What is Restorative Practice?

Restorative Practice is a relational approach to school life grounded in beliefs about equality, dignity, mana and the potential of all people.

The Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) Restorative Practice model focuses on building and maintaining positive, respectful relationships across the school community and offers school staff best-practice tools and techniques to restore relationships when things go wrong. By building and maintaining positive, respectful relationships within a school, staff to staff, staff to student and student to student, issues are more easily managed.

PB4L Restorative Practice is based on a set of best practice tools and techniques to support a consistent and sustainable approach to managing positive, respectful relationships within the school.

A punitive system of discipline is concerned with rules that are broken, students who are responsible for breaking the rules and the predetermined punishments. In contrast, a system of Restorative Practice looks at the relationships that are affected by an issue, who and how people have been affected and what needs to be done to solve the problem.

Students are encouraged to:

  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Take actions to put things right
  • Make a plan to ensure the issues are not repeated

Why use Restorative Practice?

  • RP acknowledges that making mistakes is a natural part of maturing
  • RP understands that positive relationships are crucial to having the best educational outcomes for students
  • In any school environment, like any community, there will inevitably be conflict, miscommunication and difference of opinion.
    RP is a process in which students learn to manage disagreement and conflict in a calm manner
  • RP allows all involved to tell their story in a safe environment, building understanding and empathy; victims have a voice in the discussion
  • RP allows for understanding of the effect of the behaviour and a chance to repair the harm caused
  • RP allows focus on the ‘need’ rather than the ‘deed’

Types of Restorative Conferences in PB4L Restorative Practice

Mini Conferences
Classroom Conferences
Formal Restorative Conferences

Although they differ in formality, numbers participating and the severity of the related incident, all three types require the phases of preparation, participation and follow up, and all three use Restorative Scripts and fair process. Restorative Conferencing is a process that provides schools with ways to repair harm and restore relationships. It uses the stories of those involved in an incident and the people close to it (e.g. students, staff and whanau) to:

  • explore what has happened and who has been affected
  • hold those who have caused harm accountable for their actions
  • provide support to those who have been harmed, and others involved.

The Restorative Script – 5 steps

Tell the story – Establishing understanding
What happened and what were the causes?
How did you become involved?
What were you thinking at the time?

Explore the harm – Developing empathy
Who has been affected? In what ways?
Was this fair or unfair?
What do you think it must have been like for them?

Repair the harm – Taking responsibility
What do you think needs to happen to put things right?
How will this happen, tell me more about this?
When can this happen?

Reach an agreement – co-constructing an agreement
How can we make sure this doesn’t happen again?
What do you need to stop doing, stay doing, start doing?
What support do you need from me/us?
If this happens again, what will you do differently?

Plan follow-up – allowing parties to move forward with support
When would be a good time to check in with you and see how you’re getting on?
What will happen if our agreed outcomes haven’t been reached?

For further information please visit: https://pb4l.tki.org.nz/PB4L-Restorative-Practice