Just Schools: A Whole School Approach to Restorative Justice

By Belinda Hopkins | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Restorative Justice in a School
Context

Restorative Justice is a way to move a child on. For years we've just been
containing – putting the lid back on – and eventually that just explodes
in your face!

Primary Deputy Head, Banbury

The Introduction gave an overview of restorative justice and the wider context of developments in youth justice. This chapter explains what is new and different about a restorative approach to dealing with challenging behaviour and conflict. It makes the case for focusing on building and repairing relationships rather than on managing and controlling behaviour. Readers are recommended to read this chapter first to gain an overview of the whole concept before considering how to get started in their own school. Later chapters describe restorative skills and how they can be used in a coherent, consistent framework. However, it is important to consider first where you want to end up, whether the vision sketched here is one you share, and in what ways your vision for your own school may be different.
What is restorative justice?
In broad terms restorative justice constitutes an innovative approach to offending and inappropriate behaviour which puts repairing harm done to relationships and people over and above the need for assigning blame and dispensing punishment (Wright 1999). Put even more simply, it is about asking the following questions:
What happened?
Who has been affected and how?
How can we put right the harm?
What have we all learnt so as to make different choices next time?

-30-

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