Piecing Together the Jigsaw
Restorative approaches in schools provide a means of redistributing power
along more equitable lines.
Secondary School-based Youth Worker
The message of this book is that ultimately a restorative project will be much more effective if it is part of a whole school approach, in which everyone in the school community is using restorative skills on a daily basis. This is certainly the message from evaluations of initiatives involving what I have described as a restorative ethos, such as circle time and peer mediation. It is also reflected in the recommendations from early evaluation of current restorative projects in schools. This chapter refers to some of this evaluation in more detail, considers some of the messages from the literature of school improvement, and also draws inspiration from some international school initiatives.
The chapter acknowledges that embarking on wholesale organisational change from the very outset is daunting and may well prevent some schools from taking that first step. It considers ways of making a start and takes a realistic view of timescales and expectations.
Finally, the chapter offers a challenge to the Department for Education and Skills, the Teacher Training Agency and the government to see the links between the initiatives they are already developing in education and those in the criminal justice arena.
In recent years a variety of techniques and strategies have been introduced into schools that contribute to the building and repairing of relationships within a school. These include circle time, described more fully in Chapter 7, and peer mediation, briefly described in Chapter 5. Even more recently, several new restorative conferencing initiatives have been introduced into schools. Many of these projects have been evaluated, and the feedback has relevance for anyone about to embark on a restorative project.