Whickham is a restorative school. Restorative approaches enable those who have been harmed to convey the impact of the harm to those responsible, and for those responsible to acknowledge this impact and take steps to put it right, and is often a more effective response than traditional punishments.
Restorative Practice rests in the belief that people will make positive changes when those in positions of authority do things WITH them rather than TO them or FOR them. Building positive relationships are key to this being successful. Restorative approaches can change the emotional atmosphere in a school and lead to more positive relationships between students and between students and staff. We expect issues to be dealt with restoratively when appropriate.
The Restorative Chat
When students are removed from a lesson a restorative chat takes place. Staff will use restorative language and questions to allow students to understand the impact of their behaviours:
- What has happened?
- What were you thinking / feeling?
- How do you think the teacher / pupil felt?
- What needs to happen to put it right?
- What will you do differently next time?
Circle time is embedded as part of our weekly tutor time routine at Whickham School and is an important aspect of Restorative Practice as it allows pupils to the opportunity to develop their communication skills in a safe and welcoming environment.
As part of Circle Time tutor groups sit in circles and discuss key topics using a ‘talking piece’ to identify only one permitted speaker at any given time. This promotes the idea of turn taking and we encourage active listening from others who are expected to demonstrate appropriate body language throughout. This process ensures all pupils are accountable with regard to their contribution and helps to develop confidence with public speaking.