Since September 2012, the school has adopted the principles of Restorative Practice. These principles work with our Behaviour Policy and the school’s Ethos to help build a real sense of school community. We use the work of The Restorative Foundation to stay up to date with any changes, share good practice and to complete training.
The aims of Restorative Practice
- To build a sense of connection and belonging for all members of a school community
- To develop understanding and appreciation of differences and difficulties
- To participate actively in promoting social responsibility and building a school climate of mutual respect
As a school we aim to do this through regular check in and check out circles. These happen at the beginning and end of each day in classes and give all children an opportunity to be heard. Children are asked to measure their well being on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very low and 5 being high. In order for there to be full engagement in learning children have to have good well being [3 or above]. If a child has lower well-being they will be given the chance for talk time to share any worries, problems or barriers to their learning. On occasion, teachers may also take the opportunity for a check up circle after lunch.
Through circle time children build stronger connections and relationships with their peers and with the school as a wider community. People with strong links and relationships are less likely to hurt or upset others and if they do they want to put things right again more quickly.
At times, children make mistakes that take more to put right but the principles of Restorative Practice still play a large role with all those involved being able to put forward their views and feelings. Children are then encouraged to put things right and discuss the next steps forward.
When an incident occurs children will be asked the same questions:
- What has happened?
[This gives a factual and less emotive account of the incident that asking the question ‘why’ which often gets a defensive response]
- Who has been affected, hurt or upset?
[We encourage children to think about the impact of actions on everyone]
- What can we do to put it right?
[The consequences of the action should be fitting, explained and agreed by all parties involved]
What difference have circle times made in school?
- Given children a voice and a time to talk
- Children can identify common ground with their peers
- Gives a clear structure to beginning and end of every day
- Gives a more consistent approach throughout the school
So, what do our children think?
- 'It gave me a really good way to find out about everyone in my class when I was new. I got to know people quickly and make friends easier'.
- 'We like the circles because it is time to talk, to share our ideas and to hear other people’s thoughts. Everyone gets to talk'.
- 'I like sitting down and listening to the other people. It’s good to tell other people what you feel like and stuff. It helps us know about each other'.
What the staff say:
- “Restorative Practice works really well for solving problems. It stops the situation blowing up out of control by asking ‘what has happened’. It takes the heat out of the moment. [I even use it at home!]”
- “Having been quite cynical initially I can now see the full benefits of Restorative Practice.”