Restorative practice is aimed at enabling students to take responsibility for their actions and behaviours, to repair harm done to relationships. The teaching staff at Russley School has received training in restorative practice. As educators we must seek out effective and creative ways to work with children and young people to build and develop respect and empathy.
Restorative conversations enable all affected parties to tell what happened, discuss who has been affected, and how and what needs to be done to put things right. Effective strategies can ensure there is no recurrence, allowing students to move forward.
When children are involved in misconduct or wrongdoing, we ask them to reflect on the consequences of their actions. We challenge them to put themselves in another person’s shoes. We ask questions such as “How would you feel if someone did this to you?” and we encourage them to examine “How would it feel if someone spoke like that to you?” By doing this, we hope to grow children’s understanding of the harm their actions may cause.
The focus is on building relationships and developing a caring community. Restorative dialogue is arguably one of the most significant ways that teachers, parents, educators and leaders can enhance relationships, model calm, honest and forthright conversations, set and maintain high standards and boundaries and support people to move forward together.
Those affected by any conflict are assisted to find a way forward, thus reducing anger and resentment. This approach ensures that students feel safe and happy in a supportive school environment. Going forward, our school will continue to develop procedures and strategies that utilise a restorative approach.