What are Restorative Approaches?
The Pendlebury Centre adopts ‘restorative approaches’ when conflict occurs between members of its community. However, as consistently measured in student voice, it is extremely rare that any conflicts occur within The Pendlebury Centre, with 100% of students stating that they “felt safe” and have “never experienced bullying” at The Pendlebury Centre (October 2022).
Stockport Local Authority’s 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 Pendlebury Centre believes such practice can help make the school community a fairer, more harmonious and safer place to be.
Restorative approaches adopted by The Pendlebury Centre include:
- Use of ‘restorative conversations’, led by trained staff, to de-escalate conflict between members of the school community.
- Timetabling of ‘Emotional Interventions’ sessions to raise awareness of difficult emotions among 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 as equal members of the school community
- Taking responsibility for one’s 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 importance of time for reflection
- Moving beyond a ‘win or lose’ narrative following disagreements
- Placing the 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: