Bringing restorative justice into our working and learning

Eleven practitioners from across Dumfries and Galloway met in Galashiels at the end of September to explore conflict resolution and restorative practices. 

Participants brought a wealth of knowledge on the subject, as well as insightful questions on how to embed good practice in their own work and wider working and learning environments.   

This course was delivered free to EIS members by the City of Glasgow College, and supported by the SUL Learning Fund.

What were the key learning points participants took away?

  1. Updates and changes to practice should be driven by the needs of young people and staff, not to tick a box, not for a plaque on the wall. Real change needs to be sustainable, which means the whole school and wider communities should have opportunities to be involved, including 3rd sector partnerships to offer care wider than the school environment. 

  2. The use of language is important in this approach. For example, rephrasing the use of 'difficult people' to 'living with difficult behaviour' takes away a label. Rephrasing 'why' to questions young people can understand, enables more in-depth engagement.

  3. Assertive, active approaches are important in this approach. For example, a simple tool of:

    • I understand… (outlining situation and feelings of person addressing)

    • However… (own feelings and why the situation has to be addressed)

    • So… (offering ways to move forward productively)

What was useful for participants?

'Listening to people's experiences from different settings.'

'The wealth of resources to use, and to further read up on.'

Where can I find out more about this topic?

Restorative Justice 4 Schools offers a range of theory and practical based resources.

Practical guide produced by Surrey schools produced by and for use within learning environments.

Questions to use and downloadable resources, particularly useful for introducing restorative practice. Resources require sign in with a school email address.