What are restorative approaches?
As an integral part of its overall ethos, the Priory Centre adopts ‘restorative approaches’ when conflict occurs between members of its community.
A definition of restorative approaches goes as follows:
“A voluntary approach focusing on the harm done rather than the rule broken that involves all parties in an incident, giving them an equal voice, the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions, make amends and reduce offending.”
The Centre has adopted restorative approaches to complement and enrich its existing rewards and sanctions policies. The Centre believes such practice can help make the school community are fairer, more harmonious and safer place to be.
Restorative approaches adopted by the Centre include:
- Regular use of circle time to reflect on issues that may become a source of conflict.
- Use of ‘restorative conversations’, led by trained staff, to de-escalate conflict between members of the school community.
- Timetabling of ‘Emotional Literacy’ sessions to raise awareness of difficult emotions amongst ourselves and others, and in turn to develop self-management skills when such emotions arise.
- Use of tangible rewards to encourage and recognise the efforts of young people who make progress in their social and emotional skills.
The key principles of restorative approaches are:
- Treating others has equal members of the school community.
- Taking responsibility for one’s own actions.
- Developing listening skills.
- Developing skills in expressing our views and feelings in an appropriate, timely manner.
- Recognising the different perspectives, experiences and feelings of others
- Placing an importance of time for reflection.
- Moving beyond a ‘win or lose’ narrative following disagreements.
- Placing onus on the wrongdoer to find a way of making amends and a greater awareness of what caused their actions rather than focusing on blame and punishment.
Restorative approaches require the voluntary participation of those involved. They are not a ‘soft option’ and often require the young person to hear hard truths and break longstanding habits.
Restorative approaches are also used successfully in companies, the justice system and religious organisations.
For more information, the following links are recommended: