Restorative practices can be used at many levels in both primary and secondary level schools in order to maximise the opportunities for developing relationship skills such as active listening, emotional literacy, negotiation, cooperation and conflict resolution.
Some of the benefits of restorative approaches include:
- Reductions in suspensions and exclusions;
- Reductions in stress-related staff absence;
- Improved academic performance & school morale.
The use of restorative approaches empowers teachers, parents and pupils to tackle problems at a grass-roots level, providing both pupils and staff with the skills and knowledge to effectively tackle conflict and behavioural problems, and deal successfully with difficult situations that inevitably arise in a busy school environment.
The types of problems that can be effectively tackled by introducing restorative approaches in school include:
• classroom conflict • criminal damage • poor attendance
• bullying • teacher – pupil disputes • rifts between school & parents
• suspensions/ exclusions • school-local community relations
A school that adopts a restorative ethos will develop a stronger sense of community, reduce the overall incidence of conflict and build a happier and more productive school environment .