Restorative practices and ways of thinking are now developing and growing in many secondary schools. Experience and evidence at local and national levels has shown that restorative processes have a positive impact in changing school cultures, especially with regard to attendance and behaviour, when embedded in a wider restorative milieu, and within clear school improvement strategies.
Equally, school improvement strategies are enhanced by the use of restorative processes, not least through the fundamental drive of restorative work to build relationships and community amongst the adults and not just the pupils. Restorative processes also make challenge and support explicit in everything that happens in a school. This explicit challenge and support drives and underpins real change in a school.
A school making a conscious decision to become restorative also opens a door to a new mindset and culture shift. It focuses on positive relationships and collaborative teaching and learning, with classrooms developing as communities. It means that teachers and pupils commit to looking at positive alternatives to reactive punitive behaviour solutions (e.g. exclusions), because they are confident that the matter is being dealt with in a clear and explicit way, understood and endorsed by all.
Restorative practices are built around five themes. Restorative approaches are a proactive way of working WITH people, not doing things TO them, not doing things FOR them and NOT being neglectful and doing nothing at all.
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