Restorative Practices: A Guide for Families

Enhancing communication, relationships and community: a Guide for Families

Introduction

The school’s behaviour policy is to be updated to take into account Restorative Practices. This page explains a little about Restorative Practices and how we intend to use this approach to enhance community, relationships and communication to support learning at our school.

We believe that partnership between parents and school is essential in helping children to get the most out of their learning. Therefore, it is important that parents are well informed so that they are able to:

  • Help their child get the best out of school
  • Support the school in providing the highest quality of education for their child
  • Understand how any problems will be dealt with and support their child and the school in resolving these issues appropriately and sensitively.

Code of conduct:

At Gomersal St. Mary’s we have code of conduct which applies to

everyone. Our code is:

We are always:

  • Considerate
  • Careful
  • Caring
  • Courteous

 to everyone and everything.

In addition to this, each class agree on a class mission statement at the start of each year, two sentences that the children and teachers agree to adhere to in order to allow everyone to learn in a safe and secure environment. This is an important aspect of Restorative Practices as it allows children to take an active part in decision making and ensures that everyone has their opinions heard. 

Rewarding Children:

At Gomersal St. Mary’s children are rewarded in a variety of ways for following our code of conduct and for achievement. Rewarding positive behaviour is central to our behaviour policy.

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices will be used to enable us to deal with inappropriate behaviour by:

  • Making children think about how others are affected by their behaviour
  • Allowing a person who is upset or has been harmed to tell the person responsible how they feel
  • Separating the ‘deed’ from the ‘doer’. This means that children are able to appreciate the difference between behaving badly and ’being a bad person’.
  • Allowing all the people involved in an incident to say what they think needs to be done to make things better
  • Ensuring that everyone has a say and a chance to make things better

We will use Restorative Questions when dealing with incidents. They will be used informally, for example in the playground as an incident occurs, or they may be used as part of a formal ‘conference’.  These questions are used as follows:

To respond to challenging behaviour:
  1. What happened?
  2. What were you thinking about at the time?
  3. What have your thoughts been since?
  4. Who has been affected by what you did?
  5. In what way have they been affected?
  6. What do you think needs to happen next?
To respond to those harmed by other’s actions:
  1. What happened?
  2. What were you thinking about at the time?
  3. What have your thoughts been since?
  4. How has this affected you and others?
  5. What has been the hardest thing for you?
  6. What do you think needs to happen next?

It is important that all of the people involved in an incident come to an agreement about what needs to happen to make things right. The restorative process does not remove consequences but instead allows everyone to agree on what the most effective response should be in order to repair the situation.

Other aspects of Restorative Practices

Affective Statements

Affective statements mean telling a person how their behaviour is affecting others e.g. ‘I feel really disappointed that you …. because….’ This makes the person who is  displaying inappropriate behaviour think about the impact their behaviour has on others. It helps them to understand why their behaviour is undesirable.

Circles

This involves children sitting in a circle to discuss an idea or topic. There are clear ground rules for these discussions which enable children to build respectful relationships with each other.

Circles can be used for a variety of purposes such as talking about feelings, developing closer relationships, assessing learning or discussing behavioural issues.

Whatever they are used for, the aim is to allow everyone to have a voice and develop their confidence and ability in discussing their emotions or opinions. They are central to enhancing our school community and the relationships which make it strong.

At Gomersal St. Mary’s we believe that children should be taught the values and skills that will allow them to achieve their fullest potential. We believe that in doing so, we are equipping our children with the tools that will enable them to become happy and healthy adults. By developing the values of respect, tolerance, empathy, forgiveness and justice we aim to achieve our school mission statement of:

Learning the Christian Way