Restorative Practice is a whole school teaching and learning approach that encourages behaviour that is supportive and respectful. It puts the onus on individuals to be truly accountable for their behaviour and to repair any harm caused to others as a result of their actions.
A restorative approach focuses on building, maintaining and restoring positive relationships, particularly when incidents that involve interpersonal conflict or wrongdoing occur.
The rationale behind this approach is that when offenders reflect upon their harm to victims, they become remorseful and act restoratively. Practitioners can focus on the unacceptable behaviour of offenders rather than their moral character. This can lead to healthier interpersonal relationships among members of the school community and more effective learning.
Restorative Practices centre around a set of key questions that help children think about their behaviour and understand how they can correct it. In the first instance of a playground issue, teachers or our Year 6 Matty’s Mates will ask:
- What happened?
- Who was hurt?
- What needs to be done to fix it?
In instances where further reflection is needed, Restorative questions will be asked by a teacher:
Restorative Question I – When things go wrong
- What happened?
- What were you thinking?
- What are you thinking now?
- Who has been hurt or is sad because of what you have done?
- What do you need to do to make things right?
- What will you do differently next time?
Restorative Questions II – When someone has been hurt
- What did you think when you found out what had happened?
- How have you and others been hurt?
- What has been the hardest thing for you?
- What do you think needs to happen to make things right?
The Restorative culture within a school offers a transformative view of the human person. It focuses on the behavior and its impact rather than on the person, moving away from models that use shame and punishment to externally control behavior. Grounded in experiences of relationships and community, students learn to understand their own behaviour and its impact on others, and they develop the skills needed for resolving conflict and building healthy relationships. As a community we have a responsibility to provide the educational and supportive framework to maximise all children’s wellbeing and their capacity for positive mental health and flourishing relationships.
Restorative Practices are a series of processes premised on the innate dignity of each person.
Over the coming months and into the new year we will continue to share elements of our approach to Restorative Practices at St Matthew’s. Restorative Practices can also work for you at home. You may want to use the restorative questions to help your child move through disagreements or behavioural issues.. We have developed the following reflection for you to use at home if you wish. We will also use this at school when appropriate.