Restorative Philosophy at St Columba's
St Columba's School Restorative Philosophy
St Columba's Catholic School is modelled on Christ's teachings in accepting and living the gifts of the Holy Spirit and embracing the concepts of responsibility, accountability and reconciliation as an integral part of our Catholic belief. Central to this is the Restorative Philosophy of the school as a way of being. This is a mindset that staff and students are expected to explore, reflect and act upon.
Self Management of Behaviour and learning is a key intended outcome of Restorative Practices at St Columba's Catholic School. Students and teachers continue to develop relationships that are conducive to learning and faith building in a safe environment.
Should a conflict arise that needs restoration, staff lead students through a restorative " circles" process. This allows the parties involved to reflect, see behaviour as separate from the person,
examine the impact and look at positive situations where this behaviour does not occur; providing the alternative (positive story. From this point a plan can be put into place that encompasses measures to put the situation right,
and ensure that a repeat of the undesired behaviour does not recur.
We have developed a standardised, school wide process to address behaviour within classrooms;
· Each class uses a similar system of affirming, reminding and restoring students to an environment
conducive to the learning of all pupils
· The process allows patterns and data to be gathered for individuals who may need further support in order to learn well
· Teachers and Senior Leader have a collective responsibility for all students in class and in the playground
· The restorative chat empowers the student to put right the wrong, and so doing puts the onus on the individual "to get it right” next time
· Any consequences tend to arise as a naturally occurring result of the wrong doing.
Each incident is dealt with on an individual basis; there is not a one size fits all philosophy. Frequency, intent and context are all important factors need to be considered.
How Does It Work At Our School?
Each class uses a traffic light system to reinforce and affirm positive behaviours, warn students about things they may need to rethink, and give students the necessary time to refine certain choices that they have made. Each class uses a slightly different signal, cards, stickers or other symbols that may be given of a certain colour to reinforce each level of behaviour.
Green – positive reinforcers that give specific feedback about behaviours teachers want students to continue.
Orange – 2 of these may be given before a red spot. This prepares the student to self check and think about what is not working well for them or for the teacher.
Red – When giving the red circle, the teacher asks the student to go to the Thinking Spot.
The student prepares for a Restorative chat with the teacher, using the blue chart with pre formulated questions such as Why am I here?, What do I need to think about?, What do I need to do now? The teacher then chats with the student about the behaviour and what needs to happen in the future.
The incident is recorded in the thinking spot notebook.
At this stage, were the behaviour to continue, then the student would be sent to a "buddy room”. The buddy teacher does not engage the student at any stage, except to discuss what the student needs to do in order to restore the situation with their own teacher. This allows for space and time for the student to think about their behaviour and any changes that need to be made.
If behaviour continues, then the next stage is the child is sent to the Team Leader.
The next stage is the Deputy Principal, and then finally the Principal. Parental involvement may be necessary at any of these stages, but particularly with incidents that require interventions by the Team Leader or Deputy Principal.
An appropriate plan of action may accompany the next steps for the student in order for them to return to the classroom. This also sends a clear message to the student that their behaviour is escalating and needs to be dealt with at a more senior level. (The use of other appropriate agencies will be determined on a case by case basis by the leadership team.)
What should I do if I think something needs addressing?
The first thing you should do is talk to the teacher concerned, or discuss the situation with your child's teacher. These are the people that are likely to have the best information, and know your child the best. If the situation is something that has already been dealt with by the classroom teacher, you may feel that it is more appropriate for the Team Leader to deal with.
If appropriate, the teacher or the Team Leader will involve the Deputy Principal.