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Primary / KS1 and KS2Secondary / KS3 and KS4

Why rebuilding positive relationships could be life saving for our pupils

Smiling teacher sitting at the table with laptop and sculpting from play clay together with pupils.

Restorative approaches are the bedrock of how we work with our learners. Our staff work tirelessly to give students the tools they need to be able to resolve conflict effectively.

This often means adults learning to say sorry and model the behaviour they are expecting themselves. We use restorative approaches extensively – no easy feat when you’re working with students with empathy and emotional challenges. It’s a way of working that helps us to support them to understand how your behaviour affects those around you.

In the past, our learners have often been issued punitive sanctions, without being given the opportunity to understand the impact of their actions on others.  More importantly, they haven’t been given the opportunity to ‘put things right’ which is the language we use. Restoring relationships is everything in our school.  Without this, our learners cannot engage with the curriculum we’re teaching in lessons.

Restorative approaches also help our learners to combat the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). An ACE is a stressful or traumatic experience that can have a huge impact on children and young people throughout their lives- they can be things like familial breakdown, homelessness or experiences of abuse. Just 9% of the UK population have experienced six or more ACEs, but in some of our schools as many as 44% of our students have. This means our students have an increased risk of developing health or social problems later in life. ACEs are even scientifically proven to have a detrimental impact on an adult’s life expectancy – of up to 20 years.

Helping young people to overcome these experiences is a key goal of ours, and restorative approaches are one of the best tools we have for this. If we support young people well, we can help them live healthier and longer lives.