What is Restorative Practise?
At Yeadon Westfield Junior School when we try to deal with any problems or issues we have with other people, we use something called Restorative Practise. This helps us have a happier school where the focus is on learning. We hope that children will enjoy coming to school because they feel safe and respected and they know that when things go wrong, that the teachers and staff will do everything they can to help put it right. Restorative Practise encourages us to think about how our behavior has affected other pupils and staff. It helps us to develop respect, responsibility and truth telling. If a child has been upset, staff will try their very best to make sure we feel that it has been dealt with fairly, that things have been put right and that it will not happen again. All the children at our school are treated equally and fairly no matter what their race, religion or cultural background.
What do we think about it?
‘I love Restorative Practice. It makes everything fair because you know you are going to get your side listened to. Before I would end up getting in trouble but now I know that the circle will mean that I can give my side of the story and my view matters.’ (Year 5 Pupil)
What is a Peer Mediator and how can they help?
Mediation, which can be used in a variety of contexts, is a process whereby people involved in a dispute enter voluntarily into an arrangement to resolve the problem collaboratively. By establishing agreed ground rules for the conduct of the mediation, a neutral mediator enables the participants to identify the issues by talking about the situation from their own point of view, to be heard by the other participant(s), and to say what their preferred outcome would be. Together, the participants then draw up a written agreement. The mediator neither gives advice nor imposes a solution; responsibility and control rest with the participants.
In schools where mediation schemes have been introduced the process works along similar lines, but with pupils mediating disputes between pupils. Usually a whole year group is given some training in conflict resolution after which pupils who are interested are invited to apply to go on to further training. Once trained, the peer mediators work in pairs, invariably with pupils younger than themselves.
Peer mediators play a very important role during playtime and lunchtime in keeping pupils safe and happy. If a child is unhappy about any issue at these times they may approach a member of staff about it but they may also find it easier to talk to one of their peers. This is where peer mediators can help. They talk through these issues and try to find a solution to their problem. If necessary they will pass this information onto a member of staff.
We wish all our peer mediators luck this year.
'In peer mediation, students talk face to face in a safe and supportive discussion led by trained peer mediators.
The process is organized, structured, and systematic and aimed at producing positive actions and outcomes.
Peer Mediation does not take the place of normal consequences when inappropriate behavior has occurred '.