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Restorative Approach

Autumn leaf with wellness written on it

This week was Place2Be's Children's Mental Health Week. The theme is 'Growing Together' and we have been encouraging children and adults to consider how they have grown and how they can help others to grow.

boy student talking with teacher

The primary motivator for learning is relationship. Or, to quote Dr James Comer of Yale University, “no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship of mutual respect.''

That is why we adopt something called a restorative approach to discipline, which puts repairing harm done to relationships and people over assigning blame and punishment. Connection over correction.

The approach is designed to build community and manage conflict by strengthening relationships. As a parent you will know that your son responds best when fair approach is taken with him. Think about it. Fairness is at the centre of dealing with any disciplinary issue involving your son. 

Our restorative approach helps teachers ensure that pupils, staff and parents can be part of a fair process whilst helping all involved to understand the impact of their behaviour on others.

In line with the national educational picture, it moves away from punitive sanction-based approaches and focuses on effecting change through learning and reconciliation. It gives attention and a voice to everyone affected, encourages personal responsibility, removes barriers to communication and impacts positively on:

  • Learning and Teaching
  • Active, as opposed to, passive learning
  • Bullying behaviour
  • Pupil engagement
  • Trust and relationships
  • Communication and listening skills
  • Emotional Literacy
  • Attainment
  • Pupil participation, pupil voice and decision making

If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to drive, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we...
...teach?
...punish?

Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?

Tom Herner (NASDE President Counterpoint 1998, p.2)