Getting More Out of Restorative Practice in Schools

We’re delighted to have partnered up with our friends at Jessica Kingsley Publishers to run a fantastic competition to celebrate National Reading Month! Each week, we’ll feature a blog on three topical education books on our website (provided by Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

At the end of the month, we’ll be entering one lucky person the chance to win ALL of the books we feature. The winner will be announced on Day 2 of The Schools & Academies Show, ExCeL, London 3-4 April.

Tickets are free of charge – register for yours here

Restorative practice (RP) has been taking shape in schools for well over two decades now. What started out as some crackpot idea about managing serious incidents of harm in schools that led to suspension and exclusion has now been widely accepted across school sectors.

RP matters more now than ever. We cannot know the long-term effects of current global tensions but we see how uncertainty, fear and fragility often form a backdrop to the lives of children and young people we meet and the work that schools do. The need to think and work restoratively can support and build communication bridges where they are most needed.

We want to showcase the innovations that have emerged in this complex world, as people meet the many challenges and apply the principles to address a variety of issues: how to engage parents, applying youth development principles to create a robust youth-centered restorative school or how to take the idea of learning in circle from indigenous ways of knowing and adapt it for an inner-city school.

Across the book, some themes are visible: about the need to “teach relationships” in the same way we teach reading; about the need for this teaching to be intentional, deliberate, conscious, so that we have skills to repair and rebuild when things go wrong. The theme of inter-dependence is also prevalent across the chapters, and a number of authors reflect on ways in which we are inter-dependent and how this gives rise to conflict and harms but also to the duties to address harms. This duty is key: no one should wait for someone else to act.

In this book we offer many examples to show how time spent on RP is time well spent, for the individuals involved and the wider community, because it “lowers the temperature” in the room where there is unease, it helps address conflict that may have been simmering for many days, months or even years and it helps to build a climate in which the possibility of positive change in people and systems is the norm.

Abridged from the introduction to Getting More out of Restorative Practices in School: Practical Approaches to Improve School Wellbeing and Strengthen Community Engagement edited by Margaret Thorsborne, Nancy Riestenberg ,and Gillean McCluskey published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and is available to purchase here