A Restorative Approach
A Restorative Approach to Relationships
John Keble School is a completely restorative school. This is an approach that permeates all areas of school life and touches all our community members (pupils, staff, parents, carers, governors, visitors, students, etc).
John Keble embraces a restorative approach to discipline and relationships and works with the Restorative Justice Council. All staff understand that all behaviour is communication. We recognise that not all children to come to school knowing how to behave.
As a restorative school, we recognise that:
- The better relationships are, the better teachers can teach and students learn.
- Conflict resolution is a life-skill that our young people will need throughout their life.
- Everyone will make mistakes with their behaviour just as they do with learning.
- People need a chance to learn from these mistakes and put them right.
We ensure that our Restorative Approach is always a high priority through dedicated time put aside for staff training each year.
What is a Restorative Approach (RA)?
RA is an approach to behaviour management where shared values, a caring attitude, good relationships, mutual respect and a sense of belonging are key factors. RA is about empowerment, giving everyone a voice.
RA acknowledges that conflicts and behaviours happen. Rather than seeking to blame and dispense punishment, RA repairs harm by finding acceptable ways to move forward for all parties concerned. This helps avoid conflicts by investing time in developing, maintaining and repairing relationships.
RA influences and informs our teaching styles.
What does this approach look like at John Keble School?
Every person in our community has a voice and has the right to be listened to and heard.
There are regular effective circle times, which are used to build a community and to solve problems. Children are taught to be emotionally literate and to express their needs.
Children use their skills as school council members and in other leadership positions. Our school council empowers the children to make changes.
RA conferences are used in situations where someone has been harmed or negative behaviour has occurred. Each person has the right to be listened to alone.
John Keble School works closely with many other organisations. Catherine Allard, our Headteacher is the Schools Champion of the Restorative Justice Council. It also has a close relationship with the company Transforming Conflict.
Kohn (1996) says; ‘The only way to help students become ethical people, as opposed to people who merely do what they are told, is to have them construct moral reason. It is to help them figure out- for themselves and with each other- how one ought to act.’
The RA script for conferences
RA has a script that is followed. Briefly the basic questions asked by trained staff are:
What happened? (What happened from your perspective?)
What were you thinking when …? (Thoughts influence actions)
What were you feeling when …? (Emotions influence actions)
Who has been affected by…? (Empathy)
What do you need now so that we can move on? (Needs and unmet needs)
How can we address everyone’s needs together? (Collective responsibility for problem solving and decision making)
We believe the restorative approach has a transformational impact on behaviour at school and helps children re-engage with their learning positively after an incident. We use it to teach children that their actions have consequences and impact others. We emphasise the importance of owning their behaviour, telling the truth, apologising and forgiving in order to repair the relationship and move on. We find that children are motivated to behave well because they understand that their behaviour impacts others, rather than behaving out of fear of punishment. This focus on restoration rather than punitive discipline also means children can make a positive choice to address the problem and return to their learning.