Behaviour at Auriol
At Auriol Junior School, we believe that all behaviour is communication and our relationships with the children are paramount to everything we do. We are a highly inclusive school and our approach to challenging behaviour is differentiated to cater to the individual needs of the pupil. We use a restorative approach to support our pupils in understanding the impact of their behaviour on others and to consider how they may deal with the situation differently next time.
What is a restorative approach?
The restorative approach is defined as a way of repairing the harm done and restoring the relationship between the parties involved, dependent upon the situation, this can be done on a one to one basis or in a small group. This approach is becoming more commonly used across the United Kingdom, as an alternative approach to more traditional, punitive approaches to discipline. By shifting behaviour policy and thinking to a restorative, relationship building approach, it has seen a change from equality to equity (Evans and Vaadering, 2016). A policy based on equity, allows educators to build trusting, caring relationships with pupils that is built on their needs as opposed to what some would view as fair.
What is the value in this?
Once relationships are established and restorative approach is embedded, children overtly develop and learn life skills, such as empathy and active listening. Paul Dix (2017) expressed the idea that ‘if we are striving to build a connected society where people look out for each other, then children need to leave school understanding the impact of their behaviour on others’. Within the restorative approach, it is an opportunity to teach children about how their behaviour has an impact on other people. Research shows that the restorative process teaches active, empathetic listening and allows people to take responsibility for their actions. As educators, it is our responsibility to provide children with these skills so that they can demonstrate prosocial behaviour within the wider community.
Can it work for everyone?
Research shows that individual characteristics may play a factor in the engagement and participation of the restorative process and children with additional needs can find the process more challenging. However, we will support them with the process and adapt it accordingly.
What does this approach look like in reality?
Where a pupil has had a disagreement with another pupil, a member of staff will take the time to facilitate a restorative conversation, where the children are asked:
- What has happened?
- What were you feeling at the time?
- What has been the impact of your actions?
- What needs to be done to make things right?
- What would you do differently next time?
Using the approach, we have found the children feel listened to and that issues can be repaired and resolved before they go home at the end of the day. The children have learnt to offer resolutions themselves and therefore they are invested as part of the process.
How is behaviour dealt with in the class?
As the relationship between pupil and adults is key to our policy, the staff ensure they meet and greet every pupil into the class in the morning. The adults show an interest in the children, are calm and approachable. They can quickly identify if a child seems upset/distressed/agitated and will endeavour to speak to them as soon as they can and offer appropriate support where appropriate.
In class and around school, we notice positive behaviours, and recognise pupils who go above and beyond. We celebrate achievements in many ways and ensure the children are recognised for the positives.
Where a child’s behaviour may become rude, disruptive or avoidant, the adult will speak to the pupil quietly or out of class to discuss what could be the reason behind the behaviour. They will be reminded of the three rules and will support them in making the right choices. If needed, the teacher may recommend the pupil moves within the room or takes an allocated amount of time to calm down. Where significant amount of work has been missed in class, the teacher will send this home to be completed for the next day. We believe a whole team around the child approach is necessary and will inform and liaise with parents to ensure we are supporting the pupil appropriately.
What if a restorative conversation isn’t enough?
If a pupil has demonstrated high risk behaviours, or repeating behaviours which are not in line with our 3 rules, we have different stages of support:
Stages of supporting behaviour:
Stage 1: Restorative conversation between child and staff member
Stage 2: Phone call between teacher and parent/carer to discuss current behaviour and possible solutions
Stage 3: Parent invited for a meeting between child, parent, teacher and a member of SLT
Stage 4: Where a child is unable to consistently follow our school rules, parents/carers will be asked for a meeting and an individual behaviour plan will be put in place.
Stage 5: Please refer to the Exclusion Policy
What if a behaviour is more serious?
Where a pupil’s behaviour is considered abusive (verbally/physically), a member of SLT will make a decision about whether they will receive a playtime/ lunchtime exclusion, internal exclusions from class or fixed term or permanent exclusion. Please see exclusion policy.
If any physical or abusive incident involves another child who may have been emotionally or physically hurt, the teacher or SLT member will phone parents of the child to inform them. Teachers and SLT will maintain open lines of communication to support the child further where necessary.
We have used the following books and research to inform the approach we use here at Auriol:
Dix, P. (2017) When the adults change, everything changes: seismic shifts in school behaviour. Bancyfelin: Independent Thinking Press.
Evans, K. and Vaandering, D. (2016) The little book of restorative justice in education: fostering responsibility, healing, and hope in schools. New York, New York: Good Books.
Gregory, A. and Evans, K.R. (2020) Restorative Justice in Education is Working, but Smart Implementation is Crucial. National Education Policy Center. Available at: https://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2020/01/restorative-justice (Accessed: 28 May 2021).
Hatch, J. A. (2002)â¯Doing qualitative research in education settings. Albany: State University of New York Press (Book collections on Project MUSE). Available at: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/roehampton-ebooks/reader.action?docID=3408084 (Accessed: 27 July 2021).
Hibbin, R. and Warin, J. (2020) Embedding Restorative Practice in Schools. Lancaster University, Lancaster.
Hopkins, B. (2004) Just schools: a whole school approach to restorative justice. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Keenan, T., Evans, S. and Crowley, K. (2016) An introduction to child development. Los Angeles: Sage.
Lea, J., Bowlby, S. and Holt, L. (2015) Reconstituting Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties? The Use of Restorative Approaches to Justice in Schools. Children’s Emotions in Policy and Practice, pp.242–258.
Macready, T. (2009) Learning social responsibility in schools: a restorative practice. Educational Psychology in Practice, 25(3), pp.211–220.
Reyneke, R.P. (2019) A Restorative Approach to Address Cyber Bullying. Rethinking Teacher Education for the 21st Century, pp.340–354.
Suvall, C. (2009) Restorative Justice in Schools: Learning from Jena High School. Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review, 44.