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Restorative approach

What is it?

The Restorative approach is a set of principles and practices that encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour by thinking through the causes and natural consequences of their actions.

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Why use it?

We use restorative approaches as part of a planned response to challenging behaviour and help pupils learn new ways to manage frustrations or unexpected behaviour. This is a more effective response than traditional punishments. Restorative approaches can change the emotional atmosphere in a school and lead to more positive relationships between pupils and between pupils and staff.

Restorative practices in schools have a number of proven benefits. Pupils show:

  • Improved positivity, resilience and responsibility

  • Better behaviour management

  • Greater respect and courtesy towards teachers and each other

  • Increased empathy

  • An understanding of how to make wrongs right

Often, having to sit down and hear how your behaviour has affected someone else is much harder than being kept in at playtime, and leads to much more noticeable changes that can last a lifetime.

What does it look like?

A restorative approach may include having a 'restorative conversation'. These conversations may happen during the school day, and we will use restorative language and questions to allow pupils to understand the impact of their behaviours. Examples of questions used include:

  • What happened?

  • What were your thoughts at the time?

  • What have been your thoughts since?

  • Who has been affected by what happened?

  • How have they been affected?

  • What do you need to happen now?

More serious incidents may require staff to hold a formal meeting and involve families where appropriate.

Appropriate training is available for adults to support the restorative approach. This will include developing listening skills, empathy, use of language including body language and understanding situations from another person's point of view.

The carefully scripted approach allows pupils to accept responsibility for their actions, recognise the harm and upset caused and are supported to find restorative responses to harmful actions. Developing positive, supportive relationships is key.

As part of the restorative approach, we will decide on an appropriate timescale to review incidents, check that issues have been resolved and that pupils are happy and progressing well.