALUATION:

Restorative Justice is an excellent anti-bullying technique which we wanted to include as a project resource and good practice because the potential advantages are:

1)A safer, more caring environment A more effective teaching and learning environment.

2)A greater commitment by everyone to taking the time to listen to one another.

3)A reduction in bullying and other interpersonal conflicts.

4)A greater awareness of the importance of connectedness to young people. The need to belong and feel valued by peers and significant adults.

5)Greater emphasis on responses to inappropriate behaviour that seek to reconnect, and not further disconnect, young people.

6)Reductions in fixed term and permanent exclusions.

7)A greater confidence in the staff team to deal with challenging situations.

8)An increased belief in the ability of young people to take responsibility for their choices, and more people giving them opportunities to do so.

We feel that this is a technique which is like the pieces of a jigsaw, which, put together, create a congruent whole school approach to relationship building and conflict management and it is one which has been successfully tried and tested in many school settings.

Overall we recommend the technique, the resources and training available from the 'Restorative Justice' site (see the link in 'Publications'). pages

NAME OF COMPILER:

Roger Murfin

NAME OF INSTITUTION:

Wilsthorpe Community School

ROLE:

Business Manager

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