Aquinas College is a Restorative Practice school. This practise is centred on building, maintaining, restoring and sustaining relationships in a safe environment based on shared school values (how we relate and work together).
Restorative Practice is based on a relational approach rather than a punitive one.
The approach focuses on accountability, healing relationships and needs being met.
Essentially the restorative approach explores: Being accountable and taking responsibility for our actions. This is not about blame and shame.
Who has been affected and how have they been affected? Thinking about the effect of the harm caused to others, intentionally or unintentionally.
What do we need to do to put things right? The person who caused the harm problem-solves, with support if needed, how they can fix this or work towards putting things right. The person who has been harmed can agree or disagree with the solution, which can be empowering. If not agreed, the outcome can be negotiated, so the needs of those involved are met. The facilitator will ask the participants to agree to set actions and time frames that must be checked by the facilitator to maintain the integrity of the process.
To prevent a repeat of the same incident… the following question is asked: How can we make sure this does not happen again? This is a problem-solving approach… the facilitator does not tell participants what to do, they ask participants to come up with solutions and coach them if they need support.
The ultimate aim of Restorative Practice is to build a culture that empowers participants to be able to work through the process and to work towards improvement for themselves. This creates a school community where people take responsibility for their actions, develop empathy for others and problem-solve how to restore and sustain relationships over time.
If you would like to learn more about this process, please click on this link