Restorative practices are underpinned by the principles of fair process – engagement, explanation and expectation clarity, as well as an emphasis on working “with” people rather than doing things “to” them or “for” them.
This is not an intervention but a philosophy, a way of doing things and as such, needs to underpin the relationships across the school for staff, children, families and the wider school community. Expectations are high but the support is there to ensure that those expectations can be understood and met.
Restorative practices provide an explicit framework in which relationships can be built, maintained and when necessary repaired if there is conflict or harm. This combination of high expectations and boundaries alongside high support and nurture mean that the approach is not authoritarian or a soft option, but is authoritative and re-integrative, providing the optimum environment in which learning can take place.
At Charles Warren Academy, the theory is very much becoming a part of everyday practice and underpins the development of relationships throughout the school community with the full support of the principal and leadership team.
The school places strong emphasis on the development of partnerships and has a social worker working with the school to strengthen those relationships into the community and support families and children who may be experiencing difficulties.
Within education, any approach to address harm, conflict or inappropriate behaviour is much more likely to be effective if it takes place within the context of meaningful relationships. Young people are also more likely to achieve when they feel connected to their school and the community within that school.
Restorative practice provides the empirically tested framework that underpins the development of meaningful relationships and maximises the opportunities for the development of healthy, productive school communities allowing our young people to become healthy, productive citizens and achieve their full potential.