Relational Management and Restorative Practices


Restorative Practice is a positive approach that works with students,

rather than doing things to them or for them.

Conflict is an inevitable part of life. How we work to resolve conflict impacts on a school’s climate and culture and ultimately on students’ social and academic outcomes. Schools need to be safe places where young people can learn and thrive in a supportive, enriching environment.

At Bethany, our restorative approach focuses on building and maintaining positive relationships across the whole school community. It aims to create an ethos of respect, inclusion, cooperation, accountability and responsibility.

Understanding Restorative Practice

Restorative Practice is a teaching and learning approach that promotes self-regulation and encourages behaviour that is supportive and respectful. It puts the onus on individuals to be truly accountable for their behaviour and to repair any harm caused to others as a result of their actions.

As a restorative school, we:

• value quality relationships

• model empathy and respectful relationships

• value student voice and utilise collaborative problem solving

• view inappropriate behaviours as opportunities for learning

• apply procedural fairness

• recognise the importance of repairing damaged relationships

• separate the ‘deed’ from the ‘doer’

• use active listening and positive language and tone

• avoid scolding, judging, lecturing or blaming

• foster self-awareness in the student

• implement consequences that are proportional and fair

• remain future focused.

A continuum of strategies

A restorative approach offers a continuum of strategies from informal conversations through to formal community conferencing and may include:

· positive classroom management strategies

· logical consequences

· collaborative problem-solving

Restorative Practice

A pro-social approach to resolving conflict:

· structured one-on-one conversations

· mediation

· conferencing

· circle time.

Key elements

There are some key elements which underpin any restorative encounter:

• honesty and sincerity

• positive regard for individuals

• empathy

• individual responsibility

• shared accountability

• an optimistic view of personal growth and change.

We find that working restoratively with our students, relationships are stronger and learning is more effective.

Restorative dialogues can provide important ‘teachable moments’ and opportunities to understand the impact of behaviour of self and others.

Questions that promote discussion about consequences and encourage personal reflections have the potential to elicit empathy, remorse and learning. When working restoratively with young people or colleagues, it is important to:

· ask specific questions that encourage reflection and problem-solving

· use active listening skills

· avoid interrogation or asking “Why?”, which can cause a defensive response

· recognise that in some situations there are no ‘quick fixes’ and it may require further intervention or support to see positive behaviour change.

Effective restorative questions

o What happened? Value the student’s voice and perspective. Focus on the timeline of events without blame. Understand and identify triggers.

o What were you thinking about at the time? Develop emotional literacy by linking thoughts, feelings and actions.

o What have your thoughts been since? Assess reflection following the incident when emotions have de-escalated.

o Who has been affected by what happened? The key question to trigger empathy and remorse. Think beyond those directly involved to see the ‘ripple effect’ of actions and consider the personal impact.

o In what way have they/you been affected? Name or describe the impact and acknowledge the consequences.

o What do you think you need to do to make things right? Devise agreed, realistic and meaningful resolutions to heal the harm.

o f the same thing happened again, what would you do differently? An opportunity for learning and verbalising alternative strategies.

Restorative Practice is more than a series of questions. It is a non-punitive approach which accepts that we all make mistakes and have the ability to ‘fix’ the problem together and learn from our experiences.

Restorative Practice is inclusive and concerned with maintaining and building connectedness between students, parents, teachers and the community.

It is an essential component of wellbeing.

If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach. If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach. If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we ... teach? ... punish? Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others? Punishment does not teach thoughtfulness.


The Hi 5 is an effective way to develop problem-solving strategies for our children. It is a 5 step strategy that can be used in the classroom, on the playground and for perceived bullying incidents.

STEP 1: Ignore

  • Pretend you didn’t hear it.
  • Do not make eye contact.
  • Maintain positive body posture – calm and confident.
  • Think positive self-esteem statements.
  • Count to five in your head slowly.
  • Take deep breathes.

TIP: Use role play to show what ignoring looks like, sounds like and may feel like.

STEP 2: Talk Friendly

  • Use a calm voice.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Confident body language.
  • Maintain relatively close body proximity.
  • Use “I” statements – “I feel… when you… because…”
  • “Please leave me alone.”

STEP 3: Walk Away

  • Stand tall, head up high.
  • Mouth closed.
  • Look confident.
  • Do not use eye contact.
  • Walk somewhere, preferably towards a congested area or to a safety zone (a teacher).
  • Do not look back. Walk confidently, but don’t run.

STEP 4: Talk Firmly

  • As per Step 2 – Talk Friendly
  • Use an assertive voice, slightly raised.
  • Tell them to stop it.
  • Re-state your “I” statement – “I said…”
  • “I asked you to leave me alone.”

STEP 5: Report

  • Walk away and tell a staff member.
  • Go to a safety zone.
  • Bystander – support and report.
  • Report, report, report until somebody listens.

REPORTING VS. DOBBING: Reporting is helping/getting yourself or someone else out of trouble. Dobbing is trying to get someone in trouble.

Students should in most circumstances attempt to problem- solve themselves first. If unsuccessful after doing Hi 5 steps, then see a staff member.

Immediate reporting situations:

If the issue involves threats to a student’s health or safety – students are to report immediately to a staff member. They are not to try solve these problems themselves.

E.g. In incidents of physical danger, such a child running out of school gates.

Success occurs when children can not only talk the talk but walk the walk.