Restorative Approach

At Holly Park, we use the Restorative Approach to behaviour. We believe that it is important for children to learn about how their behaviour affects others and to do this, we help them to develop skills to talk about their own emotions and to develop empathy. We aim to create a positive learning environment where children have the necessary skills to self-regulate their own behaviour.

We use the Restorative Approach to:

  • Develop – emotional literacy, truth telling, accountability, responsibility
  • Improve – behaviour, attendance, learning environment, teaching
  • Increase – empathy, happiness, social and communication skills
  • Reduce – bullying, exclusions, conflict, need for sanctions

The emphasis of Restorative Approach is placed on affecting real change, above the need for blame and punishment. By doing this, we are able to create an environment where children have the opportunity to reflect upon and change their behaviour.

What does the Restorative Approach look like at Holly Park?

Those affected are invited to share:

1.     What has happened

2.     What the impact has been on those involved i.e. who has been affected and in what ways they have been affected

3.     What needs to happen to put things right or to make things better in the future

These are the types of questions all the children involved in an incident are asked:

  • What happened?  
  • Tell me about it
  • Tell me where you were and what everybody did
  • What did you do when that happened?
  •  What were you thinking / feeling at the time?
  • What were you thinking when it happened?
  • What were you feeling?
  • What have your thoughts been since?
  • What do you think now about what happened?
  • What else could you have done?
  • What other choice could you have made?
  • Who has been affected by what happened?
  • Who else has been hurt and upset by this?
  • Who has this caused problems for?
  • What do you think needs to happen to make things right?
  • What do you need to do to make it right?
  • What could be done to make it right?
  •  How can we make it better / right/ ok?

We have been using the Restorative Approach for two years. Since then, behaviour has improved. When problems arise, we have found that children are more willing to take responsibility for their actions. They understand that the process is about resolving the problem rather than being “told off” and having a punishment.

When issues re-occur, a Restorative Contract is written and everyone who is affected signs it to show they agree to it. This is then reviewed at an agreed date.