We are very excited to be introducing ‘Restorative Approaches’ to Cardiff Steiner School. Find out more below…
In May 2019 we launched a 3 year programme which the School is investing in to introduce and embed Restorative Approaches (RA) within our whole-school community. The programme will include training for pupils in peer mediation and using RA in classrooms, and opportunities to inform and involve parents and families.
The programme called ‘Restorative Approaches in Schools (RAIS)’ is run by Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership (WRAP)Our INSET day on 24 May 2019 introduced staff and trustees to what Restorative Approaches are and helped build support for introducing it to our School.
WRAP are a co-operative social enterprise who work with schools, families, communities, business, and the criminal justice sector. WRAP have been working in education, from nursery to college, for 15 years and their trainers include experienced teachers, school counsellors, school governors, and Estyn wellbeing inspectors.
What is a restorative approach?
The restorative approach is an ethos and value base for working with people, rather than to or for them. It encourages a consistent mind-set and value base from which to build, maintain and repair relationships and enable cultural change to take place.
To be restorative means believing that decisions are best made and conflicts best resolved by those most directly affected by them. Restorative practices embrace early intervention, prevention and response and include a focus on accountability and responsibility, openness, mutual respect and inclusion.
Restorative Approaches (RA) includes the day to day skills involved in pre-empting conflicts and harm. It builds and maintains relationships and community, as well as reacting/ responding when things go wrong. RA engages and develops positive relationships and resilient communities, to reduce harm, and de-escalate conflict quickly by problem solving effectively.
Some issues improved within communities and organisations with restorative approaches are:
Engagement and participation
Conflict resolution – professional or personal
Skills and confidence to resolve conflict issues effectively
Safety and harmony in groups and communities
Partnership problem solving
Transformation in working practice and environment
The quality of our relationships in our learning and teaching communities can really affect our ability to access education, and achieve our full potential.
This is true for learners and staff, and their families and wider communities. When relationships are good, we are more able to thrive and participate fully.
Evidence across the UK repeatedly shows that a whole restorative approach embedded in a school can:
Build positive relationships and sense of community with learners, staff and families
Reduce conflicts using a consistent approach by all
Improve attendance and attainment
Problem solve quickly and effectively with all partners
Cardiff Steiner School’s 3 Year Restorative Road Map
We are investing in WRAP’s Restorative Approaches in Schools (RAIS) programme. This is a 3 year programme, bespoke to our needs, and will be likely to involve:
Whole school awareness INSET DAY 24 May 2019 – one day launch for ALL staff/trustees
One day whole school training, to set baseline skills across the School
Appointing a Steering Group from across School
Writing a draft road map
Opportunities to inform and involve parents to raise their awareness
Embedding RA in the school improvement plan, curriculum and teaching and learning as well as pastoral processes, policies and procedures
Opportunities to inform and involve pupils to raise their awareness
Pupils training in using RA in circles in classrooms and a Peer Mediation Service. Peer mediators are pupils who are trained to support their peers with low level problems, so that they can be dealt with before staff need to be involved and before they affect lessons. See a case study on peer mediation.
Ongoing training in principles and practice of RA for ALL staff, and training and mentoring for key staff to become future trainers over time once they have sufficient practice experience.